The annual South African XCM Championships will be hosted by Advendurance when it forms part of the Trailseeker Series in Grabouw on July 14.
The event, formally known as the Trailseeker Series #3 Grabouw SA XCM Champs, offers riders from the age of 15 an opportunity to race for the national title and jersey.
“The event race forms part of the series. The only difference is we are hosting a separate race for the elites,” said race director Francois Theron.
“This means that riders such as Philip Buys, who is a ‘sub vet’ by age but has an elite racing licence, will race with the elites but he cannot stand on the podium for sub vets.”
This elite race will consist of an 87km ultra marathon as well as a 72km marathon that the rest of the age categories can take part in.
The marathon champs will start and finish at Oak Valley with the elite men’s race at 8.10am, followed by the ladies at 8.15am. The marathon will start at 9am, followed by the half marathon at 10am. The last two races of the day will be the 20km and 10km, which will start at 11am and 11.30am respectively.
“Grabouw is renowned for being really tough as it is in the mountains. However, the world-class singletrack that is built in the area has made sure that all hills are rewarded with these,” said Theron.
Theron added that the routes were set to test the skill of all levels. However the likes of the 10km and 20km would be less technical. The 40km half marathon would have the highest percentage of singletrack, but there would be less technical riding.
The marathon and ultra marathon would have a combination of raw mountain-biking and fun flowing singletracks.
It would also be mid-winter, so riders could expect temperatures of 8 to 18 degrees Celsius. The late start was because sunrise is only at 7.50am.
Regarding the field, Theron said all the top riders would be there.
“What is nice about the Trailseeker series is that it attracts everyone, from first-timers to the professionals. It is unlikely that there will be internationals though as it is in their mid-season and they will probably be racing their own national championships.”
The series has also seen the addition of a trail run on the Sunday, as well as A and B line options (the shorter A-line will be for professional mountain bikers, while the B-line will be a bit longer and easier).
Theron encouraged family and friends to show their support at the events.
“The marathon and elite marathon events are going to be extremely supporter-friendly, with the first spectator and feed zone at the venue and the two final stations at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club.
“Riders can look forward to superb and unique tracks, great goody bags and water points, which all add up to a rewarding day out,” he concluded.