The three-day bushveld event, presented by STANLIB, gets under way on Friday at Bela Bela in Limpopo and the 26-year-old Nel will team up with a friend of his, Manie Visser, for the race.
“We are looking forward to a serious challenge that will certainly be a test for both of us,” said Nel, who lives in Muldersdrift in Gauteng’s West Rand.
“I believe it will be a tough three days through the bushveld, but I am looking forward to the camaraderie of what should be a special weekend.
“A friend of mine who knows the area quite well told me of the great riding experience you get.”
ASG Events have placed the emphasis on luxury for the competitors, while route director Mel Meyer has set up trails which will offer some hardship, but will be manageable for a wide range of riders.
Although his specialty was on the road, Nel said he had done plenty of mountain-biking during his career.
“I found that the discipline of mountain-biking helped to keep you in shape and made sure you were sharp,” he added.
Having retired from road racing, Nel now devotes his time to Infinite Racing, a business he founded to teach youngsters the tricks of the trade.
“We aim to teach kids the principles of racing and that it’s not just about pitching up on race day, thinking that you are going to win.”
With most of his life spent on the bike, Nel felt he had a chance to make a contribution.
“I picked up a lot in my 17 years of racing and coaching youngsters in this way is the chance for me to give back to a sport that gave me a lifetime of opportunity.”