Former masters world cross-country champion Nico Pfitzenmaier, a regular and favourite at The U MTB Stage Race, is all set for the three-day event which starts in Piketberg today – but he’s tackling it solo this time round.
“I was supposed to race with Paris Basson, but unfortunately I only received a solo entry as the race was sold out so early,” said Pfitzenmaier.
He described The U, which is one of his favourite races in South Africa, as “Disneyland for mountain-bikers”.
“It epitomises what true mountain-biking is really about. It offers the most technical and fun-to-ride trails paired with stunning views and scenic landscapes.”
Pfitzenmaier said the trails challenged his riding skills more than any other race in the country.
“I love technical riding and so I’m in my element there,” he said.
Pfitzenmaier said his overall goal would be just to have fun. “It’s actually not racing, but just a privilege to ride on such awesome trails and share the stoke with others. So I will take it day by day.”
He added that he never really set a specific strategy for the event, which comprises a 7.06km prologue, a 49.82km first stage and 51.08km second stage.
“On those hard and technical trails anything can happen. I will just push it hard and try to keep it rubber side down.
“The route suits me to a T because it’s ongoing technical and rough, so it’s definitely to my advantage and I’ll try and play my cards in the technical ups and downs,” he said.
Pfitzenmaier added that the race was a highlight in his calendar and that afterwards he would tackle the Wines2Whales.
“My season will end with the Desert Dash in Namibia. I’m going to race there in a four-man team and am super excited to explore the country for the first time.”
“Next year I’ll focus again on XCO and do some stage races and marathons. Epic will be on the cards with my sponsor Shaun Frayne – we’re aiming for a top 100.”