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South Africa

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Text: Troy Davies. Photos: Ewald Sadie. Article from the February/March 2012 issue of DO IT NOW Magazine.

So you like to ride downhill trails but don’t fancy the uphill climbs? Then a shuttle day at Contermanskloof MTB Trails is the answer to your prayers.

Shuttle Days a fun MTB ride for everyone

Contermanskloof MTB Trails was opened in December 2009, with modifications and extensions being added and maintained on a daily basis. It is situated in the heart of the Tygerberg hill’s trail system, which is linked together via green corridors and managed by the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club.

These trails have played host to numerous events, including the Spur School League, Bicycling’s Ride Before You Buy, Grape Escape, WP Champs XC and DH, the SA Champs Downhill and next year will be the biggest of them all, the 2012 ABSA Cape Epic Prologue.

There are six well marked trails consisting of an 8km, 14km and 17km cross country trail, a free ride trail that has multiple berms and small jumps, and two downhill trails boasting BIG ski jumps, road gaps, intense rock gardens, drop-offs and a table-top finish.

The idea behind the Shuttle Days is to bring all gravity-fed mountain biking disciplines together and offer riders a shuttle service to the top of the mountain. From there they can then decide what type of trail to ride. This will enable riders to perform multiple runs, while honing their skills on the trails that best suit their riding style and ability.

The focus of this Shuttle Day was to celebrate The Bike Shed’s first birthday. This bicycle store is conveniently located on the farm and owned and managed by experienced downhill rider and avid cyclist Jaco Veldsman. He is also an excellent resource if you happen to have any mechanical issues in the middle of a ride.

At the 2010 WP Champs the fastest time and winner of the elitemens division was Johann Potgieter

There were more than 50 riders on the trails, with the majority riding the secondary downhill line, as the primary line was reserved for the 2011 WP Downhill Champs. This course is world class and hectic. The first few 100 metres are relatively tame, but it gets steep very quickly and then even steeper with left and right switchback corners. After this you are confronted by a relatively fast road gap to clear, but the landing is super steep and into a right hand corner that pulls a couple of G’s. Then it’s a small launch into a tight left hand turn and rock garden that has no clear line through it, across a road, through another rock garden and down a small drop, with another intense turn at the bottom. There’s some interesting doubles on a super-fast section before a 10m table top and the finish. The course drops 236m over 1,29km.

At the 2010 WP champs, the fastest time and winner of the elite men’s division was Johann Potgieter, in a time of 02:13:44. He was closely followed by Stefan Garlicki in second place in 02:14:01 and in third position it was Darren Stow in 02:22.01.

After the shuttling, a carnival-type festival area was set-up at the pick-up point, along with braai facilities, clothing stores and The Bike Shop, which was the centre of attention.

The best and by far most entertaining addition to the day was the Lake Jump, which consisted of a 100m approach through the vineyards onto a wooden jetty and a five foot vertical kicker that shot some of the rider’s over 20ft up in the air before landing in the dam. Needless to say there were some huge tricks being pulled off and lots of spectacular wipeouts. Fifteen riders took part and there was some comical commentating by Andrew Neethling and Robert Starke. Prizes went to the highest jump, longest jump and best trick.

It is an awesome fun day out and mountain bike riders of all disciplines and skill levels are invited to come along and enjoy the ride.

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For more information on Downhill South Africa contact chris@chrisnixon.co.za, look out for the Shuttle event video on www.retroyspective.co.za.

Contermanskloof directions:

Take the N7 towards Malmsberry and then take the Potsmans turn-off. Turn right over the N7 and follow the road to a T-junction. At the T-junction turn left onto Contermanskloof Road, past the quarry on your right and after 1km, turn right into Contermanskloof Road and it will be sign posted from there.

GPS – 33.80019/ 18.572731



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