South Africa’s top veteran and masters class mountain bike riders are completing their preparations for the age group tussle in the Rainbow Challenge Final, taking place at Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 28 June.
The riders had the opportunity to test out a course very similar to the one that they will be riding on for the Rainbow Challenge at the national championships and with the usual hands like current XCO Masters World Champion Paul Furbank and overall Masters winner Jan Whitaar, the field was competitive and will be just as tough when the Rainbow Challenge swings around.
Overall winner of the Masters race at the 2014 South African MTB Marathon Championships Jan Whitaar has confirmed that he will be back in Pietermaritzburg for the start of the Rainbow Challenge in two weeks’ time. Whitaar was quick to point out that the course played into his hands and that gives him confidence going into the Rainbow Challenge.
“It was a tricky course; Nick (Floros) has really poured his heart and soul into it!” Whitaar said. “It was technically challenging and a number of people mentioned that it felt like a number of cross-country courses had been put together, which suits me down to the ground! I found that the course is so much better than other marathon courses that use gravel roads to make up the course but Nick only uses the roads as transition between the sections which is perfect for me and adds to the excitement of racing,” Whitaar added enthusiastically.
Paul Furbank was another winner at the recent SA MTB Marathon Championships and although him and his fellow riders have had the chance to ride on what is going to make up the majority of the Rainbow Challenge course, he does not feel that it is going to give them too much of an advantage.
“We did learn a huge amount from the course this weekend and how tricky it gets when you get tired so we have to keep our wits about us on this course!”
Having won the national title in his age category Furbank was still very circumspect about how he was going to shape up when the racing starts on Saturday, 28 June. “We had most of the strong guys riding last weekend but Chris Brand was one of the guys that was missing but he will be there for the Rainbow Challenge which adds good competition to our age category. He (Brand) is a specialist marathon rider whereas I prefer cross-country so I am not going to get ahead of myself and I think that a podium would be a good result for me,” Furbank added.
More information on the 2014 Rainbow Challenge can be found at www.rainbowchallenge.co.za
Source: Rainbow Challenge press release
Photo: Darren Goddard/Gameplan Media