Not only will the country witness the neck-in-neck display of racing action put on by the Elite riders fighting for all-important UCI points, but also a rather exciting and always surprising turn of events demonstrated by our very talented younger and older riders scrambling for their own series points in the third round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series, which takes place at Wolwespruit Bike Park in Erasmuskloof, Pretoria on Saturday 26 March.
South African Women’s Cross-country Champion, Cherie Redecker (nee Vale) is ready to give it horns after recently tying the knot. “I have amazing support around me which helped keep me focused. It was a challenge juggling everything and I did get worried when things weren't going to plan but I found going out to train helped to de-stress,” she said.
Training to de-stress from wedding plans could have been just what Redecker needed to secure a fifth and second place at the first two rounds respectively. “The stress levels were more than I expected but it was all worth it in the end. It has reminded me that we have our plans and try control things as much as possible but in the end, God has his plans and timing,” she added.
The Novus OMX Pro Team rider, who sits only ten points behind the series log leader, Frances du Toit, feels that her form is not where she would like it to be, but is confident that she is heading in the right direction. “The schedule ahead is going to be crazy so starting off with less races now will help me later in the season,” she said.
When chatting about goals for the season, Redecker said: “My top goals for this year are the Championships – South African, African and World – as well as the UCI World Cups. If I qualify for Olympics, that will be a bonus.”
A name to look out for in the Junior Men’s category is current series leader, Reinhard Zellhuber. The 18-year-old began mountain bike riding eight years ago and has only recently switched his focus over from cross-country marathon racing to the short-course format.
“I used to race marathon quite a bit, but decided to put more of my focus onto cross-country. I feel that the international scene is larger when it comes to cross-country, and I would ultimately love to go and race overseas,” he said.
Zellhuber sits four points ahead of Jarrod van den Heever. “Because of the training and hard work that my coach and I have put in in Ballito, I was expecting to do well and hoping for a top spot,” said the Kokstad teenager.
A promising season so far has Zellhuber dreaming big and aiming high, with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. “I would really like to win the African Continental Championships in the Junior category this year, and qualify for World Champs. After the Mankele race, I was sitting at the top of the international rankings in the Junior World XCO Series for a bit, which was quite exciting,” he said.
Zellhuber, who is currently home-schooled, has decided to split his final year into two and focus equally hard at both cycling and achieving academically.
Online pre-entries for the third round of the Stihl 2016 SA XCO Cup Series at Wolwespruit Bike Park close at midnight tonight (Tuesday 22 March 2016). Click here to enter: https://entries.cyclingsa.com/events/5301-sa-cup-series-xco-3. Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.
For event information, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-cup-series/, or contact Dellah Paul on 082 781 5656 for administration info.
On Sunday 27 March, The City of Tshwane invites all keen mountain bikers to participate in a fun new event on the mountain bike calendar at the Wolwespruit MTB Park. The open event for solo riders and teams of two or four will compete on a 12-kilometre circuit with a maximum distance of 48 kilometres in a relay format. So gather your cycling mates and join fellow enthusiasts in this exciting format of racing at a spectacular new venue on the racing calendar. A whopping R70 000 total prize money is up-for-grabs! For more information, visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/tshwane-cycle-challenge-series/.