The picturesque town of Paarl will come to a virtual standstill as residents and riders turn out for the second annual Bestmed Paarl MTB Classic on November 22.
Presented by the City of Drakenstein municipality and ASG, the one-day classic is fast becoming one of the most iconic, must-do races on the national racing calendar.
As the final event of the Bestmed National Mountain Biking Series, some of the country’s top names will be among the 1 500-strong field lining up on race day.
Following the success of the inaugural race last year, officials in South Africa’s third oldest town have thrown their weight behind this landmark event.
“This is not just another mountain bike race, said event organiser Wynand de Villiers.
“It’s something really special and a once-a-year opportunity to come and conquer Paarl Mountain.
“You can’t call yourself a mountain biker if you haven’t ridden this.”
De Villiers said every finisher in both the 30km and 60km race would earn those bragging rights, with an “I conquered Paarl Mountain” medal as proof.
He said his route-building team had tried to unearth every bit of rideable terrain in the area and that the end result was the very best way to experience the mountain and the surrounding Simonsberg and Drakenstein ranges.
“These imposing ranges are just an unbelievable sight at that time of the morning and you can even see Table Mountain from the top.”
Participants will also come within 200m of the distinctive Taal Monument, another standout feature on the landscape.
“Riders in both events will finish on a nine-kilometre stretch of downhill single-track to the finish on a lush grass embankment at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate,” said De Villiers.
“I personally believe it’s one of the best bits of fast-flowing single-track in SA.”
To ensure maximum enjoyment of this section, he said the short-course riders would start at 6am – a full two hours ahead of the feature race participants.
“That last bit of single-track is just so special that we want to give every rider the chance to enjoy and complete his or her race in a blissful, congestion-free environment.”
De Villiers said finishers would also be rewarded with an ice-cold Coke or a craft beer from CBC – the fastest growing independent brewery in the country.
“The CBC waterpoint is a very popular stop – it’s almost like riding into a beer tent. But there are so many good things about this event, it’s hard to name them all.
“If you’re not hooked on mountain biking before this, it will be a completely different picture afterwards.”