Riders getting ready to saddle up for seventh Route 66 MTB experience

Bridgestone’s challenging Route 66 Mountain Bike Experience is back for its seventh annual running. The event, which has constantly gained popularity since it first took place in 2011, will be run over three days from February 17 to 19.

Brian Joss – “We’re thrilled to be sponsoring the race yet again this year,” said Bridgestone’s marketing general manager Patrick Leslie. “Riders always speak warmly of the event. It’s the perfect platform for all levels of mountain bikers to officially kick off the race season.”

The main three day event starts and ends at the Thatch Café at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, which is situated in the Cradle of Humankind west of Johannesburg. Rob Jackson, organiser of the event, says that the route has not changed much since 2016, meaning it will still be a gruelling epic through some of the most challenging terrain the Cradle has to offer.

Riders can choose from one of three events.

For those with ambitions of taking on some of the “big ones” later in the year, the 3-day Route 66 MTB Experience is the perfect event: three days of tough and gruelling challenges.

This is open to solo riders or teams of two riders. Day 1 is a tough gruelling 80km, followed the next day by a challenging 75mk route. The final day is a fast 60km route, starting at Maropeng and taking them back to the Thatch Café at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.

“The route planners report that there will be quite a few technical sections and climbs which will separate the really committed riders from the rest, especially on Day 1 and 2,” commented Jackson.

For the solo rider not yet up to the challenge of a full three days of racing, there is the Weekend Experience consisting of the 75km and 60km on the Saturday and Sunday.

For corporate and leisure solo riders seeking a taste of competitive mountain biking without the commitment of a three-day affair, there is the Route 66 Mini Experience, a one-day ride. This is the same route that the three-and two-day riders will be doing, taking place on the Sunday February 19, and it will suit the rider who is reasonably fit.

“All entrants will receive a goodie bag for the event,” Leslie explained, “with special gifts for those who tackle the two- and three-day events.

Lunch will be provided free on all three days, and there will be showers at the finish and a free shuttle service to take riders from the finish back to the start,” he added. The finish at the Thatch Café is always a fun experience, with a special lunch for all competitors and invited guests.

However, with entries closing on February 6, there isn’t much time left for riders who still want to stake their claims. “Anyone who hasn’t yet entered can go to www.route66mtb.co.za and get their entry in,” Leslie concluded.

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