On Saturday the 11th of August just over 1 250 riders will line up for the Trans Baviaans Race, in the 15th edition of the toughest team single stage MTB race in the world. Headlining the field are past champions, members of the South African team to the World Marathon Championships and the newly crowned South African marathon champion. Mountain biking fanatics will be able to follow the action, as it unfolds live, on the race’s social media handles and the event website: www.transbaviaans.co.za.
Photo by Jacques Marais
In the women’s race the defending champions Theresa Ralph and Sarah Hill, riding for Galileo Risk, are out to knock an hour off their 2017 winning time. “Trans Baviaans is a magical race that is never the same” the three time winner Ralph said. “I have experienced a wet Trans, a dry Trans and a very bumpy Trans. All provided their own challenges. It is possibly those jaffels, at check point seven, that keep bringing me back though. This year Sarah (Hill) and I have a goal to better our time by an hour and hopefully we will do that as Sarah has grown from strength to strength over the past year and we will definitely be much faster” she elaborated.
As in the women’s race the mixed category sees one team stand head and shoulders above the rest as race favourites: the Ultimate Cycling Knysna team of Yolande de Villiers and Neill Ungerer. “The mixed category is very difficult especially for the woman” De Villiers, who was also recently selected to represent South Africa at the Marathon World Championships, revealed. “I am usually in my red zone all the way just trying to hold on to Neill (Ungerer’s) wheel. But I’m very fortunate to have Neill as a partner, because he is always looking after me asking me if I am all right and if the pace is good. Communication is very important and telling each other when you go through a bad patch” she advised to less experienced Trans Baviaans riders.
Saving energy and hiding from the wind is the aim of the game in the first 100 kilometres of the Trans Baviaans. Photo by Jacques Marais.
Racers and riders hoping to simply finish in a good time alike will be pleased to know that the weather conditions for the Trans Baviaans Race are looking advantageous for a fast time. There is no rain predicted throughout the event; while in Willowmore and the Baviaanskloof the expected temperatures range from 5 to 17 degrees centigrade, with a light to gentle breeze from the north west blowing throughout the morning and afternoon. In the evening once the teams have crossed into the coastal region approaching Jeffreys Bay the mercury is predicted to read between 18-14 degrees, with a light tail wind blowing from the north east.
Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph have their sights set on beating their 2017 winning time by at least an hour. Photo by Jacques Marais.
Riders are encouraged to keep an eye on the race’s social media channels and the EcoBound Explorer mobile application, for iPhone and Android devices, for updates on the road and weather conditions closer to the time. While mountain biking fans are reminded that they will be able to follow the action live on the race website, www.transbaviaans.co.za. Alternatively they can share in the Trans Baviaans experience by liking the Facebook page, Trans Baviaans, following the Instagram handle, @transbaviaans, and the EcoBound Twitter handle @EcoBoundMTB.