Route change for Big 5 race

THE second race in the Bell Big 5 MTB series, the Steel Plate Solutions Leopard Chase on 25 June, has something for everyone, giving cyclists the opportunity to ride on some exclusive, breathtaking tracks.
The three routes, catering for cyclists of all levels of ability and experience, have been designed and prepared especially for this event. The tracks are not open to the general cycling public.
The routes are situated around local farms and tribal lands of Empangeni, and all the tracks that will be used for the 2017 race have been improved from last year. The home base for this event is Addison Park, offering abundant shady trees, a kids playground, undercover seating, hot showers, a restaurant/bar and food stalls, as well as a chill zone, all on site for a full day of family enjoyment in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
The 10km track heads off into the local cane fields for an awesome fast section of jeep track and farm
trails with a well-deserved halfway watering table at the farm dam. The route then leads to a trek up and back to the finish with a purpose built new single track section, made within the grounds of Addison Park with its own bridges and challenges.
This specially designed section will ensure that mom and dad have ample opportunity to catch that Kodak moment and see their youngster coming in.
The route is aimed at the younger riders, but is also well suited to riding as a family and will certainly
provide them all with a feeling of accomplishment.
Longer routes
The 25km and the 50km races head off on the same route weaving through farm trails, cattle tracks and a river bed trail, with the two routes splitting off after 9km.
The 25km riders continue with a challenging climb up Ola Hill with the refreshing Ola watering table
waiting for them at the summit. Then it’s a fast decent into more single track. Watch out for the odd
zebra, wildebeest or even giraffe before heading off for a fast chase though the aloe garden single track with an exciting new section with a floating bridge and overpass.
The 50km option is a brand new track and it is a must for those who wish to test their technical ability. Following the breakaway from the 25km track, this route heads off into natural single track, entering the tribal lands with a rocky trail section into cattle and single track, dongas and river beds, with some testing climbs and awesome natural green single tracks, just the way real MTB should be.
Expect some great rewards after some testing climbs. This is a mountain biker’s dream track with a few surprises thrown in by our own Dr Evil, George Wilsenach, the route designer. On the turn, you head back to join in with the 25km track at the Ola watering table and then, as with the 25km track, it’s a fast decent into more single track.
Christa van der Walt

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