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Greyt Middelplaas Escape renewed

The popular Greyt Middelplaas Escape mountain bike event has added an exciting racing element to this year’s edition happening on 10 April.

Due to the uncertain times surrounding everyone, organisers Overberg MTB Events have incorporated a Strava timed-segment element to the event.

The leaderboards will automatically be calculated from all connected accounts that have entered the event and completed the segments. “This will allow us to have staggered starts, which is ideal for social distancing,” said events director Anneke Jacobs.

“Our other two events, Stanford MTB Classic (February 27) and De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience (August 20 to 22) will also be Strava timed events.”

She added that the number of entries they would make available would be based on the number of riders allowed at cycling events, according to Covid-19 regulations.

At the Greyt Middelplaas Escape, which was previously presented as a three-day stage race, riders will be introduced to reinvented MTB trail sections on private land.

Jan Viljoen, the Middelplaas farm owner, said entrants could expect a punchy, challenging, and competitive race for the experienced or advanced MTB rider. Distances on offer are 60 km, 40 km, and 20 km.

Depending on which distance is selected, a moderate to experienced level of fitness and skills are required.

These Middelplaas trails are on a private farm where access is only for the event, making it exclusive and attractive to attend.

“The route will start on dirt road and take riders into the Riviersonderend mountains,” said Viljoen.

“Here, they’ll ride on single track through beautiful fynbos. Quite a steep descent will take them to a mountain stream crossing.

“After the mountain loop, they’ll be crossing the Riviersonderend river. From here, they’ll be riding through orchards before starting the peerboord climb.”

He added that a steep single-track climb would lead riders to jeep track right on top of the hills. From here, they would head west for about 10 km and be surrounded by beautiful views and experience a twist or two.

“Riders will then cross a dirt road and remain on some farm roads. They’ll again climb on jeep track before they descend to the bottom of the infamous UFO climb.

“After the UFO climb, they’ll ride 10?km of fast and flowing single track downhill towards the end, where they can swim in a dam – the perfect reward.”

Viljoen said that riders would experience anything from fynbos, mountains, orchards, rivers, flocks of sheep and grain fields during the day. “There’ll be lots of single track and jeep track and little dirt road. It will be a challenging day as the terrain is not always smooth and stoneless.”

What adds to the thrilling riding and spectacular routes is the superb location of the event.

Greyton is referred to as the “Jewel of the Overberg” and is only a 130 km scenic drive eastbound from Cape Town.

Discovering its cradle of majestic mountains after passing along the Overberg’s rolling wheatfields is a memory that will not be forgotten easily.

It also boasts a network of top-class MTB trails and hiking trails with spectacular gorges and waterfalls.

Suppose riders and their families decide to stay over. In that case, there is a variety of self-catering or bed and breakfast establishments to choose from, which can be viewed at www.greytontourism.com.

Registration will take place on Friday night in Greyton and the Saturday morning at the venue.

All entries include a hamburger or boerewors roll, pancake, as well as a beer or cool drink at the finish.

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