The popular Stanford MTB Tour is rebranding and relaunching to become the Stanford MTB Classic; and while many of the aspects will remain unchanged new race director Anneke Viljoen has exciting plans to refine the event into a true South African classic.
Taking place on the 17th and 18th of February 2018 the Stanford MTB Classic remains a two day, untimed, stage ride – aimed at experienced mountain bikers who happen to be new to stage racing, and long-time stage racers looking for a change of pace. The relaxed and beautiful setting at Stanford Valley Guest Farm provides the perfect introduction to the event which will also visit other gems of the area like, Beloftebos and Hermanuspietersfontein.
Viljoen explains the changes which will differentiate the Stanford MTB Classic: “The objective of the Stanford MTB Classic is to give newcomers to multi-stage events (not newcomers to mountain biking) a weekend of sublime riding. The routes are diverse and scenic, but can be surprisingly tough though, so don’t come unprepared. We will also be creating a race village at the start/finish line at Stanford Valley, where riders will be served three meals – two lunches and a dinner, which are included in the entry fee – and we are sure this will help ease any weary bodies after a fairly challenging day on the bike.”
At the heart of the updates for the event is the new route. For 2018 it will take in more challenging and rewarding sections to better showcase the area. Two particularly exciting new sections are the Beloftebos singletrack and the climb to a saddle in the Perdeberg Mountains. The Beloftebos singletrack winds its way along the Waboomsrivier – which it crosses via a suspension bridge and a floating bridge, amongst other crossings – gliding between stands of bluegum and wattles on smooth surfaces. The climb from Beloftebos to the Perdeberg Mountain saddle, which overlooks the race village at Stanford Valley, is undoubtedly a challenging one; but it is also exceptionally rewarding. The climb offers spectacular views over the Papiesvlei valley, within which Beloftebos and Hermanuspietersfontein lie nestled. The reward though comes from the summit where an exhilarating descent to the finish awaits, concluding the opening day on the perfect high note.
The Stanford MTB Classic will feature two relatively short stages, at roughly 55 and 45 kilometres in length, which provides experienced stage racers with enough distance to ensure a good workout without challenging the newcomers to stage racing with days that prove to be too long on the saddle. In addition to this, for the riders of a more social persuasion the Stanford MTB Classic will also feature short route options, of just 25 kilometres per day. The shorter daily distances also ensure that riders have enough time to enjoy the attractions of Stanford off their bikes too. The foremost of these attractions for the Stanford MTB Classic will undoubtedly be the race meals at Stanford Valley. Included in the entry fee are two lunches, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and a dinner, on Saturday evening; which will help create a festive post-stage atmosphere in the race village, as riders sit down to relish the delicious catering provided by the Stanford Valley Restaurant.
Riders can also choose their own accommodation for the Stanford MTB Classic with options varying from the luxurious to the rustic and even to camping. But with the locations at or closest to the race village at Stanford Valley sure to sell out fast would be entrants are encouraged to book accommodation directly after they enter the Stanford MTB Classic.
Entries to the 2018 Stanford MTB Classic, which takes place on the 17th and 18th of February, are open and for more information on the Stanford MTB Classic please visit www.stanfordmtbclassic.co.za; like Stanford Classic on Facebook or follow @stanfordmtb on Twitter and stanfordmtb on Instagram.