Although the route for the Varsity MTB Challenge will not be that familiar to the Stellenbosch team, star rider Tristan de Lange says they are confident they will adapt to the test ahead.
Maties will be defending their title in the two-day mountain bike event, sponsored by First National Bank, which takes place from the Nederburg wine farm in Paarl on Saturday and Sunday.
De Lange, from Windhoek in Namibia, said while he had not done the specific trails, he was familiar with the terrain they would face.
“To adapt won’t be a problem because of the variety of the training grounds that we have in the Western Cape.
“It will just be a matter of how we pace ourselves and for that we will have a look at the route profile.”
While a host of mountain bikers will compete over the weekend, including alumni and members of the general public, the focus will be on the student challenge.
In this category, men’s and women’s teams of three each will compete for the honour of being crowned South Africa’s varsity mountain bike champions.
De Lange said they were expecting stiff competition for a second successive title.
“I don’t quite know at this stage who we will be up against, but we are really amped for the challenge,” said the BComm student.
“We definitely want to defend the title as it’s been on our calendar since last year and it’s been a long-term goal for the team.”
De Lange said the Varsity MTB Challenge was one of the significant dates on the SA calendar.
“I heard very good things about last year’s event and I think this weekend will be just as good, if not better. As a Maties team, we are really looking forward to it.”
The champions will come up against University of Cape Town, last year’s runners-up, University of Pretoria, third last year, North-West University and Nelson Mandela University.