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The 2013 Aspen Trans Karoo mountain bike race promises to be the ultimate endurance test as cyclists tackle the 240km down ride route from Sutherland to Ceres.  The one day race starts at 07h00 on Saturday, 6 April, in Sutherland’s Church Street and will finish at the Kaleo Guest Farm, 25km north of Ceres.

Considered as one of the longest single stage endurance mountain bike races in South Africa, the distance, including 5 compulsory check point stops must be completed within 17 hours in order for participants to avoid elimination.  The popularity of the race is increased by the fact that entries are limited to only 500, due to the sensitive eco-systems that the race traverses.  Well-known riders Hannes Hanekom and Willie Engelbrecht will form part of the field of top cyclists.

Riders can once again expect tough sections on route including the daunting descent of Ouberg Pass and the 14km climb up the Skittery Pass, which forms part of the new section of the route. The magnificent beauty of the Tankwa Karoo will entertain riders with its sweeping vistas and abundance of wildlife.

Participants will compete in solo male and female categories, as a tandem team or as a 2-member team to tackle the gruelling race. Riders can also enter a 3-member relay team in support of the official race charity, the Sifiso Nxasana Paediatric Trust, which aims to support the improvement of the level of paediatric health care in South Africa.

As official race partner, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority is once again delighted to add this exciting event to its ever-growing sporting calendar.  According to CEO Sharron Lewis, this is yet another opportunity to build on the province’s increasing reputation as the mecca for adventure and extreme sports.  “This iconic race is just one of many sporting events that the province has hosted during recent years and it delivers a significant boost on our busy sports calendar, which now includes mountain biking, paddling, skateboarding and high speed motor racing of international standards.  These events prove that the Northern Cape has the resources to host world-class events as well as extraordinary natural beauty to captivate participants,” mentions Lewis.

Lewis reckons this is also a great chance for participants to experience the amazing scenic beauty and hospitality of the Northern Cape.  The quaint little Karoo town of Sutherland is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the best stargazing in the country.  The Tankwa Karoo National Park is one of six national parks located in the Northern Cape Province and riders are bound to be overawed by the panoramic views of the dramatic landscapes.  Experience the warm hospitality of the people of the Northern Cape at several farmstays in the region and enjoy authentic Karoo cuisine.

This year’s race has also been invited to join the KIA National MTB Rankings as a seeding event, which means that participation will count towards riders’ national MTB seeding index as managed by SAS Cycling.

Race organisers have organised a shuttle service between Cape Town to the start and finishing points and have negotiated various accommodation option.