RECOMMENDED RIDES
RECOMMENDED RIDES 
by Steve Shapiro

The word "Classic" is happily bandied about these days in attempts to drum up participation in mountain bike events but, although just getting onto a bicycle is usually an entr?e to profound experience, some "Classics" are more classical than others. At the top of my list, sharing the billing with Dirtopia, is what is now called the Eselfontein MTB Festival. This is a classical Classic that normal runs from October 10 to 12 in Ceres with a format that promises even more than the bounty that it has delivered in the past. The sheer quality and quantity of juicy single-track on Eselfontein farm demands the attention of anyone even half interested in real mountain biking

There is a 20kms night race on Friday and if the route is anything like last year's poplar forest roller-coaster get ready for big thrills. It is, however, the 70kms route on the Saturday that demands respect and awe: 80 percent single-track, it is one tough, but might handsome mother. (There are less demanding options 40/25/15). This year there will also be a downhill race on the Sunday. Having dispensed with "Classic" and "Festival", the next, richly deserved in this case, and newest MTB byword is "Epic" for, apart from their separate status, the three events together and ridden by teams of two, will also be considered as a stage race, with appropriate prizes from an array of heavyweight sponsors.