(Header Image Art by JohnTheCyclist)
It’s June; winter is officially in full swing and so is the second half of the year which, luckily for the outdoor tribe brings with it the much-anticipated cycling season. For the casual tourist, there are many places all over the country where one can get lost in the safari or explore the multiple landscapes on bike all year round. Many of the game and nature reserves offer safari experiences of that nature, which are fun and come highly recommended. However, for the adrenaline junkie or competitive cycler, there is a number of different events and competitions set out between now and the later part of the year. Starting with the Dups Mafutseni cycle challenge happening on the 2nd of June all the way to the MTN khemani race on the 8th of September. Our cycling calendar is so exciting and full that we chose four of the most interesting upcoming mountain bike races to profile for our readers: the annual Imvelo classic, Ngwenya glass MTB challenge, Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2g MTB classic and the popularly acclaimed Inyatsi Swazi frontier. This surely should get the attention of avid cyclists, whether amateur or pro.
The IMVELO Classic is the country’s biggest and most popular biking event. Held annually each June at the beloved Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The event is made up of a series of races over different distances. The longest is a staggering 68km and there’s also a 22km family friendly route mapped out as well. Of course, as with any great Eswatini event, a memorable party for all cyclists is the final tier. The race first came about in 2000, then known as the Ngulube MTB classic, which then changed to the name we know now in 2004. The race helps raise money for a number of community projects and has throughout the years positively impacted many Swazi lives. The Imvelo classic is on the 8th of June.
Ngwenya Glass MTB challenge
Now this race will be one worth making time for. Ngwenya glass, famous for its crystal souvenirs and coffee shop, is once again offering the world a great opportunity to find out why Eswatini is an adventurer’s dream. The MTB challenge is happening on July 6th and will be a grueling, fun and heart pumping race that will feature lots of scenery and diverse routes. It is advised for anyone looking to participate that they train long and hard. The routes will be at high altitude and challenging, but we promise it will all be worth the view and the memories as well.
The Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G MTB Classic
The Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G MTB Classic is a biking event that takes participants on a beautiful tour of Eswatini landscape. Taking place on the 10th of August, late into the winter season, the race is vigorously entertaining and caters for cyclists that are off form or at their prime. There are four race distances: 65 Kilometers, 35 Kilometers,20 kilometers and 10 Kilometers. Held annually at the green bushveld of Nkonyeni, an estate overlooking the Great Usuthu river, the event is one of the most anticipated of the year. Participants and supporters will be treated to a day of good sportsmanship, great food, stunning views and entertainment for the whole family. It is not to be missed. The G2G MTB race is a great opportunity for both on or off form cyclists to test their limits. Also described by many as a good family affair with a festive atmosphere as well.
Last but definitely not least, the Inyatsi Swazi Frontier is our biggest sporting export. The race is internationally recognized and is an annual event as with the Imvelo. This year’s race will take place between the 10th and 12th of October in a rural remote landscape of Northern Eswatini. It will consist of brutal yet rewarding climbs, blistering descents and magnificent scenery. There are men, women and mixed categories as well as a sub-category for senior citizens. Routes are followed using GPS and the Frontier’s organizing committee promises participants an experience to remember. Mark it down in your own calendars and get practicing on your home slopes.