Awarded the best race in South Africa in 2009, the Berg & Bush is once again upon us with team dormakaba riders Robyn de Groot and Amy McDougall looking forward to what promises to be another exciting event.
The iconic Descent takes mountain bikers from the top of the Drakensberg escarpment near Harrismith and drops down into Kwazulu-Natal, negotiating world-famous single track into the bushveld below into Winterton. Starting Friday, 4 October and finishing on Sunday, 6 October, it has become one of the favourite races amongst local mountain biking teams.
“The riding at Berg & Bush is fantastic with really fun trials and routes. It has a wonderful race village vibe and I am looking forward to it,” says de Groot who recently finished third at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships held in Grächen, Switzerland.
McDougall is equally excited with this being her 7th year of competing in the race.
“Berg & Bush remains a highlight of my season. Not only is this due to the sublime trails, but the vibe that the Green family create within the village is amazing. There is an exciting energy at the event that I just cannot describe, but it certainly stands out and gets me all geared up for it as well,” says McDougall.
Both ladies have been focused on maintaining their fitness for the influx of events through the course of the next few months before the traditional December break.
For de Groot who has had vascular surgery in January, the focus has been on returning to race conditioning which she has done following a successful stint in Europe.
“I look forward to race with Amy as we have never been in a team before. Usually we compete against one another, so this is an exciting experience for us at dormakaba,” says de Groot.
McDougall also admits she has had a tough year struggling with form and recovering from an operation to fix a breathing problem she has struggled with all her life.
“However, I am really positive as I am seeing my hard work paying off with good form and really positive results from the operation. In the past two months, I have done a six-day stage race in Quebec (the Quebec Single Track Experience), the three-day Magoeba Trek, and the Cape Pioneer. With proper recovery and training in between, I finally feel really good,” McDougall says.
Even though the pairing is focused on a strong performance, they will take the race as it comes, have fun along the way, and compete well against the other riders.
With Wines2Whales at the end of October the next stage race the team will be competing in, the focus is on preparing well for every event before the season ends.
“It has been fantastic racing with dormakaba as the company has invested a lot of energy and support into women’s mountain biking in the country,” says de Groot.