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Media Release: Cyclists take to the Mountains in Addo Elephant National Park

Date: 29th October 2008

Saturday 1 November will see cyclists of all ages and abilities pedaling through the Zuurberg Mountains in the Addo Elephant National Park and the gravel tracks of the Sundays River Valley.

Saturday 1 November will see cyclists of all ages and abilities pedaling through the Zuurberg Mountains in the Addo Elephant National Park and the gravel tracks of the Sundays River Valley.

The inaugural Mondi Packaging Addo Mountain Bike Challenge offers mountain bikers a chance to pedal through some magnificent scenery inside the Addo Elephant National Park, and includes climbing the historic Zuurberg Pass, hand-built by convict labourers in the 1860’s.

Cyclists will choose from three different routes: a 30-kilometre fun ride, a 55-kilometre trail and an 85-kilometre extreme route.

Four development cyclists will compete in their first mountain bike race ever thanks to a sponsorship of mountain bikes from CycloPro and cycling gear from Mondi Packaging. The four men were selected by the Addo Elephant National Park to compete in the 55-kilometre race with the aim of encouraging them to develop their mountain biking skills and to develop mountain biking in the local communities surrounding the Park.

The Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Trust – a trust comprised of representatives of the communities surrounding Addo Elephant National Park - and a national charity, CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation) are beneficiaries of the event.

The 85-kilometre route has a high level of technical difficulty and has attracted almost 100 entries so far from some of the country’s top professional and amateur mountain bike riders. The route includes gravel roads, jeep track and some extremely steep single track down-hills with switch-backs, river crossings and over 1700m of climbing.

Although the 85-kilometer cyclists will face tough challenges in the Park’s Zuurberg Mountain area of the Park, they will not need to worry about being challenged by the jumbos of the Park. Addo’s elephants prefer the more gentle terrain in the lowlands of the Park and do not occur in the Zuurberg Mountain area.

Approximately 200 cyclists have signed up for the 55-kilometre race with 250 entering the 55-kilometre race. Late entries before the event could mean that numbers could climb to 700 overall.

The mountain bike challenge event will also feature a kiddies fun challenge for the under eight-year olds with entertainment, a beer tent and family activities at the Addo Polo Club which serves as the start/finish venue.

For more information on the event, please visit www.leisurecycletours.com.

Issued by: South African National Parks

Enquiries: Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra National Parks Tel: (042) 233-8609 or 083 650 8649

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