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The second Klein-Aus Vista Mountain Bike Challenge will be held on 29 and 30 April 2012 at Klein-Aus Vista, the Gondwana lodge near Aus in south-western Namibia. Participants can choose to compete in a marathon of 110 km or a half-marathon of 60 km with 60 percent of the route consisting of single tracks. It follows that marathon riders have to cover 55 km per day, while a day’s stage for the half-marathon is 30 km. There are four water and marshal points along the route. The categories, for men and women, are Elite, Master and Junior.

Monday, 16 April 2012 is the final day to register for the Klein-Aus Vista Mountain Bike Challenge. The registration fee is N$ 175. 

Piet Swiegers

The demanding route leads through a unique landscape of granite mountains, rugged valleys and meandering dry riverbeds. Many spots along the way afford grand views of the Namib plains – for safety reasons participants will probably not be able to appreciate them, however… Sections of the route follow a historic path which the Schutztruppe used during the First World War for transporting water with mules and ox wagon to their entrenchments at the western foothills of the mountains. The fortifications on the mountain slopes can still be seen today.

Naturally the scenic beauty of Klein-Aus Vista can be explored by mountain bike at any time other than the weekend of the race as well. There is a choice of three routes: two long ones (30 to 40 km) and a short one (about 5 km). The longer trails are a real challenge, as they mostly consist of narrow single track paths through the scenery of bush and rocks.

Martin Freyer was the winner of the Junior category in the Klein-Aus Vista Mountain Bike Challenge 2011.

Guests need to bring their own mountain bikes. If you would like to rent a mountain bike for your roundtrip through Namibia you can contact Cycletec in Windhoek. The bikes easily fit into a car when their front wheel is detached.

For those who prefer to explore the fauna and flora of the Succulent Karoo on foot there are six different trails to choose from. They are well marked and take hikers through the wildly romantic scenery of the Aus Mountains.

Track profile of the Klein-Aus Vista Mountain Bike Challenge 2012.

Klein-Aus Vista also offers guided drives through Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park for guests to familiarise themselves with the fascinating plant and animal world of the Succulent Karoo.

Links
Mountain Bike Trails at Klein-Aus Vista

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More than 12,000 metres in altitude / Wanted: 12,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

Namibia is represented at the brutal mountain bike race through the Chilean Andes for the first time: Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers are taking part in the Trans Andes Challenge from 23 to 28 January as individual bike riders. They are sponsored by Toshiba Namibia and the Gondwana Collection Namibia. Their wives Sophia and Christine are in Chile with them to lend support. But Namibians and Namibia fans can also help them to conquer the amount of more than 12,000 metres in altitude – by ‘liking’ them on Gondwana’s Facebook page to spur them on. The demanding six-leg race through the heart of the Patagonian Andes in Chile is driven on single tracks, off-road vehicle tracks and open terrain. Panguipulli is the start, Pucón the finish. The challenge is not posed by the distance that has to be covered per leg (50 to 82 km) but by the altitude that has to be negotiated: differences in altitude of between 1,780 m and 2,500 m have to be overcome every day. Of course there are plenty of downhill stretches as well, but the mountain bikers have to ‘climb’ 12,250 m in total. This race demands the utmost from the bike riders, physically as well as mentally. The number of participants is limited to 250. Piet Swiegers (Klein-Aus Vista/Gondwana) drives in the men’s Elite Category (under 45 years), Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) in the Veteran Class (over 45 years).

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista.  Photo: Sophia Snyman

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

None of the two wants to compete with the professional mountain bikers but both of them are determined to represent Namibia as best as they can. They have prepared for the event for a long time. The grounds of the Klein-Aus Vista Gondwana lodge near Aus in south-western Namibia were ideally suited for training: The mountain bike trails in the Aus Mountains are a mountain biker’s paradise. The first Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge was held there on 30 April and 1 May last year; the next one is scheduled for 29 and 30 April this year. All Namibians and Namibia fans are kindly asked to actively support Trans Andes mountain bikers Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers. On each of the six days of the race ‘likes’ are collected on the Facebook page of the Gondwana Collection Namibia (www.facebook.com/gondwana.collection.namibia). The aim is one ‘like’ for each metre in altitude which the two Namibians have to conquer. Each morning the accompanying team on site, Sophia Snyman and Christine Swiegers, will upload pictures and information on the previous leg and the progress of the race.

Conquering the Andes for Namibia (l.t.r.): Frank and Sophia Snyman as well as Christine and Piet Swiegers.  Photo: contributed

Conquering the Andes for Namibia (l.t.r.): Frank and Sophia Snyman as well as Christine and Piet Swiegers. Photo: contributed

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