ANYONE with a desire to escape the concrete jungle and nine to five pressures in search of exhilaration, rejuvenation or both against the backdrop of pristine nature does not have to look further than the outskirts of Windhoek.
Encompassing a lush savannah landscape amidst the rolling vistas of the Auas Mountains, the farm like atmosphere of the IJG Trails abutting the southern boundary of the city has been open to the public for leisure or sporting activities for the past four years.
The idea behind this public green space was to, “fill the need to supply a safe environment to enjoy nature for mountain bikers, runners, hikers and walkers alike,” Peter van der Merwe of IJG Trails explained.
Security is a premium concern for IJG Trails and ongoing efforts are made to ensure a safe environment. “We employ a team of full-time security personnel who undergo constant training in an attempt to provide our visitors with a secure environment for all outdoor related activities,” Van der Merwe said.
Apart from being a family get-away destination, a prime dog-walking spot, and an adventure-haven, the numerous IJG Trails zigzagging the area have evolved into a popular mountain biking and nature-based sporting arena.
The IJG Trails comprise of approximately 75 kilometres of purposely built mountain bike trails, which according to Van der Merwe makes it the, “perfect venue for both training as well as events. We also have a world class cross country track suitable for UCI endorsed cross country events”, he added.
On Saturday adrenaline junkies will convene there for the fourth leg of the Nedbank/Rock & Rut Cross-Country (XC) series.
Gernot de Klerk, Head of Marketing and Communications at Nedbank Namibia, highlighted the bank’s long-term commitment in support of cycling development in Namibia, including mountain biking, dating back more than three decades now. The Nedbank Cycle Challenge, launched in November 1986 marked the start of Nedbank’s close-knit association with cycling in the country.
“Our support has only increased in the intervening years, and cycling is now comfortably the bank’s largest sponsorship property,” de Klerk said.
Mountain bike fever has steadily increased due, in large part, to its suitability for the whole family, De Klerk explained. He also mentioned that Windhoekers have enthusiastically embraced mountain biking in places like the IJG Trails to ‘shake of the humdrum of city life’.
Saturday’s Nedbank/Rock & Rut Cross-Country (XC) series participants can tackle two different routes: The short track – 2,7km track with approximately 38m of climbing per lap or the long track – 4,5km long with a 100m of climbing per lap.
Adrenaline pushing factors aside, Van der Merwe assures that both tracks are not only designed to challenge respective participants, but, “more importantly, to give all who take part a fun day out in the mountains.”
Nedbank’s De Klerk underlined that Namibia quickly became a prime destination for premier MTB events, in part because of the quality work done by race organisers in preparing challenging race-courses and mountain biking trails, as can be found at the IJG Trails.
He added that with the, “enthusiasm and commitment shown by Rock & Rut MTB Club and the Namibia Cycling Federation, we remain especially proud of our association with the Nedbank/Rock & Rut Cross-Country (XC) series, and this weekend’s race will undoubtedly again show why Namibian cycling is starting to show its true mettle.”