Taking it to the next level

Mountain biking enthusiasts were in for a real treat on Saturday morning with the former world champion, Nico Nico Pfitzenmaier (left), competing in the fourth and final leg of the 2017 ABSA Eliminator Series at Monte Bello Estate PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The former world mountain bike champion, Nico Pfitzenmaier, stole the show on Saturday morning during the fourth and final leg of the ABSA Eliminator Series at Monte Bello Estate, just outside of Bloemfontein.

Pfitzenmaier hardly broke a sweat as he won the men’s open class of the event to be crowned the first ever champion of the series which sees riders going head-to-head over a short course with various obstacles, including a rock garden and a log jump.

Speaking to Courant, Pfitzenmaier, said it was fantastic seeing the city’s mountain biking enthusiasts gather on a Saturday morning to promote healthy living and having some good fun while doing it.

Germany’s Nico Pfitzenmaier teaches youngster the proper technique for a bunny hop, an essential skill in mountain biking PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

“It’s all about the lifestyle and the cycling community. It has come such a long way and it’s beautiful to see in Bloemfontein, especially how everybody is getting involved.

“From the cycle shops, the organizers, the venue and the parents that bring the kids out. So it’s a brilliant way to spend an active weekend.”

The German rider, who is also a sports massage therapist and healer took the time after the event to host a mini-coaching clinic to part with some of his hard-earned knowledge to better equip Bloemfontein’s young and aspiring mountain bikers to take their fledgling careers to the next level.

Pfitzenmaier focused on a few essential skills which riders need to master in order to turn those second and third place finishes into wins.

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sporting codes in the world and Pfitzenmaier agreed that it is very important to teach the youngsters to do things right from a young age.

“It’s vital for the kids to learn the right techniques from the beginning. At a young age it is very natural for them, they are mostly fearless.

“Once you create wrong habits it’s very difficult to change. At a young age parents should invest skill clinics in having the right input from skilled riders and so you can become real efficient in the sport once you grow up.”

Pfitzenmaier couldn’t stress enough that getting the small things right is the difference between an average rider and a rider who can go on to competing in the sport at a professional level.

“I started at an old age, I was 25-years old, but I paid attention to how I can improve my skills.

“My skills was always my biggest asset when I was racing against younger riders. I could save more energy and be more efficient and really play my cards on a technical terrain and thus get the advantage.” – MORGAN PIEK