Extreme Duo: the ultimate off the road endurance test

POSTED: 09/14/12 2:38 PM

Organising committee members Erik van Engelen (right) with Ralph van Dijk and at left Sandra Garnier and Liesbeth de Falco. Robert Luckock Photo.

St. Maarten / By Robert Luckock —Seriously-competitive mountain bikers will get a chance to prove their mettle when Extreme Duo, a new international mountain bike race offering pleasure and pain in equal measure, takes to the trails on Sunday September 30.

Based on a concept already in use in Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba, Extreme Duo as its name implies is a race for two riders who must complete a 60K course together. Riders will be taken on a complete tour of the island, with a start and finish at Port de Plaisance.

St. Maarten is the first leg of the tour with Aruba scheduled for October, Bonaire in November and Curacao in December.

Not since the now defunct Caribbean Cup of the 1990s has there been a race of this calibre and St. Maarten’s top riders will match off-road skills with the best of the ABC islands. Organisers expect to have 60-70 participants or more on the starting line.

The race would not be complete without a loop in Bellevue, the mountain biker’s playground that offers a labyrinth of technical trails, single track, lung bursting climbs, and breathtaking descents.  A 10K loop in here will provide the first shock to the system for the uninitiated and could well establish the pecking order for the rest of the race.

Introducing the race to St. Maarten is Erik van Engelen who recently relocated here from Curacao in February and describes himself as a “fanatical” mountain biker who took up the sport two years ago.

“Riding with the Saturday morning group around the island I realised St. Maarten has the potential for this kind of race, and suggested it to my friends in Curacao,” explained Erik who is Race Director and co-organiser with help from Tri-Sport, and the local organising committee in St. Maarten. “The extreme groups were very enthusiastic when they heard about it so I hope for a good turnout from them. The race in Curacao is about 70K, Bonaire 80K, and Aruba 70k. St. Maarten will be less distance but believe me with the hills and the heat it will be tough.”

Water stops will be organised at various points all around the island. Erik estimated most riders would complete the course in about three hours. Categories will include Women, Men, Juniors, Seniors, and Mixed Teams.

“Organisation-wise it will be a fairly relaxed race,” Erik added. “The Bonaire organisation gave us a jump start and we will use their rules that are quite straightforward. The main intention is to get visiting riders here to discover St. Maarten.”

Team Registration is on Friday and Saturday September 28/29 at Port de Plaisance from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Entry fee per duo is $50. On Sunday breakfast is at 5:30am followed by the race start at 6:30am. The awards ceremony and lunch is at 12:00pm. For more information and to volunteer in helping the organization email info@sxmextrememtb.com


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