Hey Holla: Q&A with Grant Dekker

Life in the fast lane. This month we talk to Grant Dekker

How did you get involved in organising Enduro mountain bike events,
and what inspired you to do so?

I recently volunteered to serve on KZN Gravity mountain biking committee. I have enjoyed years of skids and wheelies, laughs , adventures and happiness on my mountain bikes. I am happy to have the opportunity to give a little back and hopefully encourage others to get out there and make their own memories.

Can you tell us a bit about your personal background and experience in mountain biking? Have you participated in any notable races or events? 
For me bikes have always been fun. More a vessel to adventure than a mode of transport. Hurtling through single track is my ultimate release and happy place. I have had the privilege of participating in road races, MTB classics, MTB marathons, XCO racing, downhill racing and enduro. I have managed to sneak a few medals over the years in DH and Enduro, my most treasured one being a Continental Downhill age cat gold medal.

What sets your Enduro mountain bike event apart from others? Are there any unique features or aspects that participants can look forward to at the Holla Trails Enduro on the 3rd of September?
This is the first Gravity discipline event to happen at Holla, and we are the first to announce a dedicated E-bike stage. We set out with a few goals in mind for this event, namely taking Enduro to a group of riders at Holla that would never otherwise consider doing an Enduro. What better way to try an Enduro than on the trails you know well and are at home with. We also aim to introduce a new group of riders to Holla Trails. Holla is not known to be a gravity destination, and as such the gravity based riders mistakenly assume Holla to be sugar cane and beach sand riding. We know that after guys and gals have had a taste of Holla’s single track at speed they will be back for more. 

Could you describe the trail conditions and terrain that participants can expect during the event? Are there any specific challenges or highlights that you think makes Holla Trails special? 
The beauty of hosting it at Holla is that the trails are always pristine and cater for all riders at any skill level. Race day will  have an emphasis on guys and gals new to the sport getting to push themselves on trails that they are very comfortable on. Thus experiencing the thrill of the enduro format without feeling intimidated or in over their heads. Local Holla riders can expect all the race runs to be trails they know well, with no nasty surprises.
What makes Holla different for experienced enduro racers is that Holla doesn’t give away too much speed for free, Holla requires you be on the pedals a lot and will test the fittest riders sprinting reserves. There is a lovely mix of flat and twisty to test your flat cornering skills and how well you can keep flow and speed to sections which are fast and flowy with berms and a few natural sections with rocks and roots to make sure we don’t get too comfy.
There will be a colourful rivalry between the local lycra bandits who own the trails and the fastest Enduro racers. Will the locals have the legs, lungs and knowledge to trump the raw power and skill of the best Enduro racers in KZN? 

Could you provide some details about the different categories or divisions available in your Enduro event? How do you ensure that riders of varying skill levels can participate and enjoy the event?
As the event forms part of our Provincial series we will have all the age categories dependant on entries per category. If we have enough E-biker entrants we will even be able to have E-bike age cats. For guys and gals wanting to experience the thrill of enduro but who are still a little apprehensive we typically run a lite category which is only 3 of the 5 race stages and a few km shorter overall. All of that being said its worth repeating that the entire event is geared towards enticing people to try the format for the first time on manageable trails that they know well.

Are there any additional activities or attractions available for participants and spectators during the event? Is there an expo area, food vendors, or other entertainment options?
We are working together with sponsors to make sure we are able to make the day as much fun for the family as it is for the riders. Holla as a venue offers so much for the family while the racers are out competing for glory. We are hoping to be able to live stream on the day and to have interactive competitions. Rumour has it there may even be a speed trap somewhere.

Words of wisdom or tips for people taking part or wanting to take part?
Enduro is the most social family-friendly mountain biking discipline there is. We get to ride and laugh together between stages and to share the stories of the last race run. The event at Holla at September is truly for all riders. As far as words of wisdom… for the enduro racers, don’t talk too much between race runs you are going to need the oxygen for the sprints on race runs.
For the first timers, relax, it’s a super fun day out with mates, eyes up, look far ahead and keep an eye out for the loose sand on exits of corners.

Enter here!