Two young cyclists from the Kargo cycling team will be taking on the challenge of the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic in aid of our leopards. Siyabonga Njiva is a full time member of the Kargo team and has been mentored under the wing of Shaun Peschl of Peschl Racing . He already has 2 completed Cape Epics under his belt , so his experience will certainly come in to play with his team mate, Xolani Mthetwa, experiencing his first Epic event. Both athletes have undergone intense training with Shaun over the last 4 months, and they are now more 100% ready. Xolani has shown huge improvements in his cycling technique and has lost close to 9kg during training. His skill level has increased considerably, and he can now proudly call himself a true mountain biker. The team strategy will be to perform more strongly each day and finish higher up in the rankings as they get closer to home.
Our second team is from Alberta, Canada. Darrell and Alison Jones have been training in temperatures as low as -30 degrees, so we hope all the climatic hardship will see them more than qualified to face the gruelling 8 days ahead - as long as it doesn't get too hot! We can vouch for the fact that Canadians are made of stern stuff, our Karoo based researchers, Dr Bogdan Cristescu and Kristine Teichman are also from Alberta and have embraced the challenge of working in remote, arid areas - mostly without complaint in the name of conservation.
Last but not least, a team of riders from our ardent supporters, Hansgrohe, have pledged to make this race matter and have pledged money to the trust. Race cyclists have Hansgrohe to thank for the very welcome shower head fittings at each of the overnight stops. A refreshing clean up is very welcome at the end of each day, and it helps those tense, cycle fatigued muscles unwind.
All of us at The Cape Leopard Trust wish these hardy cyclists luck as they set off on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Cape leopard country. We will be following their progress daily.
The ABSA Cape Epic is recognised as one of the best mountain bike races in the world and is supported by entries from over 40 countries.