Twenty two Knysna cyclists took part in this year's annual Trans-Baviaans Mountain-Bike Marathon on August 18, a gruelling race which allows the riders 24 hours to complete the 230 kilometres through the Baviaanskloof from Willowmore to Jeffreys Bay.
"The route is unmarked and navigation plays a role in this race," explained Ico Schutte, Ultimate Cycling. The riders have to navigate to seven checkpoints where they are supplied with food and drinks.
Riders enthused about the beauty of the Baviaanskloof ride, speaking of the many river-crossings, some of which almost reached waist-depth this year. According to Schutte, careful planning is essential to ensure that riders have to correct clothing, spares and lights available at the correct checkpoints. "It is a challenging event but also one of the most rewarding you will ever do," he said.
Team Ultimate Cycling Knysna, consisting of Ico Schutte, Jaco Ferreira, Pieter Henning and Shown Breytenbach, set off at a fast pace. "The pace was hard at the beginning of the race, quickly splitting the field," said Schutte. "As we got to the first river crossing we realised this was going be a wet and challenging race for both rider and equipment. With all the rain the previous weeks the rivers were at the highest they had ever been for this race!"
According Schutte, after 100km at the second water-point it became clear that the junior member of the Ultimate Cycling team was not experienced enough to handle the pace for such a long distance and the team fell back from the leading riders. "At this point Timo Cooper, defending champion of 2011 (Team Rocky Mountain) and Geddan Ruddock (staff member at Ultimate Cycling Knysna), were in front of the race," said Schutte.
Missing a checkpoint at the halfway mark, Cooper and Ruddock were out of contention for the win, so Cooper joined Team Ultimate Cycling Knysna for the rest of the ride.
"We picked up our lights at checkpoint four and night-time arrived with 40km to go," he said. At 20:00 on Saturday night, the team arrived in Jeffreys Bay in a very respectable time of 10 hours. "It was a great experience and a well-organised race by EcoBound Events," concluded Schutte.
The winning team, Coimbra Cycle House, finished the race in 8 hours 48 minutes with the last riders finishing in 23 hours 33 minutes.
Among those who completed the race were local riders, Paul Micklewood, Kenny Scheepers, Rudi de Wet and Kenny Scheepers (fastest local time - 9.41), Hein Giliomee, Anton Terblanche, Craig Smith, Piet Viljoen, Rhoodie Barnard, Adrian Hegerty Marsel Roos , Garreth Tanner, Sean Tanner, Phillo Beukes, Theuns Visser, Jeremy O'connor, Jeremy Hersch, Greg Hawley Andre Schempers, Franci Joubert, Marianne du Plessis and Hannele Steyn.
By Fran Kirsten