Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge

ladismith-seweweekspoortThe people from Ladismith, a small town in the Little Karoo, will agree that mountain biking can make a difference to the lives of ordinary people. One weekend every year their town is invaded by mountain bikers who come to race in the Ladismith Cheese Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge. This year the event will take place on 15 October.

It is the brainchild of two doctors Pieter Blignaut and Jaco Denkema. This year Dryland Events also got involved. More than 1000 mountain bikers are expected to participate over the various race distances, namely 25km, 40km and 80km. This event creates a boom in the town’s economy because the riders and their supporters need to eat, sleep and enjoy themselves.

A conservative estimate will be to assume that each rider will spend approximately R1000 on meals, petrol and accommodation over the weekend. This means that the race could bring in about R1.5 million to boost the town’s economy. This is not taking into account the family members of the riders who will accompany them.

According to Fanus Walters, principal of the Hoërskool Ladismith, the Seweweekspoort Challenge has developed from merely a small race into one of the main social events on the town’s social calendar. “People realize the importance of such a race, especially because many small towns are currently involved in a battle for economic survival. Ladismith is no exception. “One of the main problems in most small towns is the over-population that puts huge demands on the economies of the towns.
“Ladismith’s economy is sustained by two cheese factories, a distillery, a dried fruit company, as well as ostrich and dairy farms. This is more than what many other towns can boast of, but it is still not enough to sustain the ever increasing population.

“The people who live at the Zoar/Amalienstein Missionaries and in Vanwyksdorp also rely on Ladismith for their survival. Therefore, any extra income that can be generated brings welcome relief too many people.”

Walter reckons that the big spin-off of the race is that it makes people aware of the fact that Ladismith actually has much to offer from a tourism perspective.

“The main tourist attraction of our town is the Swartberg that surrounds it. This mountain range has been the inspiration for a number of authors who used it as a background for their stories. In this regard Jan van Tonder and Abraham de Vries can be mentioned and even David Kramer refers to the Swartberg in some of his songs.

“A considerable portion of the race goes through parts of the beautiful and unspoilt Seweweekspoort. Riders will also get the opportunity to ride through some of the most beautiful farms in the Hoeko Valley. For those who may not know, this is where the most famous author in Afrikaans, CJ Langenhoven, was born.

“I will admit that most people’s first impression of Ladismith may not be favourable, but first impressions can often be misleading. There are some really beautiful old buildings in the town that date back to the boom period of the ostrich feathers industry in the previous century. The architecture of some of these houses is unique to this part of the country.

“In short, Ladismith is the uncrowned jewel of the Little Karoo.”

Never say never, Evans eyes 2011 DCM Cape Pioneer Trek

“Never again.”

This is what Kevin Evans (360Life) said last year after he had finished the first stage of the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek.

“It was just not fun. The racing was extremely hard and I could not see the point in punishing myself so late in the season. I phoned my teammate, David George, and told him that if there was one race we would not do in 2011, it was the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek,” Evans explained.

But, as the saying goes “never say never”.  Much can change in a short period of time and that is exactly what happened.

After stage three Evans made a 360° turn-about in regard to his continued participation in the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek.

“I again phoned David and told him that if there was one race we would definitely do in 2011 it was the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek.”

Asked about the reason for this dramatic change of mind, Evans said that he began to realize that he was competing in a really unique event.

“Every year I compete in many races around the world. The DCM Cape Pioneer Trek is the only event in which the needs of the riders always come first.

“Henco Rademeyer and Carel Herholdt and their Dryland Event Management Team go out of their way to make the six days of racing a unique experience.

“What is also special about the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek is that it is not just about winning. Don’t get me wrong!  During every stage the racing is hard, but the suffering becomes bearable because of the camaraderie that develops among all the riders.
“I really enjoyed the “kuier” after every stage when the top riders and the fun riders swapped their ‘war stories’. I don’t always get the opportunity to spend time with my supporters.”

About their goals for the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek, Evans said that an overall victory was not their main priority.

“I think our approach will be much the same as that of Christopher Sauser, the marathon world champion.  We want to enjoy ourselves, but if the opportunity should arise to win a stage we would certainly go for it.

“What will be important during the six days of racing will be to test our equipment to get an idea of what we should use during next year’s Cape Epic. It certainly helps that we will be racing on some of the same routes that have been used for the Epic.”


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Photo Credit: ZOON CRONJE

For high res images please contact: NEWS-CENTER@ZCMC.CO.ZA

Sauser adament to return to the 2011 DCM Cape Pioneer Trek in October

dcm-cape-pioneer-trekLike a moth not being able to resist circling a bright light or a woman not being able to resist eating chocolates, Christoph Sauser (Specialized) has a compulsion to participate in the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek in the Klein Karoo.

Being the current world marathon mountain-bike champion, Sauser could well have taken a well-deserved break from cycling in October, but that will not be the case. Sauser is adament that he will not miss out on racing the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek.

“I have so much fun during and after the stages when I race the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek. For me it feels like a great holiday. The staff and riders become like members of my family over the six days of the Trek. The comradeship among the riders is unbelievable. The Cape Pioneer Trek is not only about racing and winning. We have so much to laugh and joke about and we have enjoyed some legendary parties after the stages. The fact that some of the stages have been long, windy and rocky, has only made the rest of the time better. The race is always superbly organized. I really like the Klein Karoo and we always go to beautiful places. I love to explore, and to do so on my mountain bike is the very best way.”

dcm-cape-pioneer-trekSauser is not yet sure who will be his partner for the six-day tour. “I was hoping to ride the tour with Silvio Bundi again, but it might not happen because Silvio will become a dad about mid-August and he has to clear his participation with his wife first.” Sauser and Bundi won the 2006 Cape Epic. One thing is certain. It does not matter with whom Sauser teams up to race the Pioneer Trek. Even though he claims to be on a holiday, he will not be just fooling around. Even if Sauser should decide to put in just a 70% to 80% effort, it would in all probability be enough to give him a realistic chance to finish on the podium.

dcm-cape-pioneer-trekDuring last year’s tour Sauser grew noticeably stronger and more motivated as the tour progressed. South African cycling fans should actually try to watch Sauser racing because he is one of the true mountain-biking legends. There are not many riders who can boast that they have won both the World Cross-country (2008) and World Marathon (2007 and 2011) titles. He also won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, as well as 14 World Cup races. As far as second and third place finishes in important international events are concerned, his CV is also impressive. Sauser has also won the Absa Cape Epic with South Africa’s Burry Stander this year (2011).

dcm-cape-pioneer-trekThe Swiss rider answered the following questions on his website.

What Specialized bikes do you ride?

S-Works Carbon Epic for racing, S-Works Stumpjumper and Enduro for the real fun, Tarmac SL2 and Roubaix on the road, Stumpjumper hardtail 29er for commuting

What is your favourite food?

Macaroni, fresh bread, pizza, homemade burger. Actually I like anything. It just depends on the quality and how it is cooked.

What is your favorite fluid?
Water, draft beer, red wine, coffee, and nothing else really.

Any hobbies besides cycling?
Backcountry skiing, reading, snowboarding, relaxing, cooking.

If you were not a pro mountain-bike racer, what would you be?
Professional road cyclist, military pilot, ski jumper.

What has been your best riding experience?
Free riding with backpack from hotel to hotel after the racing seasons. This is a great way of having fun with friends and still being active. Well, it can also get over the top for after-season fun. The routes on the hiking maps always look short in time, and we often end up riding into the night. One day, years ago, we could not find the trail in the dark and it was midnight before we arrived in a small mountain village. Luckily there was something like a holiday apartment in which we could sleep. Now I always have a light in the backpack with me!

And the worst?
On a long road trip to Italy I stopped the car near Brescia and went for a road ride. On the way back it got dark, and I could not find my car. It was freezingly cold, and I had to ride in the rush hour without lights. It took me for ever to find the car again!

Where is your favorite place to do mountain biking?
Alps, Colorado, Monaco

What kind of music do you have on your iPod?
Lunik, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz, Robbie Williams, Akon, Mattafix. The Thing Things, Gwen Stefani, Led Zeppelin. All in all I need great variety.

What is the best part of racing?
Crossing the finishing line first, and seeing excited team staff and fans!

What are your main strengths?
Technique, mental, confidence, preparation, experience, equipment.

What are your main weaknesses?
A combination of cold and wet weather. Sometimes I think too positive, especially when I choose tires, or not take spares with me.

Any advice for beginners?
Have fun with the right bike from the beginning. So have a look at the Specialized S-Works right away!

What is your best way of having a good time?
Being healthy, and independent in the mountains. Riding on cool single trails the whole day with friends and on my free-ride bike, with a great dinner afterwards.

Why do you ride?
The is no better way of getting around in nature, with friends or alone. The perfect travelling speed. Actually it is amazing how far you can go with a bike in just one day with only the energy of your body!

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Photo Credit: ZOON CRONJE

For high res images please contact: NEWS-CENTER@ZCMC.CO.ZA

Not for the faint hearted!

Alright, I have just been set the craziest challenge of all time. Fred has challenged me to do an MTB trail on a Nimbus Unicycle! Yes, you read that correctly – a unicycle.

I’m going to be honest – I’ve never ridden a unicycle in my life! But I have seen guys faceplant the pavement with these things. Possibly doing an MTB trail, may just be cycling suicide.

Bah! A few broken bones or scratches – I’m not scared :) A little bit of stunt riding never killed anyone – Well, I hope!

No handlebars. No brakes. No seat. If anyone can do it, it’s your friendly neighbourhood Bandaged Jack!

Bandaged Jack

Fitness is essential

I’m sure most of us have been packing on a few extra kilos over these public holidays. It’s hard resisting all the sweet and tasty food in front of you; and besides it’s rude to reject Aunt Heather’s lemon meringue cake.

kungfupandaAt the same time, many of us have also probably slacked going to gym and maintaining our fitness levels – yes, yes, I know I’m guilty. However, if you wish to remain in supreme physical condition, my current routine is definitely not recommended.

Did you know that you if layoff exercising for 12 days, you’ll go back halfway between your trained level and your original state before you even trained? And if you don’t train for another 12 days, you’ll go to half of that too! Basically, if you don’t exercise for a month, all your hard work will have been in vain.

It’s important to be fit when doing MTB, because stiffness and pulling muscles is no joke. You could seriously injure yourself if you aren’t physical prepared. My advice – come join me and my partner in crime, Fred, at the gym and let’s sweat back into shape. Remember, stress is necessary for positive change.

Bandaged Jack

Cycling Jokes

Heya peeps, hope everyone has been enjoying the long weekend *I know I certainly have* I decided that it would be in the best interest of all if we published some cycling jokes today. So please bear with me, they can be corny LOL. Enjoy…
A tandem rider is stopped by a police car. “What’ve I done, officer?” asks the rider.
“Perhaps you didn’t notice sir, but your wife fell off your bike ten minutes ago . . .”
“Oh, thank God for that,” says the rider – “I thought I’d gone deaf!”  

Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles.

A nerd was walking down the sidewalk one day when his friend, another nerd, rode up on an incredible shiny new bicycle.
The first nerd was stunned by his friend’s sweet ride and asked, “WOW! Where did you get such a nice bike?”
The second nerd replied, “Well, yesterday I was walking home, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up to me on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, ‘Take what you want!’”
The second nerd nodded approvingly, “Good choice. The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”

Q. Do you know what’s the hardest part of learning to ride a bike?
A. The pavement.

“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” – Mark Twain

Marky Mark

Days of our Mountain Bikes Part 18

Like irregularities in the Zimbabwean elections and the latest Nando’s ad, so are the days of our mountain bikes…

In today’s episode of Days of our Mountain Bikes titled ‘Rest in Peace’, Mike begins to train heavily as a distraction to Julia’s latest betrayal. The ghost of his mother appears and tells him that he has done the right thing and he has now allowed for her ghost to finally rest in peace in cycling heaven. Will Mike win his race or will Julia somehow creep back into his life?


Tobias accepts his ginger son, David, but realises that he may have lost Whitney forever. David is happy to have his father back in his life and also to have one extra person who likes the ginger kid. Will Whitney accept Tobias and his ginger son or will Tobias slowly forget about his forbidden passion?

Diana discovers that Hel-Met has been experimenting with EPO and confronts him. Hel-Met screams at Diana to leave him alone, but a moment later collapses from apparent sore nipples. The doctor checks Hel-Met out and tells Diana that her adopted son is suffering from a hormonal overdose in his body. How will Diana take this news? Will Hel-Met have regular nipples again?

*Enter cheesy music*

Stay tuned to what happens next in the Days of our Mountain Bikes!

*Fade to commercial on a beer bottle cap*

Wendy The Mom

Violence sucks

Hola peeps! Hope you are all wrapped up nice and warm today, and satisfied with your vote from yesterday – judging by this morning’s news; change seems to be on the horizon *woot woot*

handbagOn Tuesday night, I watched a sporting event on TV that left me extremely disturbed. Real Madrid was playing Getafe, and towards the end of the game, Madrid’s central defender Pepe went completely berserk and attacked his opponent with some lethal stamping and punching. 

As expected, he was given his marching orders by the ref, but jeez – it was a horrible sight to see! This prompted me to start thinking of any violent stories I’ve heard of in MTB, but I couldn’t recall ever hearing of any outright violence towards an opponent. I know Brandon Stewart and Kevin Evans had an incident in Barberton, earlier this year, but no one really knows what happened. However, both competitors still have their eyes and teeth, so I’m sure it was nothing more than some handbag flicking.

But really people, at the end of the day, it’s just a sport. Competition is healthy, but violence isn’t. I think guys like Pepe need to go practice yoga or something calmer for their central nervous system.

Marky Mark

Very Nice!

Just the other day, Marky reported that DCM Chrome is investing a lot into the MTB scene locally, and that things are only looking brighter on the dirt side of life. And just to prove how lucky our local scene is, just listen to this story…

The Astana team, which sponsors top road cyclists like Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, has recently suffered a major financial crisis (the same one that we are all experiencing and loath) where they’ve not been able to pay their cyclists a salary for the last month. There were even whispers in the cycling world that the team might disband due to a shortage of funds.

However, just yesterday the Kazakhstan cycling federation (I laughed too, don’t worry) confirmed that they would be able to pay salaries once more, after they finally received money owing to them by their sponsors.

Still, this just proves how lucky SA is to be getting such an injection of interest and capital from outside sponsors. I mean, if Lance Armstrong isn’t getting paid, then jeepers, we’re really lucky to be seeing any money!

I pity you road cyclists.

MTB Shorts is number one in all Kazakhstan! Very nice! I like!

Bandaged Jack

Some Fun for the Day

I know many of us have been pretty stressed lately, so I’ve decided to lighten up everyone’s mood with an MTB motivational poster and two lame jokes LOL.

This will have all of you in stitches.

HAHAHAHA my friend Jake is going to kill himself laughing with this one. We always joke that cyclists are like junkies with their energy gels and bars.

Now for joke no. 1…

Q: Why did the bicycle fall over?

A: It was two tired.

LOL That was corny as hell. Haha here is the next one…

A man came back from a long business trip to find that his son had a new $300 mountain bike.
“How’d you get that, son?”

“By hiking.”


“Yeah, every night, Mom’s boss came over and gave me $20 to take a hike.”


Remember peeps, smile…it’s the best anti-stress remedy! And please feel free to add links to funny stuff in the comments box too! Luvyabuhbye!

PS Who saw Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal last night against Porto? Oh my word! Love him or hate him, it was probably one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in my life!

Marky Mark