Like 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.”
Sauser 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.
During 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).
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!
Visit www.dryland.co.za for more info.
Photo Credit: ZOON CRONJE
For high res images please contact: NEWS-CENTER@ZCMC.CO.ZA