Change a Life Academy
10 June 2016
Written by: Kyle Gilham
Ride to Rhodes a personal challenge for ‘Dusi Duke’
Pietermaritzburg – A battle against the elements, the body and the mind
lies in wait for ‘Dusi Duke’ and founder of the RMB Change a Life MTB
Academy, Martin Dreyer this weekend when he takes on the Ride to Rhodes
mountain bike event as a personal challenge to redefine his limits.
With his racing days behind him, the former elite paddler turned mountain
bike adventurer thrives on challenges such as this which will see him start
on Saturday morning in Pietermaritzburg and head to the Eastern Cape town
of Rhodes near the border of Lesotho.
The sub-event of the renowned Freedom Challenge’s Race Across South Africa
– a 2300km MTB challenge from KZN’s Pietermaritzburg to Wellington in the
Western Cape – sees participants self-navigate the 500km route non-stop
within the eight day cut-off, all the while being self-sufficient with just
support stations every 80-100km to rely on for assistance, food and
“I’ve done three Freedom Challenges previously and now I’m really excited
to be taking on the Ride to Rhodes this year!” says Dreyer.
A race that is more a journey than a contest, the Ride to Rhodes sees
participants, in conjunction with the Freedom Challenge’s competitors,
depart KZN’s capital in batches daily between 1 and 11 June, each rider
filled with an unique expectation and set of goals for their journey.
For Dreyer, the challenge is a personal one in 2016 as he looks to test his
boundaries and overcome the distance and the weather both as best and as
quickly as he can.
“Both the Freedom Challenge and the Ride to Rhodes are very personal
experiences; it’s all about what you, as an individual, want to get out of
“There is no prize money and whether you finish first or finish last you
get the same reward.
“There are two guys in my batch looking to beat the RTR’s record time while
others are there just to enjoy the experience, relax at the farm houses
along the way and enjoy a glass of red wine in the evenings.
“I’m at the stage of my racing career where I’ve long retired from the
competitive side of racing so for me, this is about the challenge of taking
on the elements and extending myself.
“There is a great sense of the unknown that influences this race; not only
do you have to battle the technical requirements of the route and the
distance of the race, but you have to overcome sleep deprivation, know how
to conserve energy when necessary and be clever when it comes to dealing
with the weather as well!
“For me its about finding the answers to questions like ‘Am I tough
enough?’ and ‘Can I handle it?’ each time I’m presented with another of the
Departing in Batch 11 of the 2016 RTR, Dreyer will look to charge through
the night on both Saturday and Sunday as he aims to reach Rhodes on Monday
but is anxiously keeping a close eye on weather forecasts after a cold
front hit Cape Town on Thursday evening.
“As far as knowing where I’m going, I’ve paid my school fees during my
three Freedom Challenges and that knowledge will count a lot, especially
when riding at night, but the weather will also play a big role in how
quickly we can go.
“I’ve been following Snow Report quite closely and it appears we’re in for
a bit of rain on Saturday morning and again on Sunday night.
“Rain obviously means cloud cover and that has pros and cons when riding in
the dark as conditions will be two or three degrees warmer than if the
skies where clearer but naturally there will then also be less moonlight to
help you find your way.
“Personally I’d prefer if it was clear because I’ve been lost in the dark
before and getting lost in the middle of the night with temperatures below
freezing can really break you!
“If all goes well then I’ll probably be tackling the stretch from Vuvu to
Rhodes – where you climb 1000m over 5km and have to hike you bike up the
Lehanas Pass – in the dark so clear skies would definitely be great.
“Obviously all of this is completely out of our control though,” chuckles
On top of his Freedom Challenge experience, Dreyer believes two recent
mountain biking achievements will also help him overcome the tough mental
challenge this weekend’s 2016 RTR presents.
“Mentally, my 900km ride across the Rockies with my wife Jeannie last year
at the Colorado Trail Race will really help as we learnt some great lessons
there during my only completely self-supported ride where you don’t even
have help with food or accommodation.
“With the cold front that’s hit South Africa, our Everesting [cycling hill
repeats to the combined equivalent height of Mount Everest in one sitting]
up and down Sani Pass this time last year will also really help prepare me
for the icy cold and extreme conditions of the night!”
Live tracking of Dreyer’s and the rest of the participants’ progress as
well as more information is available at
download the hi-resolution pic
Change a Life
Academy logo - jpeg
RMB Change a Life MTB Academy
founder and keen adventurer, Martin Dreyer is excited by his participation
in this weekend's Ride to Rhodes, a self-navigated, non-stop, 500km
mountain bike event from Pietermaritzburg to the Eastern Cape towen Rhodes.
RMB Change a Life MTB Academy
founder and keen adventurer, Martin Dreyer will be challenged both mentally
and physically like few races have done before when he tackles the Ride to
Rhodes, a self-navigated, non-stop, 500km mountain bike event from
Pietermaritzburg to the Eastern Cape town of Rhodes.
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