Change a Life Academy Media Release  No: CAL1703

17 Mar 2017

 Embargo: None  Written by: Nick Tatham

Change a Life stars ready for Epic journey

Pietermaritzburg – The 2017 ABSA Cape Epic will be a step into the unknown for the RMB Change a Life Academy squad who are setting up for their first outing at the ‘Tour de France’ of mountain biking races which gets underway in the Western Cape from Sunday 19 March to Sunday 26 March.

The ABSA Cape Epic organisers approached Academy founder Martin Dreyer and offered his team two, two-man team entries into the prestigious race and Dreyer’s former sponsor Land Rover offered him two more entries.

“The Epic was always out of our ball park in terms of budget but to be approached by organisers and sponsors and offered entries was incredible,” Dreyer mentioned.

“It was a dream come true for the guys and the race provides a challenge that the guys would never have thought possible.

“It is a completely different level to anything they have ridden before and it is a totally different level of racing.”

The races draws the greatest mountain biking talent the world over for eight days of the most gruelling, intense racing on a mountain bike, a challenge that Dreyer has taken up and he is trying to prepare his charges for the test.

“There is so much depth in the race that the top 100 are all racing for positions.

“I am mentally trying to prepare them for what to expect because the riding is at the top level for seven days and they can’t afford to slack off at any stage.

“They just need to make sure that they can keep to together under the pressure for seven days,” Dreyer stressed.

Despite the fact that the Change a Life Academy teams will be racing for overall position three of the four teams have the added incentive of racing in the Exarro Development Category.

“All the guys are getting new bikes for the Epic which just adds to the excitement,” said Dreyer.

“There is also only one team that is over the age of 26 so they don’t qualify for the EXARRO Development Category, but the other guys have a category leaders jersey to race for throughout the seven stages.

“With that said they need to be prepared for eight days of relentless riding. It is going to hurt but they need to power through,” Dreyer added.

The four teams will be made up of Sipho Kupiso and Ndumiso Dontso, Bongumusa Zikhali and Mazwi Smimango, riding for RMB Change a Life, and Sthembiso Masango and Mboneni Ngcobo and Siyanda Masango and new-comer Luvuyo Siyasi riding in Land Rover colours.

“The guys are like kids in a candy shop at the moment!” Dreyer commented. “It’s about trying to keep them grounded at this stage.

“They don’t have anything to prove as the other guys in the development category are experienced Epic riders.

“I think that the biggest challenge for them will be racing themselves. They have done long distances on a bike but this race is far more intense, they can’t go flat out all day, every day.”

A lot of the team would have raced in pairs before at races like the BSi Steel dusi2c and the KAP sani2c, however the intensity of the Cape Epic coupled with the mental and physical fatigue makes working together even more important.

“The guys are going to have to work really hard together and communicate throughout the race.

“If one guy is tired then they must put up their hand and tell the other person to slow down so they can regroup.

“No other team is going to be looking out for them during the race, they must accept that their only friend during the race is their partner,” Dreyer stressed.


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Sthembiso Masango (pictured) will pair up Mboneni Ngcobo for what promises to be the highlight of the RMB Change a Life Academy duo at the upcoming ABSA Cape Epic from 19-26 March.  Anthony Grote/
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The RMB Change a Life Academy duo of Ndumiso Dontso (front) and Sipho Kupiso (second) will join forces when they take on the gruelling ABSA Cape Epic together from 19-26 March. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media
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