uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge Media Release

 No: UX2006

13 Dec 2020

Embargo: None

 Written by: Dave Macleod


Toughest ever uBhejane Xtreme tests MTB die-hards

Durban The stormy weather that swept across KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday contributed to making the seventh edition of the uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge the toughest staging of this unique ultra marathon.

With driving rains and strong winds forecast for Saturday, the brave riders setting off for the 350km and 270km Long Horn and Short Horn rides left a few hours earlier than planned to give themselves enough time to ride though iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the final destination of Bonamanzi.

Once the riders reached the dirt roads around Mtunzini they were greeted by slippery muddy roads that sapped their energy and drained their average riding speed, putting into serious jeopardy their ability to finish the entire ride in the safety of daylight.

The 350km and 270km riding groups both opted to head for the nearby highways and use 53km of tar riding to keep their end goal realistic by riding on the highway.

"The conditions could not possibly have been any tougher," said event co-ordinator Cliff Wills.

"We expected the wind to change direction during the day but instead we had a solid headwind all the way. The storm seemed to hover over us for the entire ride!"

"It was totally energy sapping slipping and skidding around on 130km of mud, so the decision to head for tar roads to Mtubatuba was an easy one to make," he said.

The riders converged with the 130km and 60km riders later in the day where they could enjoy the easier, quicker ride through iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

"There is a magic spot called the Aerial Boardwalk where you get a view over the whole Lake St Lucia heartland, which was special because it was a sharp reminder to every single rider that they were each riding to raise funds to help in the fight against rhino poaching," he said.

"We didn't see any elephants but there was plenty of fresh evidence that they had been there," he added.

Former rugby player Joe Pietersen hosted his own group on the 130km ride representing his Nkombe Rhino project.

As the ride neared its end the battered and weary MTB enthusiasts were able to enjoy the enormity of what they had overcome on the day, and enjoy the local hospitality.

"We had some fantastic stops at local taverns where the locals literally took hundreds of selfies with the uBhejaneX riders.

"The finish at Bonamanzi was festive as well. Joe Pietersen had arranged a great band and singer Bok van Blerk, which made the celebration special after such a brutal day on the bike," said Wills.


ENDS

Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge iSimangaliso Edition Logo - jpeg  

Heavy rains, mud and headwinds made the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend the toughest staging of the seven year old ride. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

A group of riders negotiates muddy roads through a forest near Empangeni at the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

The 2020 route for the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend took riders through 35 km of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Nearing the end of the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend, groups of riders enjoyed the flatter route through through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

"We basically rode through 130km of mud," said co-ordinator of the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend. Both the 3250km and 270km rides opted to ride 53km on nearby freeway to avoid muddy roads. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Triumph over adversity. Riders cross the old bridge near Mtiunzi during the 2020 uBhejane Xtreme iSimangaliso Edition MTB Challenge on the weekend. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you, please advise us immediately and we will be glad to remove your name from this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017