Euro Steel Drak Descent Media Release  drakdes2102

12 Nov 2020

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Written by: Dave Macleod

Shange's epic ride to end with another Drak Descent

Underberg - As hundreds of MTB fanatics converge on Underberg on the weekend of 30 and 31 January 2021 for the Euro Steel Drak Descent in partnership with FNB, few will notice the figure of Thubalethu Shange as he rides into the Southern Drakensberg town the day before race.

Hardly anyone will know that he has ridden 235 kilometres via Kokstad to get to the race, taking him 13 hours, simply because he doesn’t have the funds to afford to drive to the events he chooses.

His ideal event is tough. Like the notorious Munga and the Freedom Challenge that he has completed several times. But as he concedes with a smile, he doesn’t worry about adversity.

The 29 year old, who hails from the rural village of NdlovuZulu outside Port Shepstone candidly admits, “My whole life has been tough!”

“Covid has been tough for the whole country. But I was OK. I have always had to deal with a lack of resources to survive, so it was easier for me to cope.”

He admits to having chosen to be an ultra-rider, and wants to carve out a name for himself in the most extreme facet of the sport. That’s why riding 500 kilometres to and from Underberg for a two day race totalling 90 kilometres doesn’t faze him.

Having raced the Euro Steel Drak Descent in 2019 and 2020 he is determined to return.

“Why wouldn’t I want to come back? The single track flows beautifully. The technical terrain is not for the feint hearted. The people are so friendly. It is a life-changing event,” says Shange.

“It would be the perfect place for me to train because it has the altitude and would be a great training camp venue,” he added.

He has always struggled to fund his passion, Cadence Nutrition helps with his supplements and DCM help with racing kit, and then he relies on generous individuals to help cover his costs to get to races and maintain his equipment.

With a long tar road trip to the race to factor in, he rides the Drak Descent with a gravel bike setup, using semi-slick tyres and rigid forks.

“I really enjoy that,” he said. “I think the organisers should create a separate class for gravel bikes.”

And once the dust has settled on the two days of MTB action in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, the well-heeled riders will leave Underberg with their bikes strapped to their cars, while Shange sets off back to Port Shepstone on his bike with a trademark grin on his face.

“It has never been easy, but I like it that way,” says the South Coast stalwart.

Should you have any specific media requirements, please don't hesitate to contact the event media officer Nick Tatham at


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Euro Steel Drak Descent Logo - Horizontal on white (JPeg)  
FNB Drak Adventure Weekend Logo - Horizontal on white (JPeg)  
The Euro Steel Drak Descent, in partnership with FNB, will once again welcome Thubalethu Shange in 2021 as the South Coast resident rides over 230km to Underberg before taking on the two day event from 30-31 January. Graham Daniel/
Euro Steel
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