Steel Drak Descent Media Release
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
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
“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
“It would be the perfect place for me to train because it has
the altitude and would be a great training camp venue,” he
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
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Drak Descent Logo - Horizontal on white (JPeg)
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
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