uBhejane Xtreme MTB
Challenge Media Release
Written by: Dave Macleod
Xtreme Ultimate MTB challenge gets under way
Hillcrest - The fifth edition of the gruelling Northside uBhejane Xtreme
MTB Challenge formally started in Hillcrest on Thursday morning when the
group of hardy men and women started the 140km first stage of the new
340km three-day ride to Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe, braving searing
temperatures on their way to the coast.
The three day option is a new innovation added to the annual fundraiser
for Project Rhino and rhino conservation, designed to make achieving the
full distance of the challenge more accessible to rank-and-file riders,
overnighting at Zinkwazi and Empangeni.
On Saturday the balance of the field will tackle the full 340km ‘Long
Horn’ ride, the 250km ‘Short Horn’ ride from the Umvoti Toll Plaza, the
‘Baby Horn’ 100km ride from Empangeni which will also form the last
stage of the three day ride, and the 35km ‘Orphan’ ride from the rhino
statue at the entrance of Hluhluwe Game Reserve to Hilltop camp.
In the group that started the three day ride in Hillcrest on Thursday
morning are Olympic medallist Terence Parkin and Dave Duke, who are
setting out to ride the first ever 570km Ultimate uBhejane Xtreme,
riding the first two stages of the three-day ride before returning to
Hillcrest to ride the full 340km one-day uBhejane Xtreme.
Deaf ultra-athlete Parkin was brimming with enthusiasm at the challenge,
and said the plight of the rhinos being poaches riled him into accepting
Dave Duke’s challenge.
“Rhino poaching is sadly at a record high, threat of extinction is
real,” said Duke. “Our uBhejaneX cycling shirts has a sketch of three
Northern White Rhinos. That number has dropped to two now and the breed
is functionally extinct, that’s how real it has become.
“That is why we are doing this ride. There may be no more of these
magnificent beasts left for future generations,” he added.
At the start of the three day ride was another long-haul cyclist Ewan
Cochran, who is planning to ride the 340km ride on Saturday aiming to
take his total distance in training and riding for Project Rhino to
2000km, but he admitted that this lofty goal was being stymied by
“I was sick for a few days which kept me off the bike, so it looks like
I will finish up about 150km short,” he said.
In the 250km field will be iconic adventurer and mountaineer Sibusiso
Vilane, who returns for another crack at the tough uBhejane Xtreme
Former Sharks, Stormers and Springboks backline star Joe Pietersen will
join in the 100km ride on Saturday, showing the passion for rhino
conservation that keeps him busy at his Nkombe Rhino project and the
Anti Poaching Unit.
The riders will be met at the entrance to Hluhluwe by legendary cycling
commentary and the ‘Voice of Cycling’ Phil Liggett, who, with a group of
riders, will join the field for the ceremonial ride of 35 kilometres to
Those interested in taking
part may apply to enter, donations can be submitted and more information
can be found via the event’s website, www.ubhejanex.org.
Click to download the hi-res
uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge
Logo - jpeg
Olympian Terence Parkin (left)
and Kloof cyclist Dave Duke (right) looking fresh halfway through the
140km first stageon Thursday of their attempt at a 570km 'Ultimate' uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge.
“Rhino poaching is sadly at a record high, threat of extinction is real.
That is why we are doing this ride. There may be no more of these
magnificent beasts left for future generations,” said Duke.
Legendary cycling commentator Phil Liggett
(right) will meet the riders taking part in the uBhejaneX MTB
Challenge at the entrance to Hluhluwe Game Reserve and ride the last 35
kilometres to Hilltop Camp. With him is ultra-athlete Ewan Cochran, who
is targeting 2000km as his contribution to the Project Rhino fundraiser.
Rugby player Joe Pietersen
will take part in his first uBhejaneX MTB Challenge, riding the 100km
leg on Saturday.
Mountaineer and adventurer
Sibusiso Vilane will be back to ride his third uBhejane Xtreme MTB
Challenge on Saturday, riding the 250km 'Short Horn'.
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