Brits, Charvis enter Cape Epic
The spectacular new route of the tenth edition of the Absa Cape Epic in 2013, which takes place from 17 to 24 March.
Cape Town - Former Olympic pole-vaulter, Okkert Brits will compete in this year’s Absa Cape Epic alongside former Welsh rugby captain Colin Charvis.
The event, which takes place from March 17-24, will see 1 200 cyclists take on the challenging 698km with 15 650m of climbing from Meerendal Wine Estate to Lourensford Wine Estate.
Brits, 39, won numerous medals at international events. He competed in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, finishing seventh in 2000. His personal best of 6.03m, set in 1995, is also the African record. In 2009, Okkert Brits took part in the third season of Survivor: South Africa.
Charvis, 40, a former captain of the Welsh national rugby union team, also played for the British and Irish Lions. A back row forward, Charvis was equally adept as a flank or as the eighthman.
Says Brits: “I was at a JAG Foundation golf day where I met Greg James, chairperson of the JAG foundation, when he challenged Colin and I to do the Absa Cape Epic. I got off my chair and tried to run because I’ve heard too many crazy things about this race. I then got a call from Greg saying ‘you're in’... I couldn't say no. The JAG Foundation has done so much for kids and I wanted to be a part of it. If we can teach kids that hard work and determination builds character for your future.”
The one word that describes the event to Brits, is ‘challenging’. He and Charvis never train together. “Colin lives in Wales, so we’ve never had a training session together. I'm in my 10th week and it feels like 10 years. Sitting on a saddle when you’re 110kg for 12 to 20 hours a week. Well, I never thought that it’s possible. My diet - boerekos.” Colin reckons the event is ‘daunting’. He has been “training through a wet, icy and windy Welsh winter. Brrr.”
Brits feels that the word ‘determination’ best describes the Absa Cape Epic. “I don't really care what the route looks like. I just want to finish it and experience something that I know will be memorable.” Charvis adds: “Wayne Colin has been emailing me a weekly training guide. This has helped me focus. I have also flown over to Cape Town for a few days’ riding to get used to the different conditions to back home. I think preparation is very important. All riders of all abilities will face some difficult times physically and mentally. By at least getting yourself in the right condition physically, you’re one pedal stroke closer to completing the ride.”
Charvis continues: “Throughout my career I have always relished a challenge. This is one of the biggest. Combine this with an opportunity to support the JAG Foundation and there was no way I would miss this opportunity. I’m not too aware of the route. South Africa’s geography is not my strong point. However, I can see the elevations and I’m not enthused!”
In his free time, Brits enjoys being with his family and surfing. In 2013, he would like to “meet more people that love to achieve and help the needy”. He describes himself as a family man, a good loyal friend, honest and one who loves physical activity. He works for Evolve Fitness. “We’re a gym specialist company. We identified a need in the marketplace for a company that could assist and guide property developers, gym developers and educational institutions. We have succeeded in getting the best possible deals with major equipment company Precor. We stand strongly for ethical business and corporate governance. Our aim is to see that you get the best possible value for money and that your gym that you create is exactly what you have anticipated, but hopefully even better than what you ever dreamt.”
Charvis adds: “In my free time I am either cycling, playing golf or boxing training. I enjoy rugby too. You can’t get away from it in Wales.” Charvis has another challenge line-up after completing the Absa Cape Epic. “My other challenge for 2013 is in the UK. I am aiming to climb the four highest mountains, cycle 1 200 miles, row across the Irish Sea twice and then skydive into my hometown Swansea. All of this in 12 days.” Retired from playing rugby, Charvis still talks about it on television. “I still live in Wales, but tend to travel a lot wherever there is fun and rugby,” he concludes.
Those interested in supporting this cause, can visit: http://www.givengain.com/activist/88574/projects/4141/