South African Cycling

Ex-Bok tackles bike race

2014-06-11 14:44
Wynand Claassen (Gameplan Media)
Pietermaritzburg - Legendary Natal and Springbok loose forward Wynand Claassen has thrown his name into the BSi Steel dusi2c hat, looking to rekindle his experiences from the Dusi Canoe Marathon when he heads into the Valley of a Thousand Hills for the two-day mountain bike race starting at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on June 21 and finishing at Blue Lagoon a day later.

Claassen was initially down to ride the race with his son, French loose forward, Antonie but the latter had to withdraw from the race due to commitments in Europe so Claassen will be taking on the challenge with friend Jan Bruwer.

“The dusi2c was a race that I heard about through e-mails as well as from other people,” the 61-year-old mentioned. “I immediately went to the website and entered the race expecting to ride it with Antonie, as he usually comes out here after the season finishes in France, but he isn’t available this year after getting married as well as being on stand-by for the France tour of Australia.

“He is a very keen mountain biker and uses it as important training for his rugby and he recently sent me photos of him training in the south of France,” said Claassen.

The seven-Test Springbok explained that he got into riding mountain bikes fairly recently but could not pass up the opportunity to ride in a race of this nature. With a history of road riding the challenge of a two-day mountain bike race is something that he is well aware of but is relishing.

“I basically started mountain biking about 18 months ago. I have done a lot of running, road cycling and paddling but mountain biking was quite a recent thing but you could say that I am becoming a huge fan.

“I found Antonie’s bike in storage and I went and got it fixed up and that is where I started. I have been doing some of the smaller races up in Joburg but this race (dusi2c) is something completely different and I am really excited for what should be a great challenge,” he mentioned.

Aside from a stellar rugby career, Claassen has been very involved in running and cycling with the Comrades Marathon in his list of achievements and he added three Dusi Canoe Marathons to that list which he believes is quite an influential reason why he entered the 2014 BSi Steel dusi2c.

It has been 29 years since Claassen completed his last Dusi Canoe Marathon and getting back into the uMsundusi and uMngeni Valley’s is something that the former Springbok captain is looking forward to.

“The reason I entered the dusi2c was threefold. Firstly, it is a trip down memory lane for me. I did my three Dusi’s with Gudgie Dixon, the Natal flyhalf in 1983-84, with our last race together being in 1985 and those races were such great experiences for me that the dusi2c will be a great opportunity for me to get back into the Valley and see how much it has changed.

“It is also a bit of an unknown for me, I have never done such a big race before and so it is different and new which itself is a challenge.

“Having to navigate your way down the valley is another exciting concept that I don’t know much about. I know quite a bit about the valley but that is from the river so I am going to make sure that Jan knows where he is going - he is younger than me!” Claassen chuckled.

Read more on:    antonie claassen  |  rugby  |  mountain biking

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