Cape Town - With an intimate knowledge of
the Western Cape, former Proteas opener and coach Gary Kirsten is relishing the chance
to view the region from a different perspective when he takes part in the
TransCape mountain bike race next year.
Starting in Knysna on February 4, the annual
seven-day event will take riders on a 614km journey
through some of the most iconic trails in South Africa, finishing in
Franschhoek on February 10.
Having being based in Cape
Town for much of his life, the 49-year-old Kirsten, who played 101 Tests for
SA, said he was familiar with the region due to “driving
my car up the N2”.
now I will get a different view from the saddle of my bike and that’s very exciting for me,”
“I love the terrain of the Western Cape and there is so
much more to explore.”
While cricket has been his
life and remains his core business, Kirsten said he became interested in
cycling four years ago.
friend asked me if I wanted to ride Wines2Whales with him in 2013 and that was
my first event,” he said.
appeal for me is to ride mountain trails, which I do regularly during the week,
but mostly on my own. I also like to constantly challenge myself.”
Known as a determined and
gritty batsman who could occupy the crease for lengthy periods, Kirsten said he
saw parallels between cycling and cricket.
there is the endurance factor, because they both take a long time to complete.
There is also an element of danger to both, which keeps one alert.”
He added that doing
multi-stage races was high on his bucket list and he looked forward to adding
the TransCape to his resume.
have done the Cape Epic, Wines2Whales and Tankwa Trek and love doing these
sorts of races.”
He will be riding the
TransCape alongside friend Roddy van Breda, managing director of adidas in SA.
They will also compete in next year’s Cape Epic.
While he was a relatively
experienced mountain biker, Kirsten said he still faced a number of challenges.
of them is getting mechanicals, which I am not very good at sorting out.
Focusing on my nutrition is another,” he said.
Kirsten will join other high
profile sportsmen such as ex-Springboks captain John Smit and flyhalf
Joel Stransky who have taken up cycling. Smit is also riding the TransCape next
He said they were trying to
encourage ex-cricketers to take up cycling as an outlet for their energy.
good friend Alan Dawson (former Cape Cobras all-rounder) is one of them. He has
completed two Cape Epics and is one of the first ex-cricketers I have become
aware of taking up the sport seriously.”
Former provincial cricketer
Billy Stelling has also made his mark, winning the solo men’s title in this year’s
TransCape in February.
For more information, visit www.transcapemtb.co.za