Standers unite for Cape Epic

2013-03-14 12:08
Burry Stander (File)
Cape Town - The Standers will tackle the daunting Absa Cape Epic as they have done every challenge that has come their way - as a family.

That was the underlying message when The Fever spoke to the Stander family ahead of the start of the eight-stage mountain bike race on Sunday.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the world’s pre-eminent mountain bike stage race, but for Cherise, Charles, Charl and Duane, the event is about honouring their late husband, son and brother Burry, who tragically passed away in an accident in January.

Burry became the first ever South African to win the Epic when he and Swiss team-mate Christoph Sauser triumphed in 2011 and the decorated duo went on to emulate their feat in 2012 to become back-to-back winners.

Burry’s oldest brother Charl suggested the quartet participate in this year’s race to commemorate Burry and it was unanimously agreed despite them having just two months to prepare.

“Every year we watched Burry when he rode it and he was already training for the Epic, so I thought if he can’t be there he’d enjoy it if we are riding it on his behalf,” said Charl.

The 37-year-old conceded they would have liked more time to train but felt they have done everything they could leading up to Sunday.

“We’ve put in a lot of training, we’ve being going hard but now this week we can’t do too much, so most of it is done. Now it’s basically just resting a little bit and come Sunday it’s time to start,” he said.

Charl said he will be teaming up with his dad Charles with Cherise and Duane forming a partnership.

“They’re a bit younger than us and take it a bit more seriously whereas me and my dad will just be aiming to finish,” he explained. 

With Charles being the only one with prior Epic experience, Charl admitted the nerves were starting to set in.

“Last week I was really excited but I think the realisation set in over the weekend. I’ve started to get a bit nervous now and worrying ‘is the training good enough’ because a lot of people train up to six to eight months, so we’re a little bit cautious.”

Cherise hasn’t done any mountain bike specific training, but as she proved last Sunday, when she finished narrow runner-up in the women’s Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour race, she has the heart and natural ability to conquer the Epic.

“I’m over the moon with my performance, it was very unexpected. It was my 14th Argus and I headed into it just wanting to ride with no expectations. I felt good along the route and I’m ecstatic with the result,” said Cherise.

The Epic route changes every year and it’s believed this year’s race will be the most challenging yet, with the 698km route - which includes 15 650m of climbing from Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West - promising to be the ultimate test of endurance and will power.

Cherise, however, said the mental challenge will supersede the physical challenge.

“Looking at the races I’ve done so far, they’ve been very emotional and the Epic is going to be that much harder. I don’t think you can ever be (mentally) prepared for what we’re going to do. We know it’s going to be a tough, emotional time so we plan to take it day by day.”

Cherise Stander (

Read more on:    cape epic  |  burry stander  |  cape town  |  cycling

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