Van der Sandt eyes Cape Epic

2011-03-01 11:36

Cape Town - Well-known South African celebrity rider, Thea-Mari van der Sandt, is set to participate in the 2011 Absa Cape Epic.

BLOG: Click to follow Sport24 Absa Cape Epic entrant, Dave Moseley

This year, the eighth edition of the Absa Cape Epic (the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world) takes place from 27 March to 3 April in the Western Cape.

Van der Sandt’s has completed five of the seven summits successfully. “I still need to climb Everest (Asia) and Vinson Massif (Antarctica). The best time to climb Everest is from March until the end of May and it takes 10 weeks on average to climb to the summit. The Vinson Massif climbing season is from November till January, and if I can secure a sponsorship soon, I’ll be on the plane to Antarctica in November.”
She loves the mountains and explains why: “I love spending as much time as possible in them. And of course I would love to complete my goal of climbing all 7 summits. It’s very important to me!  I’ve also discovered other more challenging mountains, of a lower altitude and unknown to the general public, but which tests your capabilities to the utmost!  The 7 summits, however, remain the Olympics of Mountaineering!”
It will be this adventurer’s first Absa Cape Epic. Says Van der Sandt: “Elana Meyer of the JAG Foundation asked me if I would be interested in riding the event for them.  I agreed, but it did put me completely out of my comfort zone, since I didn't even own a bike.  Still, it’s for a wonderful cause and I can’t resist a challenge!”

Van der Sandt will be riding with well-known athlete Hanlie Booyens. “Although mountain biking is new to me, I know how to suffer for a long time, and not give up. We’re also both very competitive, and this will help us keep going when the situation is dire. Our aim is to finish, not to win, but sometimes you need to be competitive just to complete a race - that determination helps you to reach the finish line!”

For each stage they complete, Absa will donate a certain amount of money to the JAG Foundation.  “Hanlie and I will also be hosting a fundraising evening for the JAG Foundation in March.  We’re still in the process of finalising the details.”