Kombo Bere (left) and Daan Terblanche of Louis Trichardt have their hearts set on being the first development team from Louis Trichardt to take part in the gruelling Cape Epic mountain bike race in March. Although the ABSA Cape Epic Development Programme took care of their R145,000 entry fee, they still need urgent financial support for travelling and accommodation. Photo supplied.
Date: 02 February 2024 By: Andries van Zyl
History will be made during this year's gruelling Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race when the Soutpansberg’s first-ever development team will compete under the banner of Soutpansberg Youth Cycling Development (SYCD). This, however, depends on whether first-time Cape Epic cyclists Kombo Bere (26) and Daan Terblanche (23) can secure enough funding.
The Cape Epic will take place from 17 to 24 March this year. At this stage, Kombo and Daan have already overcome their biggest financial hurdle – getting the entry fee sorted out.
“It’s been my dream since I started cycling, and we have spoken about doing it together on numerous occasions during training. So we finally reached out to the development programme of the ABSA Cape Epic, and they confirmed that they could give us a development entry for the team,” said Daan in an interview last week.
“It has also always been a dream of mine to do the Epic. I experienced a bit of professional cycling in 2019, but I never had the opportunity to do the Epic. Then Daan approached me,” said Kombo.
Kombo confirms they applied for the development category. “We applied mid-last year, and they confirmed last week,” said Daan.
“Anyone can enter. You just need to meet the financial criteria,” said Kombo. The criteria he referred to was the R145,000 entry fee. “They have invoiced us zero,” said Kombo, highlighting their selection and invitation to compete as a development team.
Kombo and Daan are not the first cyclists from Louis Trichardt to take on the gruelling Cape Epic, but they are the first development team. “We’ve been training together since 2019,” said Daan. However, they have not been training specifically for the Cape Epic. “We’ve done the Magoebas Trek, the only stage race in Limpopo, twice together, but we’ve never done anything longer or bigger than that together,” said Kombo.
So, they have their work cut out for them! The race is just around the corner, and currently, they are busy with final preparations. They follow different training programmes, based on their respective abilities, but during the race, they must finish within two minutes of each other.
Daan explained that a typical training week involves spending 16 to 20 hours in the saddle cycling. “Some rides are easier, and some are more difficult with interval training. We mostly climb in the mountains with more than 1,500 metres of elevation per day. On a long day, we aim for more than 2,400 metres of climbing,” said Daan. He added that the crucial factor was not distance, but the ability to climb. During training, they cover, on average, between 50 to 70km, with one rest day per week.
And being able to climb is essential for the two, considering the Cape Epic stretches over 684km over eight days, with a total elevation of 16,800 metres. To put that into perspective, Daan and Kombo will “summit” Mount Everest twice during the eight days.
Daan and Kombo plan to continue with their training until a week before the race, when they will start to taper the intensity. “They call it your taper week,” said Daan.
Although their entry was free, getting there and back is not, nor is their accommodation before and after the race, including meals, covered. Their entry only includes sleeping arrangements and meals during the race.
“We are very enthusiastic, but it comes at a price. This is our biggest headache. We really do need to raise some money. We’ve been appealing to some of the contacts we know, as we run a bike shop in town. Although the response has been positive, we still do not have enough,” said Kombo. Having said this, Kombo and Daan thanked all who have already supported their cause.
Sponsorship can also be in the form of accommodation for the day before and after the race in Cape Town. One of their immediate concerns is paying for their flight tickets, with their bikes, to Cape Town. They have booked them but still need to pay. “We only received our invite last week, and the timeframe is very limited,” said Daan.
Persons wishing to help the duo out and get Soutpansberg Youth Cycling Development represented at this year's Cape Epic can phone Stanley Thompson at Tel: 082 493 3897.
“Most importantly, we would like to thank the Lord for opening these doors for us. It is not every day that an opportunity like this comes around!” said the duo.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.