Team Absa Wrap Up
After months of training and eight days of untamed mountain bike stage racing in the Western Cape, Team Absa finally crossed the finishing line of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic at Lourensford with much jubilation on 1 April 2012.
All five rider pairs in the team finished the race strongly and in good spirits. Barring the customary scrapes and bruises, there were no serious injuries.
“It has been wonderful to compete in the Absa colours again this year,” says South African rugby hero Joel Stransky. “But this was definitely the most difficult Absa Cape Epic so far,” he says of his third finish.
Mountain bike “rookie”, Elana Meyer, proved that she can indeed do anything she puts her mind to and was a great inspiration to fans and riders alike. The former middle distance runner and Olympic silver medallist only learnt how to ride a bike for the first time in October 2011, and this was her first mountain bike race ever. “It was really tough out there!” she recalls. “I had a scary fall in Robertson where I bruised my leg, got a blue eye and needed stitches in my arm. The race was a fight all the way to the end, but the support from my Absa teammates, my fans, the JAG Foundation and my riding partner Ernst Viljoen, kept me motivated to get up every morning and get through each stage.”
Ernst Viljoen and Elana Meyer of Team Absa
“I am happy and relieved, and feel very privileged to be able to finish the Absa Cape Epic as a mountain bike rookie,” she said as she crossed the finishing line on the final day.
Model and actress, Vanessa Haywood, says: “The feeling of finally finishing the race hasn’t quite sunk in as yet! I think it will be reality when I don’t have to wake up early to train anymore,” she laughs.
Vanessa Haywood and Joel Stransky of Team Absa
The team successfully reached their cumulative total amount of R 91,000.00 for charity. This is also the first year that all Team Absa riders have finished the Absa Cape Epic.
“Each day had its own challenges,” comments Team Absa manager and four-time Absa Cape Epic finisher, Ernst Viljoen. “It is a great achievement to have everyone finish this year. The team trained hard and supported each other throughout. There was a great camaraderie amongst the riders and it was a privilege for me to guide the team again this year.”
“Absa is very proud to have been part of yet another successful Absa Cape Epic, thisbeing our seventh consecutive year of partnering with the event. We were confident that Team Absa 2012 would represent us well on the course and they did not disappoint us. The team persevered through the extreme weather conditions and mechanical troubles and their mental strength was something to be admired,” says Steward Masela, Absa Sponsorship Manager.