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Cyclist aims for ‘ultimate’

A passionate cyclist from Thabong is already practicing for this year’s gruelling Munga Mountain Bike Race at the end of November.

Esau Mashabela (29) has been cycling for the last 11 years and have a huge passion for the sport.

Mashabela aims to do his best every year and pushes himself to the extreme.

He was inspired by his employer Eugene Naudé who planted the seed of cycling with him. Two other cyclists who motivate him are Dougie Leech and Cordel Buys.

Mashabela participates in most of the mountain bike races across the country, but the Munga Mountain Bike Race is the ultimate he is working towards.

Last year he was invited to the Munga. It is 1 000 km of exhaustive riding from Bloemfontein to Wellington.

Cyclists have only five days to finish.

With no obligation to eat or sleep during the race, it can get tough. This race is known as the toughest cycling race in the world.

“We started the race on 28 November in the extreme heat of the South African summer and the route took us through the dry Karoo areas such as Britstown and Loxton,” says Mashabela.

With little sleep – maybe two to three hours a day – Mashabela had a battle to see the end of the race.

“It was a very hard race with body pains, a bleeding nose and torn ligaments.

“But this motivated me to practice harder and to finish the race this year after I couldn’t succeed last year,” says Mashabela.

He was supposed to participate in the gruelling Imperani MTB Cycling Challenge in Ficksburg on 25 May, but due to unforeseen circumstances it was unfortunately not possible.

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