Skip to content
Three Day Ride
Three Day Ride
2018 uBhejane Xtreme one of the books
9th December 2018
The 2018 edition of the uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge saw riders brave some extreme weather conditions as they rode from Hillcrest to Hilltop Camp over 340km in aid of Project Rhino and anti-poaching efforts on Saturday. Having set off from Hillcrest at 1am on Saturday morning the event is seen as one of the most gruelling mountain bike rides in the province, however the weather made sections of the ride that much more difficult. South African adventurer Sibusiso Vilane took part in the 250km event, which was one of the five events on offer, and the task that he took on became a lot more challenging than he thought it might have, however he understood the importance of what he was doing. “I felt that when I got through the first 40km I had maxed out,” Vilane said. “It made me realise that they don’t call it the uBhejane Xtreme for nothing and it threw absolutely everything it could at us. “The conditions made it so much more tough as there was a big storm on Friday night and there was a lot of mud on the roads. “When it got tough I just reminded myself of why I am doing this and the importance of the cause we are representing. “I just knew that the cause was way bigger than me and it was the motivation that I needed to keep on going,” he added. In more recent times as the plight of rhinos has come to the forefront of conservation in South Africa there are many initiatives that support anti-poaching efforts and Vilane believes that the work of events like the uBhejane Xtreme will see us win the battle against rhino poaching. “These sorts of events not only raise funds for fight against rhino poaching but they also grow awareness of the fight that we are currently in. “It is our duty to make sure that we do all we can to win the fight against the rhino poachers and I genuinely believe that we are starting to turn the tide in the battle. “In my lifetime I hope that I can do all I can do to make a difference in the current fight that we have on our hands,” Vilane added. Former Springbok and Cell C Sharks backline star Joe Pietersen was also involved in the event when he took on the 100km race. Pietersen is heavily involved in rhino conservation through his Nkombe Rhino campaign just outside Hoedspruit in Limpopo province where they protect rhinos from poaching and rolls out a dehorning programme. “We eventually did 109km into Hilltop from Canelands in Empangeni and the last nine kilometres felt like another 109km!” Pietersen said. “We had some great conditions early with some overcast weather and a bit of a tailwind but that quickly turned into a massive storm with thunder and lightning, but it was phenomenal! “It cooled things down a bit and then when we came into Hilltop we had some serious mist but it was an incredible day. Pietersen is encouraged by the growing awareness that events like the uBhejane Xtreme create and believes that the riding community and raising money go hand-in-hand. “We know that the problem is not going away and so we need to do everything we can to try and overcome it. “The riding community in South Africa is massive and I can only see this event growing and becoming more influential. “It’s great to see how different organisations have come together for the same cause and it highlights a big issue that we face in South Africa,” he added. The riders met at the entrance to Hluhluwe by legendary cycling commentary and the ‘Voice of Cycling’ Phil Liggett, who, with a group of riders, joined the field for the ceremonial ride of 35 kilometres to Hilltop camp. The event a had a sombre feeling to it as black arm bands were worn in remembrance for Liggett’s fellow cycling commentator Paul Sherwen who passed away recently....
Expanded uBhejane Xtreme Ultimate MTB challenge gets under way
6th December 2018
The fifth edition of the gruelling Northside uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge formally started in Hillcrest on Thursday morning when the group of hardy men and women started the 140km first stage of the new 340km three-day ride to Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe, braving searing temperatures on their way to the coast. The three day option is a new innovation added to the annual fundraiser for Project Rhino and rhino conservation, designed to make achieving the full distance of the challenge more accessible to rank-and-file riders, overnighting at Zinkwazi and Empangeni. On Saturday the balance of the field will tackle the full 340km ‘Long Horn’ ride, the 250km ‘Short Horn’ ride from the Umvoti Toll Plaza, the ‘Baby Horn’ 100km ride from Empangeni which will also form the last stage of the three day ride, and the 35km ‘Orphan’ ride from the rhino statue at the entrance of Hluhluwe Game Reserve to Hilltop camp. In the group that started the three day ride in Hillcrest on Thursday morning are Olympic medallist Terence Parkin and Dave Duke, who are setting out to ride the first ever 570km Ultimate uBhejane Xtreme, riding the first two stages of the three-day ride before returning to Hillcrest to ride the full 340km one-day uBhejane Xtreme. Deaf ultra-athlete Parkin was brimming with enthusiasm at the challenge, and said the plight of the rhinos being poaches riled him into accepting Dave Duke’s challenge. “Rhino poaching is sadly at a record high, threat of extinction is real,” said Duke. “Our uBhejaneX cycling shirts has a sketch of three Northern White Rhinos. That number has dropped to two now and the breed is functionally extinct, that’s how real it has become. “That is why we are doing this ride. There may be no more of these magnificent beasts left for future generations,” he added. At the start of the three day ride was another long-haul cyclist Ewan Cochran, who is planning to ride the 340km ride on Saturday aiming to take his total distance in training and riding for Project Rhino to 2000km, but he admitted that this lofty goal was being stymied by illness. “I was sick for a few days which kept me off the bike, so it looks like I will finish up about 150km short,” he said. In the 250km field will be iconic adventurer and mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane, who returns for another crack at the tough uBhejane Xtreme outing. Former Sharks, Stormers and Springboks backline star Joe Pietersen will join in the 100km ride on Saturday, showing the passion for rhino conservation that keeps him busy at his Nkombe Rhino project and the Anti Poaching Unit. The riders will be met at the entrance to Hluhluwe by legendary cycling commentary and the ‘Voice of Cycling’ Phil Liggett, who, with a group of riders, will join the field for the ceremonial ride of 35 kilometres to Hilltop camp....
Sibusiso Vilane back for another uBhejane Xtreme MTB challenge
29th November 2018
Iconic South African adventurer Sibuso Vilane has committed to riding the 250km uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching, hoping to end his eventful 2018 on a high note. “It has been a roller coaster year,” said the 48 year old mountaineer, who earlier in the year set out to try and summit Everest without oxygen, to add to his long list of achievements, including summiting the highest mountain on all seven continents. “I was carrying a lung infection and got up to around 8000 metres,” said Vilane. “I have a photo of myself with the peak of Everest in the background just 400 climbing metres away when I decided to turn back. “It is much the same with the uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge. When you feel the pain you use it as a great motivator,” he said. Vilane will be setting off on his third uBhejaneX ride, with both previous experiences etched firmly in his memory. “I arrived to do the 100km ride last year while my head was still in East African time! It was tough, but I spent some great time with Kingsley Holgate and Grant Fowlds of Project Rhino which really helped to motivate me. “The spirit and camaraderie on the rides is amazing. I did the 250km ride the year before and that was really tough for me. But I clearly remember guys like Jeremy Thompson encouraging me and using all their experience to help me. “Jeremy even pushed me up some of the hills. That was nice!” Vilane spends much of his year as a motivational speaker and attracts followers wherever he goes. That is how he ended up with a group of young black mountain bikers from Bethlehem keen to take on the uBhejaneX Challenge. “These guys are up for the challenge and are looking at doing the three day ride this year,” said Vilane. He added that, as long as he could still do it he would commit to doing the uBhejaneX as he is a conservationist at heart, having worked as a game ranger in Swaziland. “The poaching of rhino is something that absolutely appals me!” he said. “And it is not just the rhino but the growing trend of poaching lion and other wild animals is terrible,” he said. Vilane encouraged others looking for a way to contribute towards the fight against rhino poaching to join him on the ride. “It is do-able!” he stressed. “Sometimes we over-think things. Physically you think it is so far and you can’t do it. Yes it is long distance and long hours but mentally you are carried by the spirit of the group. “Don’t think about the extreme part of the event’s name!” he said. “I keep thinking about the Johannesburg lawyer who rode the full ride on basically no training and he did it,” her added. “That inspired me. Anyone can do it and make a difference,” he concluded....
Parkin and Duke target first ever uBhejane Xtreme Ultimate MTB challenge
27th November 2018
As entries start to stack up for the gruelling 340km uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge on Saturday 8 December, Olympic medallist Terence Parkin has upped the ante substantially by targeting the first ever “Ultimate” uBhejane ride of 570km with Durban rider Dave Duke. The pair will start the newly added three day uBhejaneX ride from Hillcrest to Hluhluwe’s Hilltop Camp, and after completing the first two days and 230 kilometres they will return to Hillcrest to join the rest of the riders for the one-day 340km trek to Hluhluwe. Parkin, who is deaf, is no stranger to ultra-distance events, having completed a 902km ride for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation that started cycling in Johannesburg and ended with multiple Midmar Miles and finished with the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in 2018. “I love a challenge!” the Durban based deaf athlete enthused “ The harder the better!” Parkin said that he was passionate about supporting rhino conservation, and said his motivation to take the tough 340km ride and balloon that distance to 570km over three days was his growing outrage at the ongoing rhino poaching. “I hate injustice and cruelty in any form,” he said. “I guess I am stubborn. That’s why I am happy to throw my weight behind the uBhejaneX MTB Challenge and take it to the next level.” Parkin is in great shape as he trains every day, clocking long hours on the bike every week. “It is all training for my next challenge for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, a 1059km journey, cycling from Johannesburg via Afriski to Midmar, then swimming the aQuellé Midmar Mile eight times, then running to Pietermaritzburg and then doing the FNB Dusi!” Parkin was approached by another ultra-distance rider Dave Duke, who has been part of every edition of the uBhejaneX since its inception, and the duo quickly hatched the plan for the first ever uBhejaneX Ultimate ride of 570km. “My wife has signed up for the three day ride, and is feeling pretty nervous about it,” said Duke. “That’s when I decided to look into doing the first two days of the three day ride to support her and then come back to do the full 340km ride. “I needed a wing man. Terence is as mad as I am and he jumped at it,” he added. “He is such a great athlete and a humble gentleman. And he is as tough as nails. So I know what I am in for with him. “It will be quite a week,” he added. “I will be doing the MRP Red Cap ride from Johannesburg, which is over 600 kilometers and then into this Ultimate Rhino Ride of 570km! Actually the road ride is for sissy’s compared to the one day uBhejaneX!” “I am like Terence. The harder the better,” said the 49 year old Kloof resident. “Growing up in KZN, I visited Umfolozi and Hluhluwe many times enjoying the wildlife as it should be – left alone,” says Duke. “Poaching and hunting is something I just cannot fathom. The uBhejaneX dreamt up by Mark Carroll is brilliant. I have ridden this ride four times and it is one helluva day on a bike. “But to finish this and relax at Hluhluwe on the Saturday night with fellow riders and organisers is an absolute treat and one of the highlights of my year,” eh added. The ride has extra significance for Duke as he pays tribute to a friend Neil Taljaardt, who rode the full 340 km ride while battling cancer in 2016. “It was his last ride while he was battling with cancer. He rode strong as ever and then lost his battle in January of 2017. His photo is on the back of the race shirts with the ‘Never ever give up’ slogan,” says Duke....
Big carrot for uBhejane Xtreme MTB challenge riders
21st November 2018
With numbers swelling for the tough uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge rides in support of rhino conservation in early December, participants working hard to attract pledges and donations have been buoyed by a new luxury holiday incentive for the rider that raises the most in donations for Project Rhino. The MTB enthusiast that tops the list of donations secured and paid up during this year’s ride will win a trip for two people to the luxury Amakhala Game Lodge in the Eastern Cape with return airfares from Pentravel and airport transfers, all worth around R20 000. Riders taking part in the five different rides, ranging from the new three-day ride that starts on 6 December to the signature 340km one day ride, and the 250km, 100km and 35km rides on Saturday 8 December are challenged to raise at least R5000 each for Project Rhino. The added incentive prize for the top donation earner will fuel the fundraising efforts over the last few weeks before the ride. Since the first uBhejaneX ride in 2015, over R1 million has been raised for Project Rhino by MTB enthusiasts riding the uBhejaneX, with over R500 000 raised at last year’s ride. Men and women taking part in the rides are being reminded that it is not competitive, and that each group will be led by a ride master who will set a comfortable pace for the entire group, to ensure that every rider can manage the distance to the rhino statue at the entrance to Hluhluwe, and onto Hilltop Camp which marks the end of the ride for every rider. The 7500 hectare Amakhala Game Reserve is an icon destination in the Eastern Cape, successfully rehabilitating land once farmed to its original flora and fauna, and offering visitors sighting of the Big Five, Black Wildebeest, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and numerous other antelope....
Comments are closed