One of the last remaining four ‘Lions’ of the Absa Cape Epic Mike Nixon will be back to tackle the Short Horn at this year’s uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge from the Umvoti Toll Plaza to Hilltop Camp in the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve on Saturday, 7 December.
The Cape Town resident is one of the few riders that has completed every Absa Cape Epic since the race’s inception in 2004 and will once again take part in 2020 Epic with one of the few remaining Cape Epic ‘Lionesses’ Hanelee Steyn.
In the build-up to their 2020 Epic the pair has decided to pilot a ride that will take them fifteen days from Stellenbosch to the Eastern Cape border, through the Karoo, and then back to the wineland town via the coast.
“We originally planned to do a Freedom Challenge in reverse and finish in Zinkwazi where we would join the uBhejane,” Nixon said.
“But unfortunately I have to be in Cape Town in the first week of December so we have set up this ride, which we are calling the Southern Cross, which will be around 1800km over the fifteen days starting on 16 November.
“We wanted to do this because there isn’t a ride where you see the best of the Western Cape. This year it will just be us and a Land Rover averaging around 110km each day.”
Nixon’s involvement in the Kingsley Holgate Foundation sees him form part of the expedition team that travels throughout Africa trying to improve the lives of the people in some of the most remote areas of the continent.
The 61 year-old has a strong relationship with the uBhejane Xtreme having taken part in the event in its first year. This year will be the sixth edition of the race and Nixon’ss third as he prepares to take on the 250km Short Horn ride.
“I did the full one in the first year and that was incredibly tough. I missed a year then came back and did the 250km ride, missed last year and will ride my third this year.
“I work a lot with conservation and work closely with Kingsley Holgate and his foundation so it is an event that is close to my heart.
“Conservation is a space that I am also involved with and having events like this make it far easier for us to make a difference,” he added.
Despite Nixon’s impressive build up to the 250km slog along the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, he knows that the uBhejane Xtreme is an event that is always going to be a challenge.
“I have heard that last year they hit quite a severe headwind which makes it that much harder to keep up a consistent speed on the bike.
“Riding 250km is never easy but I know that it will be a great day out for us and it’s fantastic to see how the local community gets involved in supporting the ride.”