With many riders signing up for the various distances of the uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge, returning ambassador Martin Dreyer will once again be taking on the full 340km ride from Cadence High Perfromance Centre in Hillcrest to Hilltop Camps in Hluhluwe on Saturday, 9 December.
With distances varying from 340km to 35km, Dreyer will be joined by his wife Jeannie who will be taking on the full 340km for the first time just five days after she will have completed the gruelling Munga Race from Bloemfontein to Cape Town.
“Jeannie is going to be tired from her Munga ride but she has heard such great things about the event that she didn’t want to miss out this year,” Dreyer said.
“It is such an incredible event and to be riding with like-minded people as well as with a mixed bag of celebrities that share the same passion for wildlife is great.
“We all have a common purpose here and that is what makes the event that much more special.”
Dreyer has been known to tackle some of the most gruelling endurance events which include seven FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon titles, however he understands how tough it can be riding 340km in one day.
“It is definitely not going to be a walk in the park and across the varying distances people are going to struggle.
“With that said I think that it is completely worth it. A little bit of suffering from us can help in ensuring that the rhino is conserved for the future.
“It is critical that we stand up now and a little bit of discomfort for us is completely worth it,” he stressed.
The individual sport of cycling can become quite a selfish pastime with much of the focus being on oneself, Dreyer is excited to be part of a ride that is not about the result or personal gain.
“We often enter races and we are only concerned about how well we can do or the personal gains that we can make so what makes this event that much more special is the it is completely focused towards charity.
“It has got absolutely nothing to do with what we can get out of it, it is about what we can put into it through awareness.
“It is a real privilege to be able to ride through Hluhluwe and it gives us time to appreciate the bush and enjoy the opportunity of trying to make a difference,” Dreyer added.
Dreyer’s life started surrounded by wildlife and he and his wife continue to centre their family activities around being in the bush and amongst nature.
“I grew up on a farm that bordered the Kruger National Park until I was 13 and I have continued to spend a lot of my time outdoors and in the bush.
“We try and make the bush and wildlife as much a part of our family as possible,” he added.
The 2017 uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge will see the return of two of 2016’s ambassadors in the form of ‘the voice of cycling’ Phil Liggett as well as South African explorer and adventurer Sibusiso Vilani.
Amongst those returning in 2017 are sponsors Savuka, the Africa telecommunications infrastructure contractor. CEO Chris Small will provide a helicopter for the event.
Small will be assisted by experienced pilot Etienne Gerber during Ubhejane Ride, who is the ZAPWIng pilot who flies daily aerial surveillance patrols over most of Zululand’s Private and State parks.
The 2017 uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge takes place from Hillcrest to Hluhluwe Game Reserve on Saturday 09 December. Those interested in taking part may apply to enter, donations can be submitted on the website.