By FOCUS REPORTER
South African rugby legend and commentator Joel Stransky, famous for his winning drop kick in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, will once again take up the challenge of riding the legendary Absa Cape Epic – a gruelling 707km mountain bike race with 14 550m of climbing.
Stransky played internationally for South Africa on 22 occasions, for the Sharks on 80 occasions, was part of the Western Province team for 55 matches and participated in another 54 matches for the Leicester Tigers.
He will participate in this year’s Absa Cape Epic with team mate Pierre Loubser on behalf of Absa and the JAG Foundation, as well as charity LumoHawk. Says Stransky: “When Absa approached me to be part of their charity celeb team again, I said yes without hesitation. It’s an honour to ride for such a worthy cause. The Jag Foundation aims to empower youngster through sport and education at grass roots level and LumoHawk is aimed at the overall well-being of children. Also, the race is such a human and personal challenge. To conquer something like this is the first step in conquering your own strengths and weaknesses. And of course, I also keep coming back because of the camaraderie of the race.”
Commenting on why he is riding with Pierre Loubser again, Stransky enthusiastically says they make a good team. “He is so strong and drags me along! We also get on very well and we’ve had many good and bad times together. We don’t train together often though – for this race we almost never do.”
Stransky trains three to four times a week at home (indoor training). “I also go for two rides on a weekend, and try to work in a run and swim every week. When it comes to my diet, nothing’s really changed.”
His advice to other participants is simple. “Prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s a very tough, gruelling 8 days. Although the race is very exciting, it will be unbearably tough if you’re not well prepared. I think that’s why I enjoyed last year’s race so much. I didn’t know what to expect, so was very well prepared. It’s also very important to pace yourself. Don’t ride hard early on. The race is 8 days, not one or two, so you can’t ride hard from day one. You need to keep some reserve for the last couple of days.”
He thoroughly enjoyed last year’s event. “Of course there were tough times when I wondered what I was doing there, but then I also had moments that I really took pleasure in. The fact that I’m doing it for the second time speaks for itself and is proof of my enjoyment of the event.”
Stransky offers the following advice to young athletes. “Nothing comes easy and for every extremely talented sportsperson in every sport there are probably 400 more that are just as talented. Understand your inspirations, dream big and strive for that dream. Hard work and dedication are the difference between success and failure, as well as mental toughness – the ability to never give up. You need to accept that everyone experience failures along the way, but they’re only part of the process of succeeding.”
In his free time Stransky enjoys spending time with his family, veterans league soccer, cycling and golf. His goals for this year include completing the Absa Cape Epic, to participate in an Ironman, do more triathlons and spend more time with his kids. In terms of work, he would like the car rental company of which he is Chief Executive to have a wonderfully successful financial year.
From 27 March to 3 April, all eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders vie for position in what is billed to be the most competitive event in the race’s history. Mountain biking enthusiasts not participating in the Absa Cape Epic are invited to enter the Cape Times Vigne-a-Vigne mountain bike race. The race promises participants breathtaking scenery and spectacular mountain biking terrain, and cyclists will be given the opportunity to enter either the 50km or 27km challenges. Interested riders can register online at www.vigne-a-vigne.com.
The Cape Times Lourensford Vineyard Run is a unique trail running race offering a choice of a 6 or 15km route. The Vineyard Run (also on 3 April 2011) will provide participants with beautiful vistas and numerous climbs through the idyllic and picturesque Lourensford Wine Estate. Interested parties can enter online atwww.vineyard.com.
Visit www.cape-epic.com for more details and to see where the riders are online during the race.
Share in the legend!