Sabie’s Qhubeka Peleton
From ‘downhill to uphill’ team time-trials, the aim of the York Timbers Enduro is to reward the team with the best overall skill-set.
Five years ago an email arrived in my inbox inviting me to the inaugural York Timbers Enduro in Sabie, Mpumalanga. The event promised a unique mountain biking experience, where professional riders would be paired with corporate teams who would compete against each other in a variety of different events. Intrigued by this fresh idea, I immediately replied in the affirmative!
Last weekend marked the event’s 5th edition and wow, what an amazing experience it was. Over the years, the York Timber’s organising team have listened carefully to rider feedback – making relevant tweaks to the format and routes – to ensure the tracks are manageable for technically nervous riders while at the same time exhilarating for DH supremos Stephan Garlicki and Johann Potgieter, as well as XCO weapons like Alan Hatherly – all three having recently returned from representing South Africa at the 2017 UCI World Championships in Cairns, Australia.
On each and every occasion, York Timber’s staff have willingly embraced the event, manning their water tables with enthusiasm that simply cannot be faked. We even had soft serve ice-cream on Day 1 at the top of a 7km climb!
Having attended all 5 York Timbers Enduros, it is awesome to see how camaraderie and teamwork, within and between teams, remains central to the ethos of the event. It once again proves how mountain biking (and sport in general) has the ability to bring together people from various spheres of life.
Ultimately though, in my opinion, the most important element of the York Timbers Enduro is the economic stimulus it gives Sabie. To add to that, the almost 1000 Qhubeka bikes York Timbers have distributed to their staff and local teenagers over the 5 years is outstanding – this, through a partnership program that ensures sustainability, where all recipients have either contributed to the cost of their bike or committed at least 40 hours of community service.
Qhubeka in Zulu/Xhosa means ‘progress or advance’, which perfectly captures the initiative’s objective.
While I look forward to participating each year, the highlight for me is witnessing the pride and excitement with which recipients accept their Buffalo bikes – it is truly humbling to be part of the handover.
Through the annual Enduro, York Timbers are not only providing a spectacular weekend of mountain biking for their clients, but in fact leaving a legacy in Sabie that will last for a very long time.
‘Heke’ York Timbers! Ndiyavuya kakhulu ukuba niyaqhubeka.
Oliver Munnik is a former professional mountain biker. Pinner by trade, he travels the world testing the latest and greatest cycling products as Bicycling’s Gear Editor.