Absa #ConquerAsOne Moment – Cape Epic Stage 6
When you weigh 115kg but have finished seven Absa Cape Epics there is little doubt that you have learnt how to finish the world’s toughest mountain bike race.
Former Springbok, and member of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winning squad, 48-year-old Marius Hurter has become a legend at the event for his ability to do just enough to finish the tough stages inside the cut-off time and has finished the gruelling event seven times.
Riders at the back of the field have begun to realise Hurter’s abilities and a bus of riders – similar to the autobus that is a feature of Grand Tours like the Tour de France – have started congregating during the long stages around Hurter to ensure they finish.
Hurter is often seen pushing riders from other teams up climbs but on Stage 1 it was his partner, former Proteas netball player Adele Niemand, that had to push and pull the big former Springbok lock over the last 15km after the freebody on his rear hub broke.
The two have become firm favourites with the race motivating riders on the route and always finishing each of the stages with broad smiles on their faces.
On Saturday Hurter and Niemand cut their finish worryingly close on Stage 7 and just made the cut-off by a whisker. They finishing the hot 89km stage in 8 hours 24 minutes making the cut-off by six minutes.
Hurter admits to hating cycling during his rugby playing days but when he saw fellow former Springboks participating took on the challenge. ‘The Hurternator’ has now become a part become part of the folklore of the event.