It’s ‘Go’ Time for Inspiring #ConquerAsOne Winners at 2019 Absa Cape Epic
When Team 2Big lined up at the start of last year’s Absa Cape Epic no one gave them a chance of actually finishing.
Combined Dawie Theron, 50, and Nelis Coetzee, 46, weighed almost 250kg, with Theron weighing in at 123kg and Nelis at 125kg. But they proved everyone wrong and triumphantly finished at the 2018 Absa Cape Epic at Val de Vie.
Their inspiring journey was enough to make them the joint winners of the Absa #ConquerAsOne competition, along with brothers Cecil and Francois Bosman and they won the right to come back and participate again in 2019.
“We haven’t lost much weight,” Theron says, ‘but we have trained a lot harder because we really don’t want to let our Absa Pride team down.”
The two know that this year’s Absa Cape Epic will include more climbing than last year and they have focussed their training on hills and conquering the technical sections while still employing the successful tactics they used to finish in 2018.
“We made a decision before last year that we would never lose our sense of humour and we would stick together on the route,” Theron explains. ‘On the climbs Nelis always goes ahead and rides at his pace because he is slightly heavier. On the descents I take the lead because Nelis likes me to choose the lines.”
Based in Hermanus, the two are looking forward to lots of home town support during the tough first two stages.
“This event is really emotional for us because we are big guys and we know we are going to suffer,” Theron says. “But if we can inspire just one person to change their life it will be worth it.”
“This event is really emotional for us because we are big guys and we know we are going to suffer.”
As for the Bosmans, they too have had their fair share of challenges leading up to this year’s event.
When Cecil’s wife Sarah fell pregnant just before last year’s Absa Cape Epic, little did the 36-year-old from Knysna know that he’d be juggling a new baby and training for the world’s toughest mountain bike stage race a year later.
“We entered the Absa #ConquerAsOne competition last year because it’s always been a dream of my brother, Francois, and I to do this race. We are both avid cyclists and best friends and we have done a lot of riding together,” Bosman says. “But it’s been tough to balance the training with a 15-month-old baby and a six-year-old in the house.”
“My wife said to me that it seemed as if we had a baby and then I got on a bike and left.”
In 2007 Cecil rode unsupported from Marrakech, Morocco to Knysna – a distance of 18500km – and Francois rode 9000km of the distance with him. They used the trip to raise funds for an Aids Orphanage called HOKISA based in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. But the dream of riding the ABSA Cape Epic was always there and so the two decided to enter the #ConquerAsOne competition during last year’s event.
Cecil, who runs his own retail businesses, often wakes up at 4.30am to fit in three hours of riding before his busy day starts while Francois, 32, also runs his own construction business and has to squeeze his training into life.
“We know (former pro) Kevin Evans and he has been very helpful with his advice,” Cecil says. “He gave us lots of advice but the best was reminding us not to overtrain… which is what happens to a lot of teams who get to the race stale and tired. I think we have got that just right.”
What is Absa #ConquerAsOne?
Absa will once again be recognising and rewarding teamwork and perseverance at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic with the #ConquerAsOne campaign. At each stage of the race, an extraordinary #ConquerAsOne moment will be identified and recognised, where a team showed immense human spirit to overcome their own personal challenges to conquer that stage together.
During this year’s race, a panel of judges will select one #ConquerAsOne moment on each day of the race. The winning pair will be announced in the dining marquee where they will receive a unique #ConquerAsOne jersey to wear proudly during the next day’s stage. At the end of the week, the judges will then select the overall #ConquerAsOne moment, with the winning team walking away with an Absa Pride entry for the 2020 Absa Cape Epic.