Stellenbosch’s Sipho Madolo from the Songo.info programme will use the experience he gained from the world’s most gruelling eight-day mountain bike stage race when he tackles the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series – which plays host to the 2016 South African Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Clarens – from 16-17 April.
After recently completing the Absa Cape Epic with the legendary Swiss mountain bike specialist Christoph Sauser, Madolo says that the experience of racing with Sauser at the Epic is something that cannot be matched.
“I think it was a highlight of my racing career,” said Madolo. “I learnt how to eat, drink, save time at the feed zone, position myself the entire time during the race and most importantly, have fun. Racing with a legend like Sauser was a learning process and growing experience so it actually gave me more motivation for marathon racing even though I will still stick to the cross-country, as I feel like that’s where you can improve your skills, intensity and power for marathon racing.”
The 25-year-old joined Songo.info towards the end of 2009 at the age of 18 with his main motivation to lose weight. “I noticed however, that he was more committed than the other guys,” said Songo Fipaza, founder of the Songo.info programme. “He was so committed to his training. We would train seven days of running and seven days of cycling, and so on, and if I wasn't around or if I had to go out, then some of the guys would take a chance and skip training, but not Sipho.
“I could see his commitment and dedication to getting fit and chose him to be my partner for the 2010 Cape Epic. He hasn't looked back. And now with Susi transferring knowledge and mentoring him during this year’s Epic, he is going from strength to strength. His goal is to wear the African jersey and to also win the Epic one day.”
Even though Madolo has a strong focus on cross-country racing, he will still be racing in the SA MTB Marathon Champs in Clarens this April after skipping a year. “I am really looking forward to it!” he said.
While the 2016 SA National MTB Marathon Championships is targeted at the Elite Men (Ultra Marathon) Elite Women (Marathon) and Junior and Youth Men and Women (Half Marathon) for National Championship status, the race event is the third round of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, which caters for all age groups and fitness abilities.
Not only does the picturesque Free State village boast exquisitely breath-taking mountain views, but also offers a range of activities such as golf, horse riding and hiking, a selection of coffee shops, cafes, art galleries and pubs. The event also offers child minding facilities, hospitality, bike wash and complete medical centre with a doctor on site.
For more information and to enter, visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-mtb-marathon-champs/.