Several Maties cyclists recently conquered the ABSA Cape Epic stage race.
Club chairperson Nicky Giliomee, a master's student in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), completed her second Cape Epic tour.
Her partner for the gruelling stage race was Hannele Steyn, the only woman to complete all 14 Cape Epic tours.
"It was an amazing experience to ride with Hannele. We haven't raced together before and we were both very uncertain about what to expect. My goal was to help Hannele complete her 14th Epic and we rode very carefully and conservatively.
"It was very special and a real privilege to spend eight days riding alongside Hannele. She is a role model and I feel honoured to have been her partner," said Nicky.
The team finished 12th in the women's category in a cumulative time of 38 hours 44 minutes 27 seconds.
Mariske Strauss and Vera Adrian, who both graduated from Stellenbosch University in the 2016 academic year, also participated in the 2017 Cape Epic.
Strauss and her partner Annie Last from the UK came second in the women's category (in a cumulative time of 32 hours 15 minutes three seconds), while Namibian road-cyclist Vera and her partner Candice Lill from South Africa came sixth (in a cumulative time of 33 hours and 15 minutes).
After the race, BSc Sport Science graduate Mariske sent a special message to all Maties, thanking them for their support.
"It was great seeing you along the route," she said. "My blood will always be maroon – once a Matie, always a Matie!"
The Cape Epic wasn't an all-female affair – Maties cyclist CP van Wyk and his partner CP Esterhuyse finished in 36th place in the men's category and was the 12th all South African team to cross the line. Their cumulative time was 32 hours 38 minutes 38 seconds.
"It was a hectic experience – there were many highs and lows. It became more and more difficult to get up and prepare for each new day," said Van Wyk.
"But we were rewarded with the most amazing routes and vistas that made everything worthwhile, and the support along the way and the wonderful atmosphere would convince me to do it again."
Nicky Giliomee and Hannele Steyn in action during the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race. Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS