Riders on the Mooove

2008-03-01 00:00

Cyclists welcomed the cloudy conditions on the second day of the Subaru Sani2c race.

The 5.20 am start meant that riders started cycling through lush forests in darkness.

After sunrise, thick grey clouds of fog and mist hid the breathtakingly beautiful view of the Umkomaas valley and made it difficult for cyclists to find their way through the steep hills.

A race this challenging wouldn’t be complete without a tumble or two and yesterday it was Frik Pienaar who had the misfortune of falling victim to the slopes.

Pienaar took a nasty fall on the steep gradient into the Umkomaas valley, after wowing spectators with a wheelie around a bend. He was attended to by spectators until ER24 emergency vehicles came to rescue him.

Pienaar suffered cuts to his arms and legs and tore ligaments in his right knee. He was taken to a Pietermaritzburg hospital for stitches and possibly an operation.

Nando’s sponsored the cyclists with juicy burgers at one stop, while the boys from Maritzburg College went out of their way to make sure that fatigued cyclists got enough replenishment as quickly as possible.

Like Thursday, the overall winners of the race and men’s race were team-mates Ben Melt Swannepoel and Mannie Heymans in a time of just over three hours. Thursday’s women’s winners Michelle Lombard and Hanli Booyens also won again.

Riders were welcomed at the finish line with refreshments sponsored by Aquellé and USN.

Olympic gold medallist Terrence Parkin and partner Johan Reyneke, who is also world deaf mountain bike champion, had a top 20 finish. Witty race commentator Max Cluer said that these two riders are truly inspiring.

"The race is challenging enough, but imagine cycling deaf, and not hearing the warnings of potholes and injuries, or of steep hills and gravel roads and, despite all of that, still managing to come out amongst the top riders," said Cluer.

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