Dash upon us

Cyclists are ready and geared up for the most gruelling cycling event of the year, attracting riders from as far as France.

03 December 2018 | Sports

Yolanda Nel - The Nedbank Desert Dash is mere days away and cyclists are busy mentally preparing themselves for what is to come.

One cyclist, Binette Klein, will take on her first Dash next weekend. “I am confronted by many emotions; being nervous, scared, uncertain, but also very excited,” she told Windhoek Express. She will be participating in a 4-person team.

After experiencing the atmosphere as a spectator during last year's race, Binette decided to start practising in January. “I want to be part of this amazing journey through the oldest desert,” she said. She cheered on her brother-in-law during his race last year and will be cycling with him this year.

“I want to cross the finish line en know that all the hard work and sweat on the bicycle this year, was worth it.”

The gruelling 369km race starts on Friday at 15:00 and sees close to a thousand cyclists vie to cross the finish line within 24 hours.

Just over 620 entrants are Namibians, while around 310 are South African. Germany accounts for 44 riders, while ten are Brits. This year's race also sees participants coming to our country from as far as Austria, Canada, the USA, Luxemburg and France.

The oldest contestant is 80-year old Bill Jooste. He will participate in his eighth Desert Dash and hopes to finish in the alotted time this year.

Three participants are in their 70s, riding shoulder to shoulder and 41 cyclists are in their 60s. The biggest age-group of participants is cyclists in their 40s, while 27 of this year's Dashers are still in their teenage years.

The route consists of six stages, with solo riders having to complete all the stages.

The 2-person teams will have to complete stage 1 and 6 together, while one cyclist completes stages 2 and 3 and the other stages 4 and 5.

For the 4-person team, stage 1 and 6 are done by the full team, whereafter each team member then has one stage to complete.

Stage 1 is a 32km stretch, followed by 67km in stage 2 and 76km in stage 3. Stage 4 and stage 5 are both 74km, whilst the last stage is 46km.

The Dash starts at the Grove Mall of Namibia at 15:00 and the end destination is the Platz am Meer in Swakopmund at 15:00 the next day, followed by the prize-giving.





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