Blind riders excited to conquer the Monster

Two eager mountain bikers, Dan Manders and Morne Swanepoel will not allow their competitive spirit to be dampened by their inability to see.  A true inspiration, both riders will attempt to conquer the revered 70km FNB Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic on Saturday, 03 June 2017.  Seen here (front left) Theo Coetzee, (back left) Dan Manders, (front right) Cecile Coetzee and (back right) Morne Swanepoel at the 35km FNB Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic in 2016.  Photo Credit:  Jetline Action Photo

Two eager mountain bikers, Dan Manders and Morne Swanepoel will not allow their competitive spirit to be dampened by their inability to see. A true inspiration, both riders will attempt to conquer the revered 70km FNB Magalies Monster
Mountain Bike Classic on Saturday, 03 June 2017. Seen here (front left) Theo Coetzee, (back left) Dan Manders, (front right) Cecile Coetzee and (back right) Morne Swanepoel at the 35km FNB Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic in 2016.
Photo Credit: Jetline Action Photo

North West Province – Two eager mountain bikers, Dan Manders and Morne Swanepoel will not allow their competitive spirit to be dampened by their inability to see. A true inspiration, both riders will attempt to conquer the revered 70km FNB Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic on Saturday, 03 June 2017.

Manders and Swanepoel met in Worcester at a school for the blind. Manders was born blind, while Swanepoel lost his sight at the age of three due to glaucoma. Both riders first started road cycling before switching to mountain biking.

“I started mountain biking with a friend, Theo Coetzee, about three years ago,” says Manders. “I love every minute. I love challenges, the unknown factor. You don’t know what is waiting beyond the next turn. The adrenalin really starts to flow when you hit the downhill. My first Monster was my second or third race when Theo and I first started mountain biking. Together it took us about seven hours to finish the 70km route. I’d like to see how we have improved. I’m really looking forward to the long downhill after the Monster climb. I cannot describe what it feels like to hear the cheers when you cross the finish line.”

Manders will once again attempt to conquer the Monster with his good friend Theo Coetzee. “It took me about ten years to convince Dan to mountain bike. Now he doesn’t want to do anything else,” laughs Coetzee. “The Monster is challenging and the area in which it takes place is amazing. These are two very good reasons to enter. The route is definitely more challenging when riding on a tandem mountain bike. There are a lot of sharp turns. Dan and I need to communicate the whole time when it comes to turns and low hanging branches. Due to the speed that we ride the blind rider has to be on edge the entire time. Our goal is to finish the race while enjoying the different sounds and smells on route.” 

Morne Swanepoel will take on the Monster with friend and work colleague, Marius Van Lill.

According to Swanepoel, he’s been involved in tandem road cycling for several years. “Marius was a solo road cyclist. We started riding tandem road races together. One morning on our way to work the topic of mountain bike tandem racing was discussed. The rest is history.”

“For blind riders, training is not an easy task as we can’t just jump on a bike and hit the road or go to a gym,” continues Swanepoel. “Spinning at home makes up most of my training. When it comes to maintenance, the tandem bicycles seem to take a bit more punishment than the solo bikes out on route. None the less we are extremely excited to take part in the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic. We entered the Monster for the mere fact that we both would like to be able to say ‘I conquered the Monster’.”

EVENT INFORMATION: FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic

The FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic is ideal for all mountain bikers. Entrants can choose between a 15km Fun Ride, the 35km ‘Half Monster’ and the 70km ‘Monster’.

Date: Saturday, 03 June 2017
Venue (start & finish): ATKV, Buffelspoort
Distance, cost & start: 70km / R350 / 08h00
  35km / R250 / 09h00
  15km /  R150 / 09h30
CSA Temporary License R35

One lucky mountain biker will take home a whopping R35 000 Specialized voucher after completing the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic. The voucher can be used for any product available from a Specialized retailer. The lucky draw will take place on Saturday after the race. The winner has to be present to redeem his/her prize.

Entrants that are looking for another challenge can sign up for the FNB Platinum Trail Run that will take place at the same venue the very next day.

EVENT INFORMATION: FNB Platinum Trail Run

The FNB Platinum Trail Run has three stunning routes to choose from: a challenging 24km race, a shorter challenge of 12km and a less challenging 8km route.

Date: Sunday, 04 June 2017
Venue (start & finish): ATKV Buffelspoort
Distances, cost & start: 24km /R300 / 07:30
  12km /R200 /07:45
  8km / R120 /08:00

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For more information on the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic or FNB Platinum Trail Run contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045, email entries@stillwatersports.com or visit www.stillwatersports.com.

FNB Business and FNB Private Wealth are proud to be the title sponsor of the annual Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic and Platinum Trail Run.

This sponsorship forms part of FNB’s ongoing strategy to support local and community events that focus on a healthy lifestyle and family involvement. This sponsorship affirms our dedication to providing an experience that is beyond expectation, for both our clients and their families in order to continue building enduring, rewarding relationships. Both the Magalies Monster MTB Classic and the Platinum Trail Run are designed to provide an enjoyable outdoors family experience. This platform allows us the opportunity to engage with our clients, non-clients and the broader community with the aim of creating lasting connections.