Gutsy trio to ‘Everest’ Sani Pass for Nepalese victims

RMB Change a Life MTB Academy' founder and renowned adventurer Martin Dreyer (back) and his wife Jeannie Dreyer (foreground) will team up with their MTB friend Kevin Benkenstein (not pictured)  to attempt to 'Everest' Sani Pass in KZN's Southern Drakensberg by summiting the renowned pass no fewer than ten times consecutively. Darren Goddard/Gameplan media

RMB Change a Life MTB Academy’ founder and renowned adventurer Martin Dreyer (back) and his wife Jeannie Dreyer (foreground) will team up with their MTB friend Kevin Benkenstein (not pictured) to attempt to ‘Everest’ Sani Pass in KZN’s Southern Drakensberg by summiting the renowned pass no fewer than ten times consecutively. Darren Goddard/Gameplan media

Underberg – Extreme adventurers Martin Dreyer and his wife Jeannie are about to start one of their most daunting challenges yet as they join a worldwide effort to raise funds for the victims of the earthquakes in Nepal in April by mountain biking up and down Sani Pass in KwaZulu-Natal’s Southern Drakensberg ten times this weekend.

Martin Dreyer, a seven times Dusi Canoe Marathon winner and former G4 Challenge champion, and his equally athletic wife Jeannie will team up with good friend and fellow mountain biking enthusiast Kevin Benkenstein to ‘Everest’ the renowned pass until they have climbed the height of the world’s highest peak.

“’Everesting’ is a global concept where you do hill repeats on a chosen hill until you have climbed the equivalent height of Mount Everest – 8848 vertical meters,” explains the ‘Dusi Duke Martin Dreyer’.

“You choose a charity to raise funds for through this challenge however, globally, anyone ‘Everesting’ in June will raise funds to shelter the victims of the Nepal disaster.

“19 000 people were injured and nearly 9 000 people have lost their lives in this tragedy and so Hells 500 have set the massive goal of raising one million US dollars in June to help alleviate the pain and suffering caused by the terrible earthquake.

“When Kevin (Benkenstein) approached Jeannie (Dreyer) and I to get involved, we jumped at it both because it’s such a great initiative and because we are passionate about extreme endurance events such as this,” he adds.

The enormous volume of vertical meters that lie ahead of the trio is daunting enough however they will also have the demands of the treacherous switch back descents to deal with as well.

Add to that the possibility of snow falling in the region on Saturday as well as the chance of having to spend the night on Sani Pass, the challenge seems mind-blowing for most.

“We’ll be starting at sunrise on Saturday when the SA border post opens at 6am, riding all day and into the night – where temperatures will drop well below zero.”

“The border post gates shut again at 6pm though and so with us expecting to only finish around 2am, we will then have to sleep on the mountain for a few hours before we can go have a hot shower. How exciting is that!” Says a smiling Dreyer. “That angle just adds to our adventure!”

Despite the size of the task, the trio is looking forward to the challenge and hope their efforts will resonate with many others.

“We know it will be tough but we’re ready to give it our best shot!” confirms the founder of the RMB Change a Life MTB Academy. “ It is likely to be a 20 hour long sufferfest of epic happiness!”

“The dirt road of Sani Pass is a pretty gnarly mountain however we feel it’s pretty apt for the challenge of raising awareness for the Nepal earth quake victims, thousands of whom having a more daunting challenge ahead”.

“Hopefully others will be able to relate to the size of the challenge we have set ourselves and be inspired to donate $20, $50 or whatever amount they can to our cause and help us reach our goal of contributing $5000 to the Nepal victims!

“Deciding beforehand that giving up is not an option, does simplify things! However the more people donate, the more we are obligated to finish and so we really hope others support our efforts!” he adds.

For Jeannie – a renowned competitor herself and KwaZulu-Natal’s leading female MTB marathoner – the task’s importance goes beyond the obvious.

“I’m so excited to be adding a little love to the lives of others by riding my bike this weekend!” she says.

“Our pain is our choice and it will be short-lived!

“Please throw in your bundle of love too and help to provide a roof for the Nepalese earthquake victim,” urged the USN/Hi-Tec rider.

The Dreyers finished third in the mixed team category of the recent BSi Steel dusi2c stage race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and Martin believes riding together there and in the countless other MTB challenges together, stands them in good stead ahead of this weekend’s assignment.

“We just absolutely love being out on our bikes together and this past weekend’s dusi2c was another great opportunity for us to have done just that,” says Martin.

“Jeannie and I get along fantastically and know each other inside out which I’m sure will be hugely important again this weekend!

“This is unchartered territory for both of us, which makes the challenge even more challenging but we all just cannot wait to give it a go! Kevin is the most pedigreed biker of us and is super relaxed. I think the three of us will add value in different ways, definitely creating a synergy where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”

Those who relate to the hardship of the trio’s challenge of “Everesting” Sani Pass and, through which, engage with supporting the Nepal earthquake victims, can do so by making a pledge at https://www.morethansport.org/team/hells-500/everesting-sani-pass  while more information on ‘Everesting’ and Hells 500 can be found at www.everesting.cc  and www.hells500.com  respectively.