Qhubeka is proud to introduce our first team of fundraisers riding the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic for us – Annie and Geoff David.
The Davids have been married for 10 years and have two sons, Luke (5) and Daniel (3). They are keen mountainbikers and have been riding for about five years now. Annie enjoys cross country Olympic racing (XCO) and is the reigning Gauteng champion in her age category, while Geoff jokes that he just rides around. The couple has completed numerous cycling stage races together, including The Cape Pioneer Trek, 3 Towers and The Panorama Tour, and is looking forward to riding the Cape Epic as a team.
Geoff has ridden one Cape Epic before, with a school friend, and says it was his positive experience that has encouraged Annie to complete the race too. They are excited to be riding for Qhubeka together.
“We have been aware of the work Qhubeka has been doing for some time,” says Annie. “The tie-up with the pro-continental MTN-Qhubeka team has obviously really got the Qhubeka brand out there, especially to people who have an interest in international cycling. When I heard about the possibility of getting to ride the Epic and representing Qhubeka, it was a no-brainer for us: we could fulfill an ambition as well as promoting an excellent organisation at the same time.”
Geoff has a helicopter pilot’s licence and enjoys flying in his spare time, while Annie loves to bake, but the couple did not have the most restful year-end holiday period in December as they spent most of their time training.
“We have been racking up the ‘base miles’ by doing long rides most days,” says Annie. “The prospect of eight days of riding a course designed by someone nicknamed ‘Dr Evil’ really helps with motivation at 4am in the morning! We are happy with our preparation to this point, but still have a lot to do with under 10 weeks to race day. We ride four days a week at an ungodly hour every morning, and then try to do two long rides on the weekend.”
Annie and Geoff say their first goal is to finish the race, but Geoff knows that his wife would also like to place well in the GC for mixed teams. “Unfortunately for her, when the pace gets a bit hot, I tend to run out of talent quite quickly,” he laughs.
“Annie and I are fortunate that we get on really well when we ride together. We always joke and say that the only time we don’t fight is when we’re on the bike – and it’s actually true! She usually lets her legs do the talking and I just keep quiet and suffer. That arrangement seems to work quite well.”
Annie notes that the Cape Epic, dubbed the Tour de France of MTB events is unlike any other MTB race in the world. “On race day the atmosphere is electric. With the amount of preparation that all the riders have put in, everyone is just bristling to get stuck in,” she says. “Added to this, the fact that just about every second rider has world class palmarès (a cycling term for a list of races a rider has won) makes it quite intimidating. What also makes the event special is the fact that Joe Soap can rub shoulders and race the stages along with the world’s best riders. Imagine being able to do the Tour de France along with all the pro-riders!”
Qhubeka Director, Anthony Fitzhenry, says that Qhubeka is thrilled to welcome Annie and Geoff as its first 2014 ABSA Cape Epic team. “We wish them all the best with their race preparation and we thank them for choosing to help to raise awareness and funds for Qhubeka through their ride,” he says. “We are very moved when people are prepared to spend eight days riding what’s arguably the toughest MTB race in the world for us, to help us mobilise more people with bicycles. It truly is something special.”
Geoff is enthusiastic about the opportunities that the Cape Epic presents for generating exposure for Qhubeka. “It is apparently the most televised MTB race in the world, with more than half of the competitors being international riders,” he says. “It only makes sense for an organisation that has the bicycle as the centre of its mission to be at the Epic.”