Desert Dash Winners Back for ‘Greatest Challenge’

The FNB Desert Dash takes place for the tenth successive year on Friday, 12 December with FNB Namibia being the title sponsor for the eighth year in a row.

The event will see mountain bike riders leaving Windhoek on Friday afternoon and riding non stop over the Khomas Hochland and through the Namib towards Swakopmund at the coast.

FNB Namibia talked to last year’s winners, Maritza Terblanche and Dion Guy, both from South Africa, about their experience.

Turbinate has won the women’s solo category for the past two years in a row and last year set a winning time of 20 hours, 23 minutes and 56 seconds.

Terblanche said the Desert Dash has been the greatest challenge in her cycling career to date.

“The FNB Desert Dash has definitely been the greatest challenge in my cycling career so far, but I enjoyed every moment of it. My greatest test last year was when I was all by myself at night and my night light died. It was pitch dark and I had to take on the dark sandy road on my gut feeling. I fell about three times and lost a lot of time, but survived the desert darkness and chased to the finish line,” she said.

Dion Guy, who will compete in the Desert Dash for the third year in a row, won the men’s solo category last year in a time of 16 hours 2 minutes and 37 seconds.

About his experience he says:

“The highlight for me is firstly the solitude of the event. A lot of the time you will ride alone, with nothing but the stars above you and it’s not often that you will find yourself rain in these conditions. Secondly, riding at moonlight on the final stage in such a surreal environment and knowing that you are almost at the finish line. I just need to convince the rest of the leading bunch to slow down so we can get there when the sun has risen,” he said.

Regarding possible challenges Guy said that the entire race was a challenge as one had to be fit, your nutrition strategy had to be fine-tuned, you needed a little bit of luck, and most importantly, you had to be mentally prepared.

“It’s a superb country and a very well organised race – this combination makes it a ‘bucket list’ race for any mountain biker,” he said.

Source : The Namibian