The uBhejane Xtreme Mountain Bike Challenge from Hillcrest to Hilltop Camp, Hluhluwe in the height of KwaZulu-Natal’s summer and with a 16 hour cut-off time is arguably the toughest one-day MTB rides in South Africa!
Having started in 2014, Saturday 10 December 2016 signals the third edition of the social yet grueling event whereby no fewer than 50 participants will join world renowned cycling, environmental and humanitarian personalities, Phil Liggett, Sibusiso Vilane and Kingsley Holgate for this year’s trek.
Starting at 02h00, the 340km Long Horn remains the ultimate endurance test while the ‘easier’ 240km Short Horn event offers a more fun ride that takes place at a more manageable pace but still remains a tough challenge not to be sniffed at.
The uBhejane Xtreme is a self-funded ride that does not have an entry but does require participants to cover their own expenses as well as raise a minimum of R5000 to be donated to rhino conservation in the province.
Over R170 000 was raised in 2015 and over R250 000 in total over the past two years with all funds raised donated to the event’s official beneficiary, Project Rhino KZN to be used for their various rhino protection programmes such as maintaining the aerial support of the Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing (ZAP-Wing) to 26 game reserves in northern KZN, providing urgently needed anti-poaching training and other resources to field rangers and game reserves, and community-based education and awareness initiatives targeting primarily youth.
Support vehicles, courtesy of Land Rover, will be on hand to provide assistance to riders throughout both the Long and Short Horn events however in order to ensure the group makes camp by daylight – and limit the risk of being eaten by a wild animal – stops are limited.
Upon completion of the uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge, all participants spend the night at the magnificent Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe Game Reserve where they will enjoy a delicious dinner and a rare opportunity to listen to the renowned Kingsley Holgate before experiencing the uniqueness of waking up and enjoying breakfast in the spectacular African bushveld.
All in all this is a difficult yet hugely rewarding cycling challenge, for a fantastic cause and that you will struggle to forget any time soon!