06 December 2016 – One of the most gruelling cycle races in the world, the Nedbank Desert Dash starts this coming Friday, 09 December at 16:00 when the individual riders leave first from the Grove Mall in Windhoek.
The race covers 369 km and continue for the next 24 hours through the night and the next day. The most difficult stretch is the first 110 km through the Khomas Hochland due to the mountainous terrain. On the western side of the Khomas Hochland the going gets easier as it is mostly downhill but there are still a number of steep rises. The final 140 km is through the desert where it is mostly level cycling. However, this part is done during the day and is exhausting especially to the individual riders who by then have completed 220 km of gravel road.
Four veteran riders from FNB have entered as a team hoping to repeat their string of successes in other cross-country races.
Stefan Bohlke, Eleanor Grassow, Hans du Toit and Ian Grassow said this week they are ready for action. They participate in the 4-rider mixed team category as the FNB Veterans. The four won their category in the Othjihavera race earlier this year.
The team of FNB Veterans who won this category last year is made up of very good seasoned riders. Riders Ian Grassow and Hans du Toit dominated the Hollard MTB series in the very competitive Veteran section and Stefan Bohlke is a multiple National Champion in his age category of the Master Men. Elenor Grassow, also a winner of multiple races this year, is the only team’s only female rider.
The FNB Veterans are support by their employer, FNB Namibia. The bank’s Head Private Clients, Elize Smith, said “We are proud to be able to support this winning team and are confident, that they will achieve podium placement. They were top in the Veterans category at Otjihavera and we know we are part of a victorious team. Sports development and support is one of our main focus areas of the FNB Namibia Foundation Holdings Trust and we have added our weight to this category. Sport is unifying and plays a role in creating a happy and healthy nation – something that we all should strive for.”
On Friday afternoon, 184 individual male riders depart first, followed by 20 individual female riders. Almost 150 teams have entered in the 2-rider men’s category, 10 teams in the 2-rider women’s category, 2 teams in the tandem men category and one team in the tandem women category.
A lot of the action is in the four-rider teams where 61 men’s teams have entered, 10 women’s teams and 53 mixed teams.