Himeville – With less than a fortnight to go, Sue Atkinson’s dream to race the KAP sani2c mountain bike stage race that started by chance in Underberg in January is about to come true, ending a roller-coaster few months of nervous preparation for the sani2c debutant.
Atkinson was the winner of the lucky draw KAP sani2c entry at the FNB Drak Music Experience in Underberg in January, kick starting a 13 week baptism of fire as she prepares for her first sani2c trip from Glencairn to Scottburgh from 8-10 May.
The lucky draw prize came at the 2018 Drak Music Festival where all competitors in the Euro Steel Drak Descent, the N3TC Drak Challenge and the GWK Run the River trail run were entered.
“I never win anything so when I won I acted a bit like I had just won the Lotto!” Atkinson said. “I had to encourage all of the people we rode with to go to the music festival to be part of the draw and then I managed to win – it was incredible!”
Gauteng-based Atkinson is a self-confessed novice and when her name was drawn as the winner of the entry to the 2018 edition of the sani2c her mountain biking career has been ramped up a notch as she and partner Shirley Piper gear up for an exciting three days in the saddle.
“This is going to be further than I have ever even thought of racing!” she mentioned with an excited nervousness.
“I was the farthest thing from a serious rider and used to ride 20km fun rides in my takkies but since the end of January we have been training really hard and I have gone from hardly riding to riding every weekend!
“It’s cost me a fortune getting a new bike and proper cleats! But we are so excited to be riding in our first sani2c.”
Dubbed the ‘Threes Company’ team, they have been putting in the hard yards as they approach their first stage race, with tips and advice from work colleagues coming in the bucket loads.
“I work at a company that is mountain biking mad and a lot of them have ridden sani2c, joBerg2c as well as the Cape Epic so the advice has been coming from all angles!” the 39 year-old said with a smile.
“I am surrounded by such a great bunch of people at work and they have been so supportive that I cannot wait to get going.”
“To be honest I am nervous as hell but I am so excited for the event that the nerves might subside and be taken over by excitement when we get there.
Competing in the sani2c was never a serious thought for Atkinson or her partner Piper as family commitments often taking preference over any form of recreational time.
“I have got a three year old daughter so training has been quite difficult having to juggle Saturday’s where we train until about lunch time – getting the family, training balance has been hard.
“For Shirley, sani2c was never an option with her being a single mother but this year we have made it work and we are incredibly excited for the race.
“We head out on our final training ride soon as I am off overseas and will only get back the day before sani2c so we have finished our preparation!” she added in anticipation.
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