With three-stages through sections of the Tsitsikamma National Park and along the Storms River coastline, the event was every adventure-seekers utopia. Far above the thrill of traversing through South Africa’s renowned trails, the heart of the Glacier Storms River Traverse proved once again to centre on community.
Without fail, a local crowd would gather around the Tsitsikamma Village Inn every morning to support riders at the start of each stage. “The town comes alive this time of year! Over 50 locals are employed in the build up to the event, and most local resorts rely on the income from this event to get through the winter months,” said Chris Skykes, co-owner of the Tsitsikamma Village Inn.
The majority of 2018 Glacier Storms River Traverse entries came from South African families in particular. For some of them, the event was a celebration of new beginnings. At 42-years old, Linda Marais hadn’t ridden a bicycle since High School. Things quickly changed when her husband bought her one for Christmas, and this weekend marked her first stage racing experience.
“I’ve only been back on a bike for seven months, and I feel like I’m living in my 20’s again! My husband is beaming – it’s been such a good thing for us to do together,” she said.
Francois Joubert has been a competitive rider for years. While he’s ticked off most events on every racing snake’s bucket list, cycling has never been an experience he particularly shared with his family. “I usually travelled to races with my friends, and would just send my wife a quick Whatsapp at night to let her know how the race went,” he explained.
The Glacier Storms River Traverse, however, brought a new cycling experience for the Joubert family this weekend. “My wife signed up to ride with me, and we brought our little girl along! I sat relaxing with them at the race village and realised that this is what it’s all about – sharing experiences like this with them,” said Francois.
For solo participate Elizabeth Deetlefs, the event was a time of healing. She entered the Glacier Storms River Traverse in August last year, around the time her husband was diagnosed with cancer. The couple loved the area and Elizabeth knew that a section of the race would pass the renowned log cabins that are situated near the Storms River Mouth.
“He would be able to watch me cycle past and relax in the cabin with an ocean view,” she said. He unfortunately passed away four months ago, and Elizabeth was determined to complete the event in an attempt to gain some form of closure.
As she pushed her bicycle up a gruelling climb on stage two, she expressed her heartache about staying in the log cabin alone. To commend Elizabeth’s bravery, Dryland Event Management made a special announcement at prize giving that night:
“To acknowledge her courage and the memory of her late husband, we have officially created an award for the most determined rider at every Glacier Storms River Traverse edition from now. We are also giving Elizabeth a free entry to next year’s event,” said Carel Heroldt, Dryland managing director.
The night ended with a standing ovation as Elizabeth stepped onto stage – a heart-felt display of the cycling community that the Glacier Storms River Traverse prides itself on.
Supplied by: Dryland Media