Thursday, July 7, 2022

Cyclist impressed by Botswana’s ‘tough and technical’ cycling race

The winner of this year’s Botswana Kalahari Challenge in the solo category, Heinrich Kohne of Namibia, has described the race as very challenging and enjoyable. The Namibian, who was making his debut in the race, finished the race in 8 hours 1 minute to win the race, 15 minutes ahead of his closest competitor and runner up in the solo section, Sean McCormick.

The two were closely followed by South African cyclist Gus Klohn who finished the race 22 minutes after Kohne, having clocked 8 hours 23 minutes.

Speaking in an interview after winning his debut race in Botswana, the Namibian cyclist, who said the race was enjoyable, described the race as very tough and technical. The 28-year-old cyclist said he was surprised by the terrain and single tracks that are the hallmarks of the race. With the race devoid of mountains, the Namibian said the race was very challenging as it gives cyclists no chance to rest.

“In most of the races, there are usually climbs and during descent, you can take your feet off the pedal a bit and relax. This race is, however, unique in that it is run on a flat terrain with sandy patches or vertical climbs. This, therefore, forces the cyclist to pedal all the time with no rest during the race,” he explained.

He said the terrain is even tougher for solo riders as they have no one to encourage and motivate them during the race as they have to rely on themselves. While happy with the race and its organization, Kohne said there are little issues that need to be addressed, like visible markings, more especially in crossing.

“On the first day of the race, I got lost and had to backtrack for at least 2 kilometers, which in a way slowed me down a bit,” he said.

Kohne’s comments on the toughness of the race were echoed by team winners in the sub veteran category, Taygan Robson and David Cooke of Team Blackberry who described the race as very technical. The two, who were the first team to arrive at the finishing point on the final day, said the loose sands and the single treks made the race’s terrain very tough. Asked about his opinion of the race, Cooke, who was making his debut in the race, said while the race is run on a flat trek, it had been tougher than he expected. Cooke hailed the organization of the race, adding that with a little bit of more sponsorship, the race could be one of the best in the region and could attract more riders than it has at the moment.

Meanwhile, James Ross Marsh and Thinus Redelinghuys emerged as the overall winners of the race after clocking a combined time of 7 hours 52 minutes. The two were followed by Robson and Cooke just a minute behind them while a team of Dale Kretzinger and Bryan Powell came third overall, having arrived 15 minutes behind the overall winners.

The ladies female solo category went to Paula Hardy with Natallie Robbs coming second. Hardy finished the race in 9 hours 2 minutes while Robbs finished 45 minutes behind her.

In the women’s team category, it was the team of Stephanie Faul and Lee Anne Palmhart who emerged victorious ahead of Botswana’s team of Alex Boxshall-Smith and Hette Naude.

The junior category went to the team of Andrew Troter and Tyrone Marais. The Botswana Kalahari Challenge was sponsored by My Spar Botswana, Botswana Tourism Organization and Mascom Wireless Botswana.

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