Thanks so much to all of the cyclists, sponsors, organisers and supporters of this year’s Elephant Epic. It was a huge success, enjoyed by all to raise a fantastic amount of money for Game Rangers International!
The day started off on the Leopard’s Hill Road, 40 minutes outside of Lusaka at 0700 with a scrumptious Deli breakfast to fuel the competitors! As dawn broke over the wilderness 105 “psyclepaths” from all over the world took to the trail, embarking on one of Zambia’s toughest endurance challenges, requiring concentration and nerve. This year overcast weather made conditions more favourable but the path was tough, consisting mostly of sandy and rugged terrain. For veterans who know the course, the peak known as the “Mother” (about 35km into the race) has a very tricky technical descent and is the real test that can make or break your race (as well as your limbs!). This year three waterpoints along the course run by Abbeycon and GRI topped up fluid, blood sugar and morale levels with donations from Racefood, the Diplomatic Spouses Association of Zambia, Manzi Valley, Gerry Carbin and Zambian Breweries.
Out of 105 entrants only 1 didn’t finish due to an early injury. Local racing snake Owen Green was crowned victorious as the fastest man but a significant number of development riders were hot on his heels which the Elephant Epic were happy to see! The fastest woman’s trophy was claimed by Kim Allwood. Well done to both!
Thanks to our sponsors we had some great prizes including David Shepherd prints, weekends at Kaingu Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park and Sausage Tree Camp in the Lower Zambezi. As well as vouchers from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka and The Art Shop, Zambia. Many other prizes were donated by our other sponsors. Big thanks to Rob Moolenschot for making the brilliant and creative trophies!
By 1400 all riders were safely through the finish line at Kiambi Safari Lodge in the Lower Zambezi. Our on-site first aid support from St John’s Ambulance was kept relatively busy but thankfully only with minor cuts and scrapes! The most immediate need was grumbling stomachs which was met most brilliantly by Gavin Dreyer and his assistants from The Braai Guy. With donations from Farm Pride/Fringilla, Ian Asherwood, Buya Bamba, John Henderson at York Farms, Rivonia and Shoprite – Boerwors Rolls were devoured fervently at the end of the roast and an evening spit braai later on in the day to go along with a few relaxing beers.
Thanks once more to everyone who helps make this event possible not least this year to Wendy Moolenschot and Jaco Joubert who have dedicated months of their lives to the Elephant Epic and raising funds for conservation. Without their voluntary blood, sweat and gears this year would not have happened! Of course thanks again to all of the supporters, from all of us at Game Rangers International, who give generously to make this event both a fantastic gathering for those who love Mountain Biking as well as a vital fundraiser for conservation in Zambia through our projects.
So remember – “Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul“ Matt Morley, the Flying Scotsman, 2014.
See you at the Elephant Epic 2015!