Bringing extreme adventure to Port Alfred

ROB KNOWLES

LOCAL extreme-ophiles Rick Betts and Richard Legg and are looking forward to competing in the 2012 Expedition Africa to be held in Ndlambe from May 7 to 13.

Covering 500km of extreme cycling, paddling and off-road running, the race starts and ends at the Halyards Hotel.

EXTREME ATHLETES: Kowie Striders Rick Betts (left) and Richard Legg are no strangers to endurance racing, and will be participating in the Expedition Africa 500km, five-day race to be held in the Eastern Cape for the first time. It will begin and end at the Halyards hotel, starting on Monday May 7 Picture: ROB KNOWLES

“It was our friend, Neil Curry who first suggested we needed to get the organisers here to discuss holding the event in Port Alfred,” said Betts. Both Curry and his wife, Kerry Longhurst, will complete the team of four, naming itself Team Port Alfred. Each team must include at least one woman.

“This is a big event,” added Betts. “It is truly international. It will include a maximum of 25 teams from all over the world and will be covered by the Discovery Channel, DSTV’s Supersport and ESPN.”

Another Eastern Cape team led by Misty and Dylan Weyer will also compete in the event.

The entire event will be organised by Kinetic Gear, and a website is available to find out more about the Expedition Africa event (http://www.kineticgear.co.za/AdventuresRaces).

Team Port Alfred undertook a 24-hour training session two weekends ago and practiced their mountain-biking skills, together will paddling and trail running.

“The more you learn about the race the more you come to realise it is won or lost in your head,” said Betts. “To undertake a race like this you have to have a plan and know your strengths and weaknesses. Only those teams that complete the event with all members will be acknowledged as having completed the race.”

At the beginning of the race each team is given a map and coordinates. Teams then plot out their courses and set off. Prior to this, competitors are not told the locations of the checkpoints they must visit. At the halfway point of the race there is a mandatory five-hour rest period.

At each stage the necessary equipment will be delivered to the teams, whether that be a mountain bike or a canoe or running shoes.

Ensuring team members get sufficient rest during the five gruelling days is also a critical factor to success, and teams that have ignored rest periods in the past in order to make up time have been pipped at the post by teams exhibiting a more balanced activity regime.

Cycle Asylum off Albany Road will be the official bicycle mechanics of the event.

Each team member will be fitted with a transponder in order for spectators to track them on the Kinetics Gear web site.

“If this event is a success, we will be in-line to host the World Championships,” said Legg. “That would be an even bigger coup for Ndlambe, and bring lots of visitors and business to Port Alfred.”

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