Pietermaritzburg's Greg Minnaar once again tackled the famous Cape Epic stage race this past week, and for the second time in two attempts, he made it to the finish after a gruelling week of racing eight days and 886km.
This year, the downhiller rode with top South African female cross country rider, Hannele Steyn-Kotze in the Mixed Category. Both were part of Addidas team #27.
The first few days were tough on the pair, and with a total of six punctures, the pair lost valuable ground early. Well outside the top 10 in their category, the pair fought back to finish seventh in the mixed category and 70th overall.
"The event was super tough, and a lot harder than the first year I rode it, with longer distances to cover and much more climbing," said Minnaar. "The event has also really grown a lot too. This is a really big deal now. It was good riding with Hannele as I learned a lot about how to eat while riding a seven-hour day, and how much it can help you with your endurance.
"I basically did this to support the event and for the challenge. It's not a major or strategic part of my downhill season preparation, but I think a little bit of extra fitness is never a problem!"
In the final four days, the two South Africans put in some big efforts to gain ground on some of the more fatigued competitors. Their efforts paid off with some good time gains made.
When asked if he would do it again, Minnaar said, "Yah, for sure. Maybe next year I'll ride with a male competitor and try and mix it up with the top teams!"