Cherise Stander and Theo Blignaut will be taking part in the Cape Epic as team RE:CM from March 23 to 30. 2014 will mark Blignaut and Stander's first Cape Epic together.
"This will be my first Cape Epic," said Blignaut. "Cherise Stander, who participated in last year's event, asked me to join her. I'm honoured to be her partner."
Stander, 24, is returning on a quest for glory."Putting your body through the ultimate challenge and seeing how far you can push yourself has brought me back to the Cape Epic this year." Stander is the widow of elite mountain bike racer Burry Stander, who was killed during training in January of 2013.
Cherise Stander has placed her future goals on competing in the South African Mountain Bike Championship and the MTN series. With achievements such as being the South African Marathon Mountain Biking Champ (2012), winner of the 2010 Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge, winner of the ladies category in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour (2008, 2011 and 2014) and South African Road Champ (2008 and 2010), Stander and her partner are a team to look out for in the mixed category in this year's race.
Blignaut, 25, is a highly respected triathlete who does not back down to a challenge. He won the 2012 ITU South African Cross Triathlon Championship in Bloemfontein and placed second at the 2011 ITU Africa U23 Triathlon Championship in Mapoto, making him a serious podium contender.
Both Blignaut and Stander are very determined to win the mixed category this year. "We're definately going for the win, but will be happy with a top three finish," said Blignaut.
According to Stander, you can expect everything and anything at this year's race. "Training is so important. You have to be fit and in the best condition of your life," she said.
According to Stander, she and her partner are really busy, so they do not get to train together as often as they like, but when the opportunity presents itself they take it. There are various reasons why they make such a good team.
Blignaut said, "Communication with your partner, pacing yourself and eating and drinking are the most important ingredients to completing the Cape Epic successfully. We train about three times a week if possible."
Stander feels it is going to be an extremely tough course, which will test all aspects. "The route will not only test bikers' mental, but physical strength as well."
Blignaut is excited about his first Cape Epic and feels he is going to love every day of the race. "I don't know how it feels to cross the finish line, so I look forward to it."