One of South Africa's top female mountain bikers, Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub), will again race the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek from October 17-22 this year. Stopforth was one of the heroes of last year's event. After crashing heavily during the first stage, she endured severe pain and raced on to win that stage with her mixed team partner Marcel Deacon.
Afterward, X-rays showed that three of Stopforth's ribs were broken.
Stopforth, a qualified doctor herself, knew that quitting the race would be the best option from a medical perspective. However, with quitting not her style, she chose to continue.
During the next five days, in spite of the fact that every pedal stroke was a stark reminder that the last place for her to be was on her mountain bike, Stopforth battled on valiantly.
Sometimes she struggled to keep her tears back. For this never-say-die attitude of hers, she was eventually rewarded with a fourth place overall in the mixed category.
Despite last year's experience, she did not hesitate to sign up for this year's event. "Let's be quite honest. The DCM Cape Pioneer Trek is definitely one of the toughest challenges on the local calendar," she said. "Last year I even thought that it was harder than the Cape Epic, but after this year’s Epic I am not so sure anymore.
"What makes the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek a must-do ride for me, is the fact that it is a community driven event. In every town the whole community gets involved.
"You cannot help feeling that it is really important for everybody to ensure that we, as riders, have a memorable experience."
Stopforth's teammate this year will be Catherine Williamson. Judging by their respective performances so far this year, they will be contenders in the women's duo category.
Stopforth and Williamson won the Joburg2C. Stopforth, teaming up with Hanlie Booyens, also finished third in the Cape Epic.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Cape Pioneer Trek.