When Tudor Marsden-Huggins sets himself a challenge, he doesn’t do it by halves.
The Indooroopilly resident and Managing Director of Milton recruitment marketing specialists Employment Office will be flying to South Africa next week to take on one of the world’s most challenging mountain bike events.
The Absa Cape Epic is a demanding eight-day adventure through the Western Cape region in South Africa, covering 739 kilometres and over 16,000 metres of climbing.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world and the only eight-day mountain bike stage race classified as hors categorie (beyond categorisation) by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
“The race is considered to be the Tour de France of mountain biking. It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I think we are up to it,” Marsden-Huggins said.
The race must be completed by both members of a two person team. Marsden-Huggins will be riding with long-time training partner Ray Duncan. The pair have been riding 300 kilometres a week for the past four months to prepare for Cape Epic.
“There have been a lot of early starts so we can get three hours of riding in before work. Then on Saturday and Sunday we have been riding five to six hours, mostly on amazing bush trails up to Mount Glorious which has been exhilarating,” he said.
“We come across lots of snakes and goannas on that trail – but I’m not sure if that will prepare us for the wildlife we might see in South Africa.”
Taking place from March 15 to 22, 1200 riders will be taking part in the Absa Cape Epic. The race will start at the University of Cape Town and finish at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville.
Marsden-Huggins has been an avid cyclist for many years, taking part in both road cycling and mountain biking events. In 2011 Marsden-Huggins launched Tour de Office, an office-based cycling event that raises awareness of the need to incorporate physical activity into the work day, and raise money for charity.
“Cape Epic is one of the four major mountain bike races in the world. Riders must stay in pairs, never being more than 50 metres apart at any time. There is a daily cut-off, and any riders who don’t make it in time are excluded from the event.
“I know someone who did the race a few years ago. The first day was 139km and 39 degrees. They extended the cut-off time from 12 to 13 hours to accommodate. This guy took 12 hours and 55 minutes and both he and his partner ended up on drips. It’s certainly not going to be an easy ride, but we’ll give it our best shot,” Marsden-Huggins said.