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Perskindol Swiss Epic Race Report

28 Sep 2017

Race Report by: Sipho Madolo, Sport Programme Manager

The Swiss Epic has always been on my "to do" list and I knew it’s just a matter of timing and opportunity. After few Absa Cape Epics, Laleyenda in Colombia and taste of th Transalp back in 2012, I really wanted to do something new but the question was always what, when, with whom and how.

I met Silas Valaulta with his parents early last year at one of the WP XCO Cup in Paarl, Rhebokskloof. They came to South Africa for holidays and we quickly became friends with them being very interested in getting involved at songo.info and support where ever they could. They visited a couple of times after we met and few months later they hosted me in their home when I went to compete at the Mountain Bike World Cup in Lenzerheide in July 2016. Earlier this year in January, the Valaulta family came back to SA for holidays again and we spent a lot of time at the clubhouse figuring out how we could raise funds for songo.info which was where the idea of doing the PERSKINDOL SWISS EPIC came from. One problem though was that at 17, Silas is still young to take part in the race but after chatting to the race organisers and explaining why we doing the race, we got approval and we were all good to go! 

Ride together in SA

A ride together in early January where plans were hatched to race Swiss Epic together in support of songo.info. 

I arrived in Chur, Switzerland on Thursday 7th September and spent few days with the Valaulta family before heading to the race start. We were so looking forward to race together for the first time and of course have fun! It was an incredible experience for both of us, for Silas it’s was his first stage race and for myself, racing in cold weather conditions, getting to share my experience with my young mate all while getting to see a bit more of Switzerland. It was funny how sometimes I would forget the painful climbs when I was looking around and enjoy the most beautiful views that I don’t get to see every day! Beautiful views

Photo credit: sportgraf

We started with the 18km prologue and we were so happy with 28th overall but most importantly the prologue was all about guaging our weakness as individuals and as a team so that we can work on a plan before hitting the real mountains. Swiss forests

Photo credit: sportgraf

Swiss Epic fun

Photo credit: sportgraf

The whole week went perfectly, no mechanicals, crashes, flat tire or any other problems. We finished 31st overall after 6 days of racing - a result that we were very happy with. We had the best tire choices for the rough Swiss Epic: Silas had the new fast track grid front and rear and myself with the new 2.3 Fast Track Control at the front and the new 2.2 Renegate at the rear. This was definitely the best tire choice I’ve ever made and we had not even one flat tire the whole week!  

Downhill fun

Photo credit: sportgraf

We were so excited to go out and race every day with the only stress being for us how we were going to fit all our stuff (and food) into our bags each evening :) It was the best two weeks of fun on and off the bike in Switzerland!

Cold riding weather

Photo credit: sportgraf

Huge thanks to the Valaulta family for making the trip a reality! Silas and I had a great time and the best thing was that in the end we managed to raise around R60 000 for songo which we are very happy about. Thanks to everyone who contributed  - without you this wouldn't have been possible! 

End of a great adventure