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songo Adventures at the 2012 TransAlps Mountain Bike Race

05 Aug 2012

It's been a while since we last updated our website but just because it's been quiet on the web front does not mean we haven't been busy. In fact quite the contrary! The last two months at songo have seen some really exciting progress and incredible achievements from improved results in local mountain biking and BMX events for our young guys, to our 2 champs Azukile and Sipho heading off to Germany to take part in the TransAlps Mountain Bike Stage race.

Back in Kayamandi our clubhouse had it's roof put on and thanks to John Sparks and his team of builders from Transworld Projects. Our clubhouse is really taking shape. It's not long to go until we will have a full operational clubhouse. Exciting times lie ahead for us.

Songo and I had a moment earlier this week reflecting back to last year this time where cannot believe the growth we have experienced thanks to the incredible support of all our sponsors. Almost 18 months ago 36ONE Asset Management came on-board as our headline sponsor for the Absa Cape Epic where the proceeds of their sponsorship are donated directly to the charity and have subsequently contributed to the significant growth of the organisation. Earlier this year we welcomed Velocity Sports Lab on-board as the secondary sponsor to our songo.info Absa Cape Epic team, where again all the funds are donated directly to the charity.

In addition, through Stillwatersports and Entertainment, specifically their collaboration at the Contego Wines2Whales mountain bike race Ride with A Celebrity, we are able to raise further funds for the charity and to enable further growth at songo.

All these sponsors as well as the many many other individuals and organisations, have enabled us to grow significantly this year and take our program and events even further.

The highlight on the program most recently is no doubt the TransAlps Mountain Bike Race, which Azukile Simayile and Sipho Madolo just recently conquered and returned home to share all their exciting stories.

Their participation in this event was made possible by the Exxaro Academy, who awarded this trip to the young men as their prize for winning the Exxaro Development Jersey in this year's Absa Cape Epic. The Absa Cape Epic also contributed to making this experience possible for the boys.

 2012 Craft TransAlps

On Saturday 07th July 2012, the two boys and their coach and mentor, Songo Fipaza, boarded their very first international flight on Emirates airline, for the destination of Munich, Germany, 90km away from the start of the 2012 Craft TransAlps.

The guys arrived a few days prior to the event to enjoy some sight-seeing in Europe including a visit to the Specialized Head Office in Munich. There the boys were inducted into the Specialized wall of fame and kitted out with Specialized kit including 29'er bikes for the TransAlps event. Total excitement about riding 29'er bikes for the first time ever is an understatement of note!

Benno Willet and the team at the Specialized head office took such great care of the boys, including taking them out on a ride in the local mountain biking track. It was days filled with lots of adventure and fun as the guys took in all these new sights.

As race day approached, it was time to head down to the start of the race in a town called Oberammergau for registration and preparations. Coach Songo Fipaza, drove the guys and their Specialized 29'ers down to the race and excitedly met numerous other South Africans including Glen and Tamika Haw from Sani2C and Craig Wapnick from joBerg2C.

What followed were 8 grueling days through the Alps where even Songo was saying the climbs were monsters! The boys told us of how they were climbing for 2 - 3 hours sometimes per day, up into the snow capped mountains and then back down rugged terrain. They rode through Germany, into Austria, across Austria and into Switzerland. Finally rolling into Riva del Garda, Italy, the final destination point of the race.

The race was characterized by gruelling climbs but scenic views as they looked across the Alps peaks and down into the crisp green valleys. 

Songo would catch the winter ski gondala's to vantage points on the race and just indicating how high these boys were climbing.

Even with extreme climbing, our boys did exceptionally well finishing in 71st position in the age category, Open Men. We are so incredibly proud of this outstanding achievement.

To say that it was an experience of a lifetime is an understatement of note. The young men's world view was cracked wide open as their coach and mentor took them on unique experience after another with the opportunity of meeting so many new and wonderful people. Thanks to Songo who was by their sides to support them on this adventure, to Specialized, Absa Cape Epic and Exxaro, thank you so so much for this incredible opportunity for the young guys from our organisation. We are 100% sure their lives are forever changed.

Photograps and video footage from the race can be found on the official website: http://www.bike-transalp.de/1/home/