Blind riders to conquer Monster

Two eager mountain bikers, Dan Manders and Morne Swanepoel will not allow their competitive spirit to be dampened by their inability to see. Photo: Jetline Action Photo

Two eager mountain bikers, Dan Manders and Morne Swanepoel, will not allow their competitive spirit to be dampened by their inability to see. Both riders will attempt to conquer the 70km FNB Magalies Monster Mountain Bike Classic on 3 June. Dan and Morne met in Worcester at a school for the blind. Dan was born blind, while Morne lost his sight at the age of three due to glaucoma. Dan started mountain biking with his friend, Theo Coetzee, three years ago and he loves the challenges and unknown factor of the sport.

“You don’t know what is waiting beyond the next turn. The adrenalin really starts to flow when you hit the downhill. My first Monster was my second or third race after Theo and I first started mountain biking.

Together it took us about seven hours to finish the 70km route. I’d like to see how we have improved,” said Dan.

Morne will take on the Monster with friend and work colleague, Marius van Lill. He’s been involved in tandem road cycling for several years.

“Marius was a solo road cyclist, but we started riding tandem road races together. One morning on our way to work, the topic of mountain bike tandem racing was discussed. The rest is history. For blind riders, training is not an easy task as we can’t just jump on a bike and hit the road or go to a gym. Spinning at home makes up most of my training. When it comes to maintenance, the tandem bicycle seems to take a bit more punishment than the solo bikes out on the route. Nonetheless, we are extremely excited to take part in the FNB Magalies Monster MTB Classic. We entered the Monster for the mere fact that we would both like to be able to say, ‘I conquered the Monster’.”

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