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Matini and Mtintsillana to ride for team Pragma Silverback

Max and Thembisile to ride for team Pragma Silverback

Max Matini (25), a local bike mechanic, and Thembisile Shaun Mtintsilana (23), an assistant in a bicycle warehouse, will take on their second Absa Cape Epic in 2013, in hope of taking home the coveted Exxaro Development jersey. They will be riding as Team Pragma Silverback.

The legendary mountain bike stage race, which will celebrate its 10th year in 2013, will take place from 17 to 24 March, and will see riders battle the natural elements and each other while covering a total distance of 698km with 15 650m of climbing, from Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.

Matini, a Durbanville resident and a bicycle mechanic by profession, describes his fondest memory of the Absa Cape Epic as day three of the 2011 race. “I cycled for 145 km’s and experienced no pain. A feeling of pride came over me when I realised how far I’d come. The most difficult stage, in my experience, is always the first stage – It’s hot and your legs aren’t used to all the cycling. The reason I keep coming back is because this race is interesting and very challenging.”

Mtintsilana, a Stellenbosch resident, adds that his fondest memory of the race was “when Max wanted to give up and made excuses about his finger that had cuts.” For him, the most difficult stage is the first stage, even though it’s the shortest. He adds: “I keep coming back because it’s not just a race about climbing the mountain. It’s also about team work, communication, being mentally strong, reaching goals, and proving to young kids that the impossible can turn to possible. Don’t ever give up no matter how painful the situation you’re facing. It will pass if you set your mind straight.”

With regards to a podium finish, Matini says, “We’ll see when we get there. As a team we’re aiming for first place in the Exxaro Development category’. Mtintsilana adds: “I’m very confident about it and I’ll be very happy for the Exxaro Development jersey, if we win it, but my goal is the African Leader jersey.”

Matini says that his partner is what keeps him on his bike. “The most important ingredient for successfully completing the Absa Cape Epic is training correctly and training enough before the race. Crossing the finish line is always an awesome, happy feeling.” Mtintsilana adds: “Drinking water every 10 minutes is also very important and trying to eat something every 30 minutes to an hour, being mentally strong and working well with your partner.”

Matini’s and Mtintsilana training consists of cycling together on weekends for about twelve hours. Matini runs at home for 30 minutes early in the morning during the week. They also train in the beautiful winelands of Stellenbosch. Matini’s diet consists of no fats or chocolates, and enough carbohydrates. “When I’m in the mood for something sweet, I do enjoy endurance health bars,” says Matini.

When training without his partner, Mtintsilana completes12 hours riding weekly. He spends most of the ride on the green zone of his heart rate and he does spinning gears. He does not follow a specific diet, “I do however eat like a horse, so anything that fills me up, and restores my energy.”

Matini and Mtintsilana have the following advice for riders participating in next year’s race: “Listen to your coach and try to do whatever he or she told you to do, work hard and remember a car doesn’t go without petrol and oil. The body works the same way – food and water are important, as well training.”

In 2013 Matini would like get more disadvantaged riders to take part in the race, build up more sponsorship for underprivileged riders and build a team with these children, thereby helping and inspiring kids from poor schools. Ideally his goal is to improve the futures of children by encouraging them to stay off drugs through participation in sports. He spends every moment of his free time cycling. Mtintsilana’s goal for 2013 is to go back to university and complete his diploma.

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