Ever thought that winning mega bucks for riding your bike was just a dream, or something reserved for the privileged few? Well, now that dream could become a reality. Albeit with an enormous amount of pedalling, endurance, stamina, effort and sheer determination! The world of mountain biking, and in particular endurance racing, is not generally known for its huge cash rewards once you cross the finish line, with just a blanket, or maybe if you’re lucky, an ice-cream being handed to you, along with the pride of finishing a challenge most people can’t even comprehend. However, the organisers of The Munga Race want to change that and create of one of the toughest races in the world with the chance to win a monetary figure that could change your life, and really reflects the perseverance and hard work that goes into completing such a tough event and crossing that finish line first.
Taking place from the 3rd to 8th December 2014 in South Africa. Some might compare the event to the famous Cape Epic with scorching hot South African summer temperatures, teams of two, challenging terrain and a long arduous course over a number of days. However, that is where the similarities end. The Munga is an unsupported race, with five stations along the race route where riders will be able to eat, sleep and have access to a mechanical station. Of course, you don’t have to stop at the stations if you want to continue riding – there are water points dotted along the route so that basic need is at least covered. Unlike most endurance events The Munga is a single stage race so the clock is ticking once the start pistol goes! Just five days to complete 1000+ kilometres (the Absa Cape Epic is 729km over 8 days), this race is clearly not for the faint-hearted!
“The Munga offers more than just a race, it’s a test against the toughest of external elements and against the human body, but most importantly, it’s a game changer,” says Alex Harris, renowned explorer, athlete, founder of Xplore Authentic Experiences and Race Director of The Munga. “With The Munga’s prize money significantly more than that of current event prizes, it is a massive leap for the sport and one that we hope will bring greater recognition to the sport and to the racer in all of us.” Alex is no stranger to unforgiving bike races having competed in an impressive number of events himself, and achieving some even more impressive results; podium positions in the Freedom Challenge 3 years running, (2010-2013, 2x 1st place, 1x 2nd place) and setting a new course record and 3rd place in the 2013 Tour Divide race along the North American Rockies. Both events are ridden for personal fulfilment, with no prize money to speak of, just the pure satisfaction of finishing.
The intense route for The Munga’s inaugural race begins in the Bloemfontein area to the north of South Africa, and follows a predominantly off-road route, across the dry, dusty Karoo desert, to end further south at the Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. The 1000km (possibly a bit more!) route will be clearly marked so riders will not have to think about navigation, and has been designed to combine endurance, experience and strategy to satisfy those riding enthusiasts looking for a compelling story. It is set to take riders through some of South Africa’s lesser travelled paths – a trail that showcases South Africa’s remoteness – while testing the strongest of wills.
With some serious South African investors on board, keen cyclists themselves, Alex has been able to launch his brainchild to create a bike event that not only pushes the physical and mental boundaries of a rider, giving them the thrill of completing something really hard, yet at the same time rewarding them financially for winning. The rules appear simple: the first pair to make it across the finish line in Stellenbosch wins $750,000, the second pair nets $100,000, and the third couple get a not insignificant $50,000. The fourth team through to the tenth team each win an entry into next years race, which could be something of a mixed blessing! There will also be a special ‘underdog’ prize; make it to the end and you will be entered into a lottery to win the remaining $100,000 from the prize purse.
“The world is not short of tough things to do. It’s short of tough people willing to tackle tough things. And this is set to be one of the toughest races on earth. Do you have what it takes to compete in The Munga and win your share of a million dollars?” concludes Harris.
To find out more about the race, the organisers and how to enter check out The Munga website here: https://themunga.com/