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Riding for Rhinos

Riding for Rhinos

Mopani Pharmacy’s Sports Nutrition and First Aid Retail Executive, Hennie Kriek, will participate in the annual uBhejaneX Xtreme MTB Rhino Ride Challenge for the fourth time. The strenuous mountain-biking event will take place this coming Saturday, 12 December 2020.

Out of the various distances available, Hennie will take part in the longest consecutive distance in one day. He will have 16 hours to complete the distance of 360 kilometres. “We will have brief stops every 50 kilometres or so, to eat, replenish our water and have a bathroom break. It will be quick though, no longer than five to seven minutes”, he explained.

Photo: Hennie and a fellow rider, 2019

As part of a group of roughly 20 riders, Hennie is the only representative from the Lowveld. “It is not a race; it is a journey. We stick together as a group and will complete the challenge together. It’s not about winning. We aim to raise at least R5 000 per person for the cause.”

There are less than 28 000 wild rhinos, and the population keeps declining as a rhino is killed every seven hours in Africa. Rhino horn remains one of the top commodities in the black market, as it is sold for roughly $25 000 per kilogram.

More than 90% of the black rhino population have been slaughtered in the last 40 years. The aim of uBhejaneX is to raise money for organisations that facilitate rhino conservation, interventions aimed at eliminating rhino poaching and securing the white and black rhino populations.

The two beneficiaries of uBhejaneX, Project Rhino and Helping Rhino focuses on anti-poaching, protection and conservation of Rhinos through various initiatives.

The challenge will be no easy feat for Hennie. “We start at 23h00 on the Friday evening, in Hillcrest. I will only sleep a few hours before getting up to get ready. Once we start, we have to keep going to finish in time. We will pedal through the darkness, in the middle of nowhere. Then the sun comes up and we are in hot, humid Kwa-Zulu Natal weather, until the sun goes down again. Luckily, the weather news forecasted some clouds. We will finish at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. There is no sleeping when we are done either. After a quick shower we will attend the dinner prepared for the riders”, Hennie explained.

To prepare for the race, Hennie trained between 10-12 hours per week, with additional gym sessions twice a week. “Lockdown made it a bit difficult, but I increased my training as soon as I was able to. I am taking it slow this week though.”

Hennie will burn around 12 000 kilojoules, and consume approximately 10 litres of fluids on the day. “I will have lots of fruits, small potatoes and sandwiches with chicken, cheese and tomato at my rest stops. I will also snack on Power Bar energy bars. My drinks will consist of PowerBar IsoActive, PowerBar Electrolyte effervescent mixes, and water. In the last 50 kilometres I will have water and Coca-Cola. Once I am done, I will have some PowerBar Recover Max”, he said.

As Hennie will be in the sun for the entire day, sun-protection is of utmost importance. “You hose yourself with water at the stops, to keep your body temperature down. The water and the sweat are not ideal. I use and reapply Techniblock SPF 50+, water resistant spray throughout the day, as it absorbs right into your skin,” he explained.

“I’ve done this challenge before, so I know what to expect. I will cycle around 40 kilometres on Sunday to flush my system. On Monday I’m going to feel the effects of the challenge!”, he concluded.

Hennie would like to thank his sponsors, Mopani Pharmacy, Power Bar Nutrition, Kellaprince, H2O international/ BWT and Puma Energy on the Go.

“My sponsors have covered my traveling, entry, fuel and other fees. I would like to encourage anyone that is able, to donate to the cause, as it really is something that is very close to my heart”, he concluded.

If you would like to donate under Hennie’s profile, follow this link.

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