Despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, ultra-endurance cyclist Grant Lottering is determined to attempt three near-impossible feats later this year.
The three extreme challenges he is targeting are a 24-hour non-stop up-and-down record attempt on the Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, his sixth Im’possible Tour and another 24-hour up-and-down attempt on the Swartberg Pass.
In this year’s Im’possible Tour, Lottering will attempt a world-first – climbing to the equivalent of the middle of the stratosphere in one single ride through the Italian Dolomites and Alps, an elevation gain of 30 000m.
“Every year my Im’possible Tours involve mountains and climbing,” Lottering said.
“To me it resembles the mountains that people, and especially children, face in life daily.
“Life is an uphill battle and so many people give up, lose hope and faith. And this year, given the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in with the global pandemic, there’ll be even more challenges for us to face.
“We all have plans and dreams we work towards. When unforeseen circumstances shatter that dream, it’s up to us how we respond,” said Lottering.
The dates set for his attempts are between June and September, but given the outbreak of Covid-19 and 40 per cent of the world being in lockdown they may not happen.
Should international travel not be possible by July, Lottering will revert to attempting his sixth Im’possible Tour in South Africa in November.
Last year the 51-year-old tackled his first local Im’possible Tour, which ended after 66 hours at Val de Vie Estate in the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley.
“Given what we as South Africans are going through with this pandemic, and will have gone through by then, particularly financially, I think it will be fitting that my attempt is representative of the huge challenges we will all be facing towards the end of 2020.
“I hope that what I’ll be attempting on the bike, and the extent to which I’ll be suffering, will give people renewed inspiration to face their challenges head-on, to be resilient, to persevere, to never give up, to overcome and to have faith.”
Lottering plans to start in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, and head towards the Sani Pass. From Lesotho he will make for Port Elizabeth and the iconic Baviaanskloof.
He expects the journey to be no less than 1 800km and to entail 92 hours of ride time.
In October, Lottering will attempt his challenge on the unforgiving Swartberg Pass. He plans to ride up and down this mountain as many times as possible in 24 hours.