Under-23 national MTB XCO champion Henry Liebenberg has succeeded with a challenge of a most unusual kind.
With normal cycling races having been cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, Liebenberg rode for 12 hours around a course he designed on their family farm in the North West.
He did the charity ride to raise funds for a trust which feeds underprivileged children in rural areas.
The 21-year-old’s mission started on Thursday at 5am as he tackled a loop of about 4.5km. In total, he rode a distance of 292km with 2 204m of climbing.
“The challenge was to ride for 12 hours in my backyard on a course I set up to raise funds through donations for The Hope Trust,” said the Absolute Motion rider.
For him, the biggest obstacle was the mental side of things.
“Riding for 12 consecutive hours on your own is quite a gruelling task. I just took it one hour at a time and ticked the hours off.
“Physically it wasn’t too bad. I started at a steady pace and made sure that I wasn’t going too hard. Riding for 12 hours is incredibly long, so it can be easy to overdo it in the first few hours and then you’re going to pay a hefty price later on.”
Another big challenge, apart from staying mentally strong, was the drop in temperature once the sun set.
“Also dealing with joint pains was a problem. Riding in one position for that long on quite a rocky course puts some strain on your body.
“My wrists, hands and shoulder were starting to take heavy strain.”
Liebenberg said challenging himself mentally to complete something like that was something he was happy to have achieved.
“Also riding 292km was quite fun. It is the longest ride I’ve done to date.
“Interesting facts: I drank approximately 8l of fluids and burned a total of 9 018 calories.”