Endurance athlete Grant Lottering will have the names of 30 children on his bike to serve as motivation when he undertakes a 24-hour charity ride in aid of Reach for Dream this weekend.
The 52-year-old, who moved a year ago from Johannesburg to live in Somerset West, will attempt to climb and descend the all-gravel Montagu Pass outside George in the Western Cape as many times as he can, starting at 10am on Saturday.
The aim is that each time he summits a dream of one of the children suffering from a life-threatening illness will be fulfilled through corporate and individual donations.
Lottering said he already had a list of 30 children, with their ages, conditions and dreams.
“I will have this placed on my bike and that will be my inspiration,” he said. “Hopefully we will be able to tick off their names as we go along.”
As someone who has made endurance adventures a way of life, Lottering is well-prepared for his latest challenge.
However, he has shifted the emphasis of his preparation from time spent on the bike to concentrating on power.
“This ride just builds on all the endurance events I do on an annual basis, but I have reduced the amount of hours I spend on the bike, not doing the 13 to 14-hour rides.
“Instead, I have spent time in Jonkershoek [near Stellenbosch] where you climb 4 000 metres in 10 hours.
“So I have spent most of my time on power and strength work and getting used to climbing as efficiently as possible.”
When he sets out on Saturday from the George Toll House, Lottering will face 4.6km to the summit and 460m of vertical ascent.
Having tested the route in recent training, he said it was a strange pass in one sense.
“It’s not long but it’s pretty steep, albeit fairly gradual,” he said. “But there are one or two sections where it’s about 11 per cent for close to a kilometre.
“I think the ascending will be trickier because the pass won’t be closed to traffic and there are some sheer drop-offs, so you obviously need to be careful.”
Lottering said he would be doing the ride on a hardtail.
“I have adapted it to the challenge’s requirements,” he said. “Fortunately, I have also been sponsored with a rigid fork, while there is a special gear ratio and the bike is incredibly light at exactly 9.5kg.
“I am going to ride with road shoes for the lighter weight.”
His obvious goal is to summit as many times as he can, but Lottering said you needed to be clever in your approach.
“I have worked out a whole timesheet and the plan is to take a break for 10 minutes after every fourth climb.
“You can try to be a hero and go flat out for 10 hours, but then have nothing left. My approach will be to push real hard but also to pace myself to achieve as many summits as I can.”