In any mountain bike tour it is not just about winning stages, sometimes just getting to the start line means a rider is a true hero because giving up on life is never an option.
Renate Telser from Switzerland is one of the DCM Cape Pioneer’s heroes not only because she and her team mate Nathalie Schneitter have won the first two stages in the women’s race and are the leaders in their category.
What makes her performance remarkable is the fact that she is deaf. In the true spirit of mountain biking she is riding to prove to herself and everybody across the world that life is what you make of it and that anybody is capable of anything if you are prepared to put your mind to it.
Schneitter who is the women’s winner of this year’s UCI World Cup Cross Country-race in Champerey, Switzerland gets quite excited once she starts speaking about her teammate’s guts.
“Renate keeps on amazing me. She is the sister of my trainer.
“When she asked me whether I would be prepared to be her partner in a mountain bike tour I immediately accepted.
“Renate wants to show the people back home, that even with a big handicap it is possible to do very well in sport and that people like me with no handicap could help them to achieve their goals.”
According to Schneitter riding with Telser is not really that different from riding with any other rider.
“The start is our only real problem because things can sometimes be quite hectic. Renate can’t hear the starter’s gun and the other riders around her. So if somebody yells a warning it does not help. That makes things very stressful for her, but once we are out on the route things are fine again.”
Schneitter admits that she is no expert in sign language.
“But I am learning as the tour progresses. I can sign to Renate when I want us to race faster or when she should be careful.”
Gerhard Ebersohn from Pretoria is another of the DCM Cape Pioneer’s unsung heroes.
During the first stage he had the unfortunate privilege to go down really hard.
“The pedal of my mountain bike got stuck on rock that led to me losing control and racing at high speed into some bushes before crashing down hard,” Ebersohn explained.
According to Ebersohn he immediately knew that there was something seriously wrong with his right arm the moment he got up, but there was no way that he was going to abandon. So he kept on riding for another 75 kilometers with a broken elbow.
His teammate, Christine Janse van Rensburg, said that the pain got to be so bad that Ebersohn started to compensate by sitting skew on his saddle that led to him getting cramps on his back.
It took them 8 hours and 34 minutes to finish which meant they finished 8th in the mixed category.
Even with his arm in plaster Ebersohn was quite convinced about not quitting but eventually he admitted that it would be madness to continue.
However he is still at the finish of each stage where he patiently waits for Janse van Rensburg.