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36ONE Q&A: Mikayla Webb

36ONE Q&A: Mikayla Webb

Name: Mikayla Webb
Occupation: Apparel Business Manager Specialized Bicycles Africa
Years of Riding: 7
Toughest Race: Absa Cape Epic
Social Media: Instagram @Webbmikayla  | Twitter @Mikaylawebb

Dryland: Hi Mikayla, tell us about how you came to ride the 36ONE MTB Challenge this year?

Mikayla: It was after Kevin rode the Munga and I was inspired by him completing it, I thought how awesome would it be to do an endurance race with him. Also I had such a crush on him and wanted an excuse to spend time with him.

Mikayla riding into the sunset during the 2017 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

Mikayla riding into the sunset during the 2017 36ONE MTB Challenge. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

D: You rode with your fiancé and renowned ultra-endurance junkie Kevin Benkenstein, how did his experience help you in preparing for and completing the 36ONE?

M: Kev did everything, I had a really HARD epic chasing Cherise Willeit for 8 days so I felt my suffer bucket was full, and did not want to think about riding 360km; that was way too far and way to hard (a couple times I thought about bailing). He got my bike ready (put a 34 chainring on, Renegade 1.95 tyres) did the shopping, packed the food and made me eat all of the food the night before and morning of the race. He then told me to eat every hour…. Every hour how do you even do that.  He also set the pace and kept telling me to slow down in the beginning, that made such a huge difference, we rode faster in the 2nd half than the first, even though I was completely broken and no one except the guy that won did that.

What partners are for. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

What partners are for. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

D: Tell us about the highs and lows your experienced during the race.

M: Lows… definitely was descending Rooiberg as the sun was just coming out and suddenly the temperature dropped 8 degrees, it was so cold and I was so tired and the descend was so rough. I want the crawl into a ball and have a nap in the sunlight.

Highs… catching and passing everyone in the last 150km when I thought I was going soo slowly, everything hurt the roads got rougher, there was a head wind, but I was still moving faster than everyone we were passing.

Head down and just carry on. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

Head down and just carry on. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

D: It sounds tough, why sign up to do it all again? 

M: I rode with Kev our goal was 18 hours… it took 18h32…. Guess I have to come and break 18 alone. Also I now know, you can’t fall asleep whilst you are riding your bike (I was pretty scared that was going to happen), and how amazing the feeling is when you have ridden through the night and you start to watch the sun rise as you begin to ascend Rooiberg pass. It was magical.

The corrugations of the broad Karoo. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

The corrugations of the broad Karoo. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

D: What did you learn this year that you wish you knew before the race? 

M: To wear hook up bibs, (Specialized WMN SL PRO) 18 hours is a long time to ride… you still need to pee a lot, taking all your kit off is a hack.

The sunrise comes and makes it all so much more worth it. You can ride at 70% of your heart rate for 18 hours and that I am actually pretty okay at ultra-endurance, I didn’t have to stress about the unknown so much.

The beauty of a Klein Karoo sunrise is one of the key attractions of The 36ONE. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

The beauty of a Klein Karoo sunrise is one of the key attractions of The 36ONE. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

D: 36ONE Asset Management and Dryland are keen to see more women take up the 36ONE challenge, what advice would you give women considering entering the 36ONE? 

M: Women are waaaayy better at ultra-endurance than men… so go for it you will probably beat your husband (I am never going to be so lucky).

Then eat a lot, every hour it makes a huge difference you never get to that point of tears due to running out of fuel, but I did still cry… it’s hard.

Also hook up bibs and don’t bother changing kit it’s okay to wear the same clothes for more than 24 hours and smell and get a bit dirty.

The essential state of The 36ONE. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

The essential stats of The 36ONE. Photo by Kevin Benkenstein.

To find out more about The 36ONE MTB Challenge visit www.the36one.co.za.

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