We recently received a photo from Steven Liptz, of 36ONE Asset Management, which he’d been sent by Fred van Zyl. Fred is a 70 year old retired Karoo farmer, who now lives in Mossel Bay, and has ridden all six of The 36ONE Mountain Bike Challenges to date. Fred sent Steve this photo, of his 36ONE finisher photos…

Photo by Fred van Zyl

Photo by Fred van Zyl

And it got us thinking, what a wealth of knowledge Fred must possess, so ahead of the 2018 36ONE MTB Challenge entries opening in August we got Fred to answer a few questions on #theultimaterace.

Fred and his beloved Chocci. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Fred and his beloved Chocci.
Photo by Oakpics.com.

What keeps you coming back to the 36ONE?

Firstly the great vibe of this event and seeing all my cycling friends.

Secondly and more important of all is that this event is my highlight event of the year, as well as being on my bucket list to complete all 20 events when 36ONE celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2031, and then I will only be 84 yrs of age. It’s something to live for and look forward to, Lord willing!

Lastly and most important of all is my backup team consisting of my wife Ina and daughter Sharon and of course my Jack-Russell Chocci. They are my motivation and inspiration all the way!

What have you learnt about yourself while taking on the 36ONE six times?

This race has taught me to perservere, and never to give up, and that all things are possible.

Fred in action. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Fred in action.
Photo by Oakpics.com.

What do you know now which you wish you knew before you rode your first one?

I have learnt so much from this race and the two most important things for me that I wish I knew the first time I rode is to pace yourself properly and take control your mind, especially towards the end of the race.

What’s your favourite part of the route?

My favourite part of the race is the second stage from Leeublad to Volmoed.

I love riding in the night.

During the 2016 36ONE Fred clocked up his 5th finish. Photo by Jazz Kuschke.

During the 2016 36ONE Fred clocked up his 5th finish.
Photo by Jazz Kuschke.

Where does the going get the toughest for you and how do you overcome those tough challenges?

The toughest part of the route for me is definitely the last stage from Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn.

This stage is usually between 9h00 and 13h00 and also during the hottest time of the day, anything up to 40 degrees with the sun scorching down on your back and also feeling pretty exhausted at this stage.

This is where the mind game kicks in and you have to remain positive and take control of any negative thoughts of pain and discomfort and perservere knowing that that the end is near!  Time to Vasbyt and pray!!

Sounds crazy but it works for me.