When Cullinan 2 Tonteldoos Founder, Rob van den Bergh, received a call from fellow riders Theuns Koch, Martin Taylor and Jaco van Zyl all wishing to do some sort of virtual 260 km ride on the original date of the C2T, Advendurance immediately jumped into action and decided to take the event to the riders!
The virtual Cullinan 2 Tondeldoos Lockdown Challenge was born and we were instantaneously overwhelmed by the positive response of over 300 riders registering for this event. The appeal of entering a ‘real’ challenge in your own home seemed to spread like wildfire and we had entries from riders in Cape Town, Estcourt, Bloemfontein, various towns and cities across South Africa, and even some international riders!
Race numbers were issued, a virtual rider “check-in” was created, the leader board was set up and riders set off on that Friday afternoon of 17 April at 15h00 on the monumental challenge to cover the distance in a small room or on their patio!
The challenge was to ride 260 km on their trainers in 24 hours (the same time and distance as the actual race), which pushed their physical and especially their mental limits. Any type of cycling trainer or device that could measure distance qualified. The youngest rider was 14, the oldest rider 65 and the longest distance recorded was 600km!
This opportunity gave experienced and inexperienced riders the opportunity to ride with a virtual support group, clock in at virtual water points and take well deserved breaks in the comfort of their homes. The WhatsApp group we created proved to be the most amazing tool to bring everyone together and create a race vibe in the virtual world none of us has experienced before! Riders and their support groups posted videos, pictures and encouraging messages continuously. Even though the event was virtual, the interaction between riders and supporters were simply amazing. People made new friends and shared a great deal of experience, knowledge, tips and tricks!
The actual Cullinan 2 Tonteldoos MTB Ultra Single Stage event will take place on 6 and 7 November 2020 and will take riders and their support crews over 260 km of unmarked district roads. The journey starts from Cullinan in Gauteng to Tonteldoos, a small settlement in Mpumalanga. This race is exceptional because it takes you from the afternoon straight through the night and into the next day.
We have learned through this virtual event that there are no barriers to people’s tenacity and their willingness to overcome seemingly impossible tasks, as well as their positive attitudes toward the country’s lockdown regulations.
We awarded prizes to riders in some rather unconventional categories like: Best Motivational Video, Best Supporters Video, Best Introduction Video, Best ‘Wrap’ Video, Best Series Of Progress Videos, Best ‘Vibe’ Picture, Best Supporters Picture, Best ‘Sufferfest’ Picture and Best Waterpoint Picture.
This certainly created one of the most memorable races any of the riders have ever experienced!