By Michael Vlismas.
You could say leading economist Dawie Roodt approaches mountain biking much like he does the stock market. Bank a good deal of highs, limit the losses, grow your interest, and if you have to bailout on a nasty piece of singletrack then know exactly what your abandonment value is. But most of all, especially when it comes to enjoyment, be sure to secure an abnormal rate of return.
Roodt climbed into the saddle for his first experience of the Glacier Cradle Traverse three-day stage race at the Avianto Lifestyle Estate in the Cradle of Humankind early in April. It followed his enjoyment of the Glacier Storms River Traverse in the Eastern Cape last year, and the man who seems to have more gears to his levels of enthusiasm than most of us thoroughly enjoyed rocking The Cradle.
“I loved the Glacier Storms River Traverse. It was so well organised, and because the spirit there was so great, when I heard about the Glacier Cradle Traverse I immediately signed up. It was exactly the same experience. It’s a tough race, but not impossible. But the spirit that goes with it really makes it. The whole atmosphere is incredible,” says Roodt, who rode the event with his Efficient Group business partner Heiko Weidhase, and they took the overall honours in the Corporate Team category.
“I never believed I’d win anything involving a bicycle, but it looks like we got lucky. We must have been the only corporate team, which explains why we won. But seriously, I think the secret was we improved our position every single day.”
But it’s the team spirit of this event, which is now in its second year and growing in popularity, that Roodt believes makes it such a great experience, and a worthwhile one even from a business point of view.
“I rode with my business partner. We’ve known each other for several years and built a big company together of which we’re very proud. It’s good to do something like this with your business partner because you get to know each other in a different environment and it’s important to do so. It’s important for your business as well.”
The Glacier Cradle Traverse prides itself on presenting a three-day stage race that is not too technically difficult and can be enjoyed by riders with a variety of skill levels.
“But don’t underestimate it. It’s not a very difficult race, but it does present its challenges. It’s not just a walk in the park. You must have trained properly. You can’t just arrive and try it out because you won’t make it.”
The route through the Cradle of Humankind in Muldersdrift has impressed even the elite riders who take part, and Roodt also identified this as one of his highlights.
“The whole route is beautiful. I didn’t think there are such beautiful spots in Johannesburg. And the water tables were another highlight. They serve everything from craft beer to ostrich fillet, and you can stand around and chat with people at the tables. There’s a calm atmosphere at the water tables that you don’t get at other races. At a lot of other stage races the riders really rush through the tables, but here they take their time. And then the evenings are also a highlight where you can relax with friends and go through the photos from the day.”
So what’s next for the man who makes it his business to chase results?
“I must have a challenge to work towards. At this point I’m working towards doing my first Half Ironman in June. So this was a wonderful training session for the Half Ironman.”
Clearly, Roodt’s investment in his mountain biking is providing a healthy rate of return at the moment.