The name Namib is of Nama origin and means “vast place”, and this is exactly what more or less a thousand cyclists will be crossing when they tackle the world’s oldest desert this week.
The brave souls will be taking on the 2016 Nedbank Desert Dash, which sees them competing in a 24-hour race across the Namib Desert for 369kms between Windhoek and Swakopmund in Namibia.
To put into perspective the distance that will be traversed, is almost the same distance from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg (397,3km).
On top of the crazy distance, the cyclists will also have to endure the hostile environment, which will see extreme heat during the day and extreme cold in the evenings.
The race will start at altitude in the Namibian capitol city, Windhoek, then it’s over the Khomas Hochland for the riders and then across the world’s oldest desert.
The legendary mountain biker and three-time winner of the men’s solo race, Mannie Heymans, said that finishing the gruelling race is a very special feeling for him.
One person that will be tackling the Namib this week is Gerhard Beukes of Bloemfontein, and he will be doing this in aid of charity.
By his own admission, Beukes said that he is rather apprehensive ahead of his latest adventure.
Beukes told Courant that he isn’t feeling a 100% prepared but a commitment has been made and it is time to follow through.
Gerhard Beukes refuels with mountain water at Moolmanshoek during a 4Peaks recce run. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK
“I’m going with a friend of mine, Cobus Louw. He is actually the guy who got us into this. It started one morning with a training ride and then we started talking about the Desert Dash.
“He said he entered a spot, he tried for another one and got it. He offered me the spot and said that I have two hours to decide and pay the entry.
“At that time we thought we would have enough time to train, so I took it. Now it’s four months later and we haven’t trained nearly as much as we had in mind.”
“We’re going to go on previous muscle memory and we must just be mentally strong, because we are going to be out there for 20 to 24 hours.”
Beukes is a well-established runner and cyclist in the City of Roses so taking on an arduous task is nothing new, but this will be to the benefit of Child Welfare, which he says is something that is close to his heart.
“I would like to involve 2Change. Child Welfare is close to my heart and just as I did with the Watt Bike challenge, I would like to get guys on board to help us raise money.”
“There’s always money needed for causes. It will be fantastic if I can get people on board to say, ‘listen here, I’ll sponsor you per kilometre.’”
“EITHER ONE RAND, FIVE RAND, I DON’T CARE, EVEN 50 CENTS. EVERY CENT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO SOMEONE.”
The 2016 Nedbank Desert Dash in Namibia starts on Friday afternoon.