My build up to the Epic, started when I was 5 years old and knew I loved sport and that I would want to be a sport star. I was on my bike with side wheels every single day and did my first “race” as a display race for kids before a major track cycling event. I won and knew that I was addicted to that feeling of success.
I was born with a hole in my heart and doctors warned my parents, never to let me be to active….(from there my logo on my products: the heart with the hole in it). Needless to say, I didn’t listen and when I was old enough to realize it was how much you are willing to work at something, that also made me decided to study genetics to prove that you can achieve above what you were born with
Why I said that Epic started there, is because I believe that all the sacrifices that I made in my life for my sport, was part of the journey to conditioning my body. I did competitive sport since I was 13. Athletics, X-Country, Biathlon. From when I was 18, athletics, X-Country, road running, Biathlon. From 21: road running, Duathlon, Triathlon and from 30: Road Cycling and Mountain biking.
Nothing ever took priority above my sport, not even my studies. I resigned from my job in 1993 on an invitation to become a professional triathlete in the USA and Europe and I sold everything I could and took on the challenge. I have never looked back, won the World Triathlon Champs and got my National colors in 5 sport disciplines.
I would always do more laps in the pool, on the track or more hours on the bike as what I saw my competition did. I would train even harder during holidays, holiday days and would not go on any holiday where I could not train or take my bike.
I loved being called different and a nerd and a party pooper, because, my answer were always, “champions do not conform”
I have cried and failed and lived through many a disappointments, but there are ONLY two choices: giving up or keep on trying.
A journalist once asked me why I was so obsessed with winning and my answer was that I struggle to get obsessed about coming second.
I trained through school years, varsity years, working days, early mornings in the dark and late nights in the dark, but NEVER was any of those hardships not worth the feeling when I crossed any finish line.
Money can never buy my Epic experiences, hurt or joy, it all made up the wonderful journey and being the Last Lioness is an amazing honor and reward for me.
Obviously, my age has now started to interfere in my strength and power to compete against the top riders, but my heart hasn’t given up the competitiveness against myself and I try do be the best 53 year old that I can be and I train hard, not to become better than I was (that is impossible), but not to get weaker , faster than necessary LOL
If I have given my best and do not come first, it is better than to win without giving my best.
Hannele Steyn & Mike Nixon , two of the Last Lions of the Absa Cape Epic will riding the “Southern Cross” is a 1600km, 15 day Mountain Bike route with 23 000m of climbing which showcases the Western Capes unique geographic diversity, its rugged mountains, remote deserts, scenic passes and pristine coastline. The ride starts in historic Stellenbosch on 16th November 2019.
If you would like to join them for a stage, see the route and the starting points, a donation would be appreciated to the Food Bank