Breaking barriers newbie to racing the Cape Epic

Team Wintergreens

“This sport is so beautiful” Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius

Elrika Harmzen-Pretorius has only been cycling for 4 years, however in that short period she has started a movement to inspire, connect and empower women on bikes ( Project Barrier Breakers ) and she has transitioned from riding events to competitively racing events.

Elrika will be riding the Absa Cape Epic with Lehane Oosthuizen as Team Wintergreen-Abus (BB), Lehane has been riding for 6 years and has results in XCO nationally and 2nd in the Cape Pioneer Solo Cat 2018.

The Cape Epic is a gruelling event, the key to a successful race is “the partnership”. As each stage comes to the cut-off time at the end of a tough day of riding and the last riders roll over the finish line, you will hear the old timers of the event comment on which teams will make it and which won’t, simply based on the dynamics of the partnership. Elrika and Lehane used the recent PE to Plett stage races to “gel” as a team and workout race strategy in preparation for the Cape Epic. “It was super nice racing with Elrika, we share the same strengths and get along really well. She is one tough lady!” Lehane.

“We are both being coached by Barry Austin, so we share the same racing strategies and exercise regime”, “Barry’s input has been exceptional!” Lehane

Barry has guided Elrika’s transition from riding events to racing events and with great success. The relationship between coach and athlete is instrumental in the growth and success of a cyclist and Barry seems to be like an alchemist transforming and creating through a seemingly magical process.

“I personally love the process of learning how to race…. I don’t think all women want to race” Elrika “There is another part that people miss and that includes meeting other people when riding your bike and just having fun while on your bike with friends”

The Wintergreen Barrier Breakers squad is a team of women to watch and to be inspired by, but more importantly to celebrate International Women’s Day get out there and try something new, get a bike, enter a race, ride new trails, enter a stage race….. break some barriers.

Remember to follow Team Wintergreen-Abus at the Cape Epic, download the Epic Series app and follow their achievements daily.