The Voice, The Sharks and The Cows all set for Sharks Trail Adventure

With another big field entered for the STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure on Sunday 3 December, families can look forward to a full day of mountain biking and trail running before relaxing and enjoying the holiday atmosphere at the Summerveld Estate with live music and members of the Cell C Sharks on hand to spend time with their fans.

With a special Sunday edition of the Shongweni Farmers Market under the plane trees providing an ideal opportunity to browse for food, drink and special Christmas gifts, the popular family fun day will feature live music on stage from Durban star of The Voice Freddy L.

“We are really looking forward to this gig ,” said Freddy L, who has a loyal following as the frontman of the popular group The Subway Run, and will be performing as a duo with his wife at the Shongweni event.

“People can look forward to a laid back, stripped down acoustic set, with touches of the music of the Lumineers, Kings of Leon and Majozi, reworked for a chilled Sunday afternoon,” he added.

Cell C Sharks players will be on hand throughout the day to meet their fans, including the likes of Jacques Vermeulen, Tera Mthembu, Franco Marais, Ryno Smith, Garth April, Keegan Daniel and new signing Rob du Preez Jnr.

Adding their own unique brand of fun to the event are the feisty men and women of The Cows, who will be manning seconding tables at the trail running and MTB races.

Well known for their furry Cow suits, which they wear while taking part in almost every major sporting event in the country, The Cows use their passion for endurance events to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The organisation was founded at the 947 Cycle Challenge ten years ago, and they have just passed the R30 million mark raised to support the CHOC initiatives, and they fund CHIOC Houses at many state hospital that allow parents to stay with their children while they are undergoing cancer treatment.

“We had the STIHL Sharks Trail on our radar as we are all crazy riders and runners,” said local organisers of The Cows in KZN Iris Varty.

“When the Impi team approached us to handle the seconding tables, we jumped at it. This was we are out on the trails having fun and at the same time adding to the fundraising for CHOC in our tenth anniversary year,” she added.

The Cows are aiming to raise R10 million to commemorate their tenth year of existence.

Late entries can be done on the day of the race, once the online entries close at midday on the Wednesday 29th November. A 15% family discount applies to four or more entries.

Entry for the various events is now open via the ROAG website www.roag.co.za

The 2017 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summerveld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday 3 December.

Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.sharkstrailadventure.co.za.

 

Gutsy Winston Park couple make a bold CHOC statement at Amashova

Winston Park couple Michelle and Oliver Sinclair were amongst the thousands who rode the recent Tsogo Sun Amashova cycle race, but they made a bold statement in the black and white cycling gear of The Cows as championed the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation that has become very close to their hearts.

Oliver, or Ollie as he is known to those close to him, is a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer and rode in a specially modified hand cycle, with his wife Michelle on hand to help during the 35km race to Durban.

“Ollie has basically the left hand side of his body to use and his balance is not good, so he has ridden the Amashova in his hand cycle three times now. But this was the first time that we have done it for The Cows,” said Michelle Sinclair.

“While he was getting treatment in hospital Ollie was in the paediatric ward and saw first-hand what children go through when getting cancer treatment,” she added.

“To experience what a difference it makes to let kids have their families with them while they are getting cancer treatment really struck home, so we were proud to ride the Amashova for CHOC. It feels fantastic to be part of something that really makes a difference,” she said.

The hand cycle played into Ollie hands on the steep descents, but took a lot of extra effort to get up the hills, where Michelle used the bar on the back of the hand cycle to help push him to the summit of each hill.

“When you are cycling, the downhills are usually the time to rest, but not with Ollie,” said Michelle. “We were doing over 80km/h going down Fields Hills and I was pedalling like mad to try and keep up with him!”

The ride turned into a much tougher outing than they were expecting after a mishap close to the finish.

“We were actually doing really well and got to Tollgate in less than an hour, but then Ollie got a flat tyre, and with the very unusual tyres on his hand cycle, we couldn’t repair it.

“We agreed that we weren’t going to give up, having come this far, so he rode on the flat tyre all the way to the finish,” said Michelle.

She said that the support from fellow riders and spectators had kept them going.

“Wherever you go in The Cows kit, you get a special reaction. It is amazing and very humbling to be able to go out and raise awareness for CHOC at an event like the Amashova.

The Sinclair family have become stand-out supporters of The Cows. Their son Tyler got a special award from the Winston Park Primary School for raising R11 000 for CHOC through a passionate fundraiser that started with pooling all his pocket money.

Paddling Cows make hay while the sun shines at 2017 Fish

The Paddling Herd of the sport-loving fundraisers The Cows made a striking debut at the 2017 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, launching the canoeing arm of the well-established cycling, swimming and running body, and raising a large amount for cancer related charities.

Paddling in their distinctive black-and-white Cow kit, the inauguration of the paddling Herd attracted 25 Cows in 11 boats to take on the 82 kilometre, two-day event, one of the highlights of the annual paddling calendar.

In the process they managed to raise over R120 000 through the novel fundraising tools championed by The Cows, with more donations, pledges and sponsorships still coming in.

“The Fish and The Cows are a great fit,” said Daisy, the chief organisers behind The Cows. “This is the one canoeing event in the year where fun is a top priority, which is exactly the same way that we do business at The Cows.”

“We support the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, and as October is Cancer Awareness Month, this added value to what we set out to do.

“The race has done a fantastic job of supporting the Cradock Cancer Care Unit over the years, and we were delighted to be able to divert some of the funds that we raised to this important facility as well,” said Daisy.

“The entire collaboration with the race committee was so positive, right from the outset, and I hope we can build on this in years to come,” she added.

The Cows went about their business in typically raucous fashion and made a big impact on the race, in the hope that they could spur-on more paddlers to join the Paddling Herd at the other major races during the summer.

“We are ordinary men and women who use the chance to do what we love to make a difference to the lives of children battling cancer.

“I hope we can welcome more paddlers to join the Herd for some of the big races in the future, like the N3TC Drak and the FNB Dusi,” she said.

The Paddling Herd had an ideal pre-Fish warm up at the VKB Liebenbergsvlei marathon a few weeks before the Fish, where the tone was set for the fun and festivity that will be synonymous with the canoeing arm of The Cows.

The launch of the Paddling Herd of The Cows coincides with the tenth anniversary of the popular sporting “fun-draisers” during which time they hope to raise R10 million for CHOC.

The Cows turn to Yoga Na-Moo-Ste fundraiser

As they rally behind the challenge to raise R10 million to celebrate their tenth year of existence, The Cows in Gauteng turned to yoga for a day of relaxation and a new way to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Traditionally focused on major events like the upcoming Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, the upcountry Cows converged on the quiet pastures of the Jeppe Quondam cricket fields in Bedfordview for a morning of yoga aimed at anyone, from hardened expert yogis to total novices.

It produced an event of typical mirth, led by expert yogini Allison van Veijeren as over fifty women took part in the “Na-Moo-Ste” gathering, raising close to R10 000 in the process.

“We are trying to prove that we are not just about cycling,” said The Cows herdmistress Daisy, before packing up to lead the herd down to the Fish River Canoe Marathon in Cradock.

Each of the participants found novel ways to contribute to the fundraiser, over and above paying the fee to take part in the morning yoga session.

Michelle Cook added to the days fundraising success by baking novel Cow biscuits and then added an eye-catching Cow “Christmoo cake” that is currently being raffled.

Pinetown schoolboy stars at 100 Miles of Nowhere

Pinetown schoolboy Jayden Moolman emerged as the unsung hero from the recent gruelling 100 Miles of Nowhere charity bike ride on static training bikes held by The Cows.

The gusty 13 year old pupil from St Benedicts is a keen member of Westville Cycling club, and takes on road races and mount bike events whenever he can.

He got his first taste of 100 Miles Of Nowhere last year when he stepped in to help out teams at the Westville Cadence Cycle Performance Centres.

This year he committed to raising the R1000 needed to secure a bike for annual fundraiser for a team of his friends calling themselves “The Calves”.

Starting with R250 from his pocket money, he rallied together family friends and colleagues, and together with local businesses, he managed to raise over R5000, including securing R3000 from local business Panel Rite Autobody Repairers.

He and his fellow team mates rode courageously and completed the 160 kilometres in an impressive time.

That Friday night was also the annual ROAG prize giving where Moolman was due to get the prize for finishing third sub-junior in the series. Not only did he miss that function to be able to ride the 100 Miles of Nowhere, but he also gave his cash prize to the CHOC fundraiser as well.

“Jayden has the right attitude to his cycling,” said his proud mother Janice Moolman. “He believes in having fun and believes in good sportsmanship always… on a good or bad day! He also wants to use his talent for charity.”

“Sometimes the real heroes of an event like this come from unexpected places,” said organiser of the KZN Herd of The Cows Iris Varty.

“The Calves are such a clear reminder of what we set out to do as The Cows. To have a lot of fun, yes, but more importantly to go that extra mile doing what we love to be able to make a difference to children battling cancer. Jayden was the hero of the day!”

More information can be found at www.100milesofnowhere.co.za

The Cows size up 100 Miles of Nowhere

Unable to turn their backs on a sporting challenge, a die-hard band of cycling bovines will square up to the task of riding 160 kilometres on a static training bicycle this Friday as their contribution to The Cows fundraiser for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The South African edition of the famous 100 Miles Of Nowhere was started by The Cows in 2011, emulating the iconic fundraiser started by American blogger and cycling enthusiast Eldon Nelson, and has been held at Cadence Cycle Performance Centres around the country.

With a jam-packed calendar and a number of logistical challenges presenting themselves, there was chatter in the herd of The Cows about cancelling the 2017 100 Miles of Nowhere, but the Westville-based core of the herd would have nothing of it, and will tackle the task en masse on Friday afternoon 29 September, starting at 12:30pm.

“The last two years the Westville cadence studio has been jam-packed for the 100 Miles Of Nowhere,” said manager and head coach Matt Wickham.

“When it was decided not to run it at a national level this year, we gave the KZN herd the opportunity to run it as a stand-alone event at the Westville studio, and they jumped at it,” he said.

“They are an incredibly energetic and lively bunch, to say the least,’ he added.

Of the twenty bikes set up at the Westville studio, ten have already been booked for the annual fundraiser.

“We are taking entries of teams, basically any number of riders as not everyone is as fit as they would like to be at this time of year,” he said.

With The Cows having set a national target of R10 million to be raised for CHOC to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Cows, the sporting enthusiasts are using every opportunity to nudge their national fundraiser closer to that lofty tally.

More information can be found at www.100milesofnowhere.co.za

New Swazi Cow runs across the Kingdom for CHOC on his birthday

As The Cows work towards their lofty goal of raising R10 million for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation in 2017 to celebrate their tenth anniversary, the latest cow to ‘The Herd’, Swazi fun-lover Nathi Simelane, decided to spend his 34th birthday running 70 kilometres across Swaziland to add his contribution to the snowballing fundraising effort.

Most of The Cows are avid sportsmen and women, but Simelani openly admits that taking on the challenge to run from his home to the Swaziland Ngwenya/Oshoek Border Post, and then down to Malandela’s Farm Restaurant & Pub was as much about trying to get back into shape as it was a fundraiser for CHOC.

“I discovered two rather disturbing facts the other day,” said Simelane. “One – I can no longer see my toes when I look down, but that’s obviously because I’m getting old and my sight is going…or my feet are shrinking due to the same fact.

“Two – All my jeanpant are getting really tight around the waist. Obviously the wife buys that cheap washing powder, which shrinks everything….or she washes with cold water to save electricity,” he chirped.

“So, in order to regain my youth and fit comfortably into my pants, I’ve decided to embark on a small mission to help me accomplish this somewhat difficult feat,” he added.

Simelane first encountered the work done by The Cows on social media before making a personal connection.

“I saw The Cows online doing fundraising for CHOC, and then found out that my friend Lynne is part of the Herd…and the rest is history,” says Simelane.

“I have previously done two fundraisers here, for the Swazi Breast and Cervical Cancer Network and the New Hope Centre, and each fundraiser encompassed one leg of the route, so I decided to go big and combine them!” he added.

So with just his wife in support, he formally joined the Herd and was sent his black and white Cow running kit, while he started badgering all his contacts on social media to contribute towards his run.

On 16 September, with his wife supporting him, Simelane set off at midnight, and reached the end of his journey early in the afternoon.

“I attracted quite a lot of attention on the road and on Facebook…but then again, if you saw somebody running around dressed as a cow….” recalls Simelane.

“It got to 35 degrees at about 11 o’clock so as you can imagine, I was well impressed with life at that point.” he added.

He took to Facebook straight away after reaching the finish, exhorting his online friends to make a contribution. “Thank you guys! it was a long day out. Now you must pay. I don’t punish myself for nothing…c’mon….cough up!”

His friends responded, and helped make up the basic pledge take by any athlete keen to don The Cows gear for CHOC by raising at least R6000 for CHOC.

“It has been unbelievable to follow Nathi’s adventure from a distance,” said Daisy, the convener of The Cows. “Not only is he one of our newest members, but he looks to have sown the seed for a whole new Herd of The Cows in Swaziland.

“Nathi’s adventure really sums up the slogan of The Cows – “Love Living Life”, and we are really proud of what he achieved, and started for The Cows in Swaziland,” she added.

GABRAN 2017 sets a new record for The Cows

A group of around 120 cyclists braved the icy weather to take part in the annual GABRAN (Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Natal), hosted by the Westville Cycle Club from the 18th to 20th August, helping to set a new record for money raised for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The passionate sportsmen and women of The Cows individually raised money through raffles and personal pledges, helping to collect R185 000 that will go towards The Cows national target of R10 million for 2017.

Just 24 hours after the cold front swept over KwaZulu-Natal, blanketing the mountains in snow, the group of cyclists took to the roads from ATKV in Drakensville for the three day ride to Hillcrest, with two overnight stops on route.

“It was by the far the coldest it has been over the last four years since the return of GABRAN,” said The Cows co-ordinator Lynne Mcrae.

“But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the cyclists, as they were out there riding for the cause, to raise as much mooo-lah as possible for CHOC.

“This year, there were a number of youngsters who braved the meandering roads and a few steep hills to do their bit for a super hero they have never met,” said Mcrae.

“The cyclists and our GABRAN friends did not disappoint and helped us raise a staggering R185 000, better the R150 000 we raised last year.”

Since The Cows got involved with GABRAN in 2014, they have raised R570 000 for CHOC in four years.

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to Westville Cycle Club Chairman and Chairlady, Kelvin and Corinne du Sart, who are always ready to support the cause, and indeed the sport of cycling that they are so passionate about,” she concluded.

More information can be found at www.gabran.co.za 

Spring Family Day Ride set to get Durban mooo-ving

Cycling enthusiasts will be celebrating the onset of spring on Saturday 2 September with a Spring Day Family Ride in Durban that will also channel it’s energy into a fundraiser for The Cows and their ongoing drive to support the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Starting and finishing the Pick n Pay Hypermarket Durban North, the ride gets under way at 6:30 am and the riders are encouraged to come dressed up to celebrate Spring Day, and will get a hot cup of coffee and large muffin for their R50 entry donation.

The ride will be carefully managed by the organising team from Cycle Specialists, ensuring that all the road crossings on the out-and-back course to La Lucia are closed to traffic when the group of riders pass.

“Doing good is good business. We Support and participate in our communities,” said Kevin Goosen, the general manager of the Pick n Pay Hypermarket.

The hosts at the Pick n Pay Hypermarket have laid on a number of lucky draw prizes as well for entrants with a Smart Shopper card, with a quick card registration site available at the store to assist participants.

The Cows have raised over R29 million for CHOC in the past nine years, and have set a lofty target of R10 million in 2017 to celebrate their tenth anniversary.

“September is Childhood Cancer awareness month, and their slogan is ‘Go For Gold’, so participants are encouraged to ride wearing a gold ribbon that will be available to buy at the start,” said Iris Varty, one of the conveners of the KZN Herd of The Cows.

She added that there will be CHOC merchandise available to buy at the start as well, to contribute to the days fundraising drive.

“Kids will be able to interact with the two CHOC mascots at the store, and the serious Cows will also be in their furry Cow suits,” she added.

There will also be a short Kids Fun Ride on a safe track in the parking lot of the Pick n Pay Hypermarket Durban North. All riders should wear cycling helmets to be able to participate. Participating children will also be eligible for luck draw  prizes after the ride.

There is no pre-entry. Registration can be done at the Pick n Pay Hyper Durban North between 3pm and 7pm on Friday afternoon 1 September or from 5:30 on Saturday morning 2 September.

The Cows’ Believe MTB race celebrates it’s seventh year

Mountain biking fans from around the country will converge on Northern Farm outside Fourways for the seventh edition of one of the most unique races on the calendar, the Believe MTB Race and an important fundraiser for The Cows and their ongoing drive to support the Childhood Cancer Foundation CHOC.

The Believe MTB Race set a new record for entries for a debut event when it was launched in 2009 by Marc and Charlie Bainbridge when it attracted over 1400 riders, and has matched this level of support every year since then, thanks mainly due to the heavy emphasis on fun.

Riders have traditionally been presented with a glass at the finish instead of a medal, often accompanied by a celebratory ‘shot’, reflecting the antics that are typical at the shooters table stationed at the water tables on the route.

Dress-up is almost mandatory, and the day’s most prestigious award is the Mad Mulley’s Award for the best dressed person.

Seven years on, the Believe MTB Race has grown into something of a Gauteng institution, and even though the Bainbridges have moved to Mbombela, the race will continue in it’s zany format.

Marc and Charlie Bainbridge joined The Choc Cows in 2008, and after creating the Believe MTB race as their way of creating funds for the cause, Marc joined the Cows committee in 2010 to further assist wherever possible.

“Marc’s brother Craig came back from Dubai after he was diagnosed with cancer, and we started fundraising for his treatment with Marc riding to Cape Town. We then decided we would start our own annual fundraiser for The Cows, and decided to do a totally different mountain bike race.

Craig always had the word ‘Believe” tattooed across his chest, as a mantra he lived by, which is where we got the name for the mountain bike race,” she added.

“The Cows do things totally differently, so we set out to put together a race that was based heavily on fun. We encourage riders to come dressed up, but The Cows need very little encouraging to do that anyhow!

“The shooter tables have become pretty legendary as well, and while we always get a number of the top elite riders coming to do the race every year, they understand that there is no big cheque for them at the end because this is all about raising money for The Cows.

She says that having to relinquish control of the race when they moved east was difficult.

“It has been an act of family labour for the last six years, “ says Bainbridge. “I am a control freak, so offloading the race was really hard. We had a big say in how we wanted the race to be run going forward, to make sure the ethos remains the same. By bringing in the right partner in Richard Beswick and Illumin8, riders will be guaranteed an even better race going forward” she added.

The event on 30 September will once again offer skilled riders a testing 55km course with technical demands and flowing single track, while the 25km and 10km races are far easier and less technically demanding.

“We really want everyone to get involved, so there is also a 1km ‘race’ to get the little ones in on the action as well,” she said.

More information can be found at https://www.believeproject.co.za/about-believe  and https://www.facebook.com/believe.bainbridge