StepOutChallenge: Sani2C

The year is flying past us and with event season coming up, more and more of the Sox Footwear #StepOutChallenge goals will be smashed. This past weekend Francois Theron attended Sani2C and completed one of his goals. 

One of Francois’s challenges for the year was: “I am also entered for the Sani2C and can’t wait to ride the Sani Pass for the first time and have a cold one at the top.”

Here’s what went down at the 2022 Sani2C: 

Sani2C is a 3-day mountain bike stage race that starts close to Himeville at the base of the Sani Pass in KZN and rides through the Umkomaas Valley down to the coast at Scottsburg.

What inspired you to take on this race specifically? 

Gordon and I needed a challenge to motivate us to get back to top shape as work-life balance was going the wrong direction with family and work taking top priority. Also, this event specifically is always a highlight as I have so many great memories riding it over the years, it was one of the events that springboarded my professional career as a Mountain Biker, in the inaugural event we ended up in second place with Fritz Pienaar, I was only 16year years old. In the following years, I also raced with Max Knox and Mr Africa, Mannie Heymans. 

When did you start training for this event? 

Ironically my training didn’t ever start as I’ve been battling the flu for the past months and focusing on work & time with my kids. I went into the event with an average training of 2.5 hours a week, but luckily I have some good muscle memory.

What were your goals for this event? 

Gordon and I initially wanted a top 10 but we realised it wouldn’t be possible with the amount of training we did prior to the event so we reset and decided to have a good time riding hard when we can and having fun was the main goal.

What's your pre-event psych up song? 

Hot Air Balloon Don Diablo& AR/CO, then some good old The Killers

What do you typically pack for this type of event? 

Seeing that we are camping and limited to a black crate to fit your life into you have to be very considerate and pack lite: Expanding pillow, sleeping bag, toiletries, two sets of shoes (one set always gets wet early mornings), towel, toiletries, 3 sets of cycling kit, USWE hydration pack with spare, USN nutrition, lots of Sox! Chamois cream, 3 sets of gloves, 2 sets of sunglasses, 5 sets of casual clothes, jacket and a cap, Raincoat, cycling shoes, helmet, power bank to charge essentials, torch, I forgot a headlamp!

What sock design did you decide to go with?

We raced with the new sox footwear kit that comes with matching socks, we got so many compliments! Off the bike, I went with the SA flag, and our heritage collection's favourite was the Xhosa socks. 

The aftermath:

How was the experience? 

Feeling much fitter and motivated after the event, keeping the Fitness form for the next stage race in Zambia next month!

How did Sox help you on your journey? 

At the event there were multiple wetlands we had to cross, the quick-drying socks were a massive bonus and the fact that they didn’t fall down as the other socks helped. 

Any advice for someone thinking about doing a stage race like Sani2C?  

Don’t underestimate the physical toughness of this event. I will suggest training consistently daily rather than doing single big days. Align with your teammate, as you are only as strong as the weakest rider. Pack in advance and sort out your daily clothes in bags. 

What's next for you? 

Racing the 1-Zambia race in early June new country and an experience I’m looking forward to! Apart from that, I have started a new challenge of riding hard enduro motorbikes, it’s a completely new world for me and I’m feeling like a fool, but the progress and excitement is super rewarding. I would love to do a multi-stage Enduro event in Lesotho like the roof, this year or next year!

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