Thursday, October 28, 2010

First blind person to participate in next year's Cape Epic bike race in South Africa

From Times Live in S. Africa:

Blind adventurer and motivational speaker, Hein Wagner, will take on next year's Cape Epic with experienced cyclist Gerrie Olivier as Team Pragma Beyond Vision. It will be the first time a blind person participated in the extreme endurance event.

Gerrie Olivier, managing director of Pragma Acuity and four-time Epic finisher, has invited Wagner to be his partner. They will compete on a tandem mountain bike with the goal to complete each day.

"I'm a keen cyclist but due to my work commitments, I don't ride to win but rather to enjoy it and keep fit. This will be a brand new challenge for me, something that I thrive on, and it's heart warming that we'll be doing it for a good cause, raising funds in the process," said Olivier.

Wagner has set aside the fact he has been totally blind from birth to live a fulfilling and abundant life and never hesitates or stands back for any challenge.

"I've taken on many daring adventures such as mountain climbing, sailing from Cape Town to Rio, running several marathons and becoming the fastest blind driver in the world (he holds the world land speed record for a blind driver), but this will definitely be the most physically challenging event I've take on to date.

"Seven hundred and seven kilometres over eighty days will not be easy, especially not over the kind of terrain that even sighted cyclists struggle with."

However, he has total confidence in his pilot. "Gerrie is an experienced, skilled and sometimes daring cyclist.

"A specially adapted Cannondale mountain bike tandem, better known as 'Worshond' will be put through its paces and in preparation, we recently completed a 100km mountain bike race. Although all went well and we finished in good time (5:25), we both agree there are still lots to be done."