An incredible week of racing and teamwork saw Tumelo Makae and Cherie Redecker maintain a win in all 5 stages of the Swiss Epic, thus ultimately securing the first place on the podium in the mixed team category for #pumpforpeace and Velosolutions in this year’s legendary Swiss race.
We caught up with them post-race to get a first-hand breakdown of their experience during the 2020 version of this epic 5-day stage race…
What have you taken from the event?
Cherie: The Swiss Epic exceeded my expectations. There are so many emotions from the event, especially since we were able to race during the current circumstances. What was really special for me and kept me motivated through the challenging stages was riding for a purpose like #pumpforpeace. I really hope we are able to inspire and make a difference to the #pumpforpeace communities.
The event was a great reminder of how much sport brings people together.
Tumelo: What I have taken from the event is the experience and that people were interested in what we were doing for #pumpforpeace, there were really good and friendly people at the event and I really enjoyed it.
How was it racing for you in a mixed team?
Cherie: It’s been a fun change racing in a mixed team. Tumelo is such a humble athlete and his perspective and energy for life was motivating. We worked really well together from the beginning which made the racing so much more enjoyable. In the last two stages, I really struggled to keep up the pace on the long climbs and was so grateful to have a stronger partner who could give me a little bit of a push so I could recover.
Tumelo: It was my first time ever racing in a mixed team and I think it went well, honestly my teammate can push herself really hard and she taught me that I always have to eat, that’s why I think it kept me hydrated throughout the week.
How did you find it racing in the mountains?
Cherie: I love racing in the mountains with breathtaking views and never-ending trails. Climbing longer than an hour is something I need to get used to. If I get to race again next year, I will definitely do more climbing training and maybe try to prepare at altitude. The support along the route from the farmers and people from the villages was amazing.
Tumelo: I am used to racing in the mountains anyway, the only difference was having to climb a lot every day and it was really hard, probably all trails were tough and had there own way of being challenging. I can say I liked all of them but the first day was amazing trails, my teammate and I pushed ourselves past our limits.
Which was your favourite day and trail?
Cherie: There were so many amazing trails over the 5 days of the Swiss Epic. The two trails that really stood out for me, were the Nagens and Runca trail on stage 1. The trails were so diverse, from flowy berms to rocky and rooty descents. Even though I felt like I could hardly hold on to my handlebars towards the end, I could not stop smiling from the adrenaline rush.
What is really great about the Nagens Trail is that it is the ”world’s first mountain bike trail that is built with 100% electric machinery, all charged with renewable energy.”