Interview: Kevin Benkenstein on The Munga

The Munga covers over a thousand kilometres non-stop from Bloemfontein to Wellington, through the heart of the sweltering Karoo. Riders faced soaring temperatures, scorching sun, endless corrugated farm roads, and a 40 kilometre an hour headwind for the majority of the route. Kevin Benkenstein finished fifth overall, after 3 days, 5 hours, and 44 minutes in the saddle. We caught up with him to find out more about the challenge.

The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 27.jpg

 

Not many people would be attracted to a race like the Munga. What drew you to the race in the first place?


The Munga is one of those "Why would you do that?" races. It is hard to start, let alone finish, and is something no one can really be sure of finishing. I like events like that. On top of that there was the chance to ride my bike for three days seeing our country in the best possible way. I think that is a pretty cool thing to do.

 

The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 5.jpg
The Munga 2016 Kevin Benkenstein JB Badenhorst 8.jpg

 

What was your weapon of choice: hardtail, dual suspension or gravel bike, and do you think it was the right call?


I rode a Specialized S-Works Epic 29 WC. For me that was the perfect choice. I chose wider 2.3 tyres which softened the really rough terrain nicely and had no body-failures, such as a sore back. The only change I would make would be to ride with TT bars for the flats, those seem to make a big difference.

 

The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 2.jpg

 

What sort of training (physically and mentally) do you do for a race of this kind?


I do 16-18hrs a week pretty consistently year round so I didn’t adjust my volume much, other than tapering into the ride. I did do a lot of long efforts in preparation though: 20-60min intervals. I wanted that real endurance strength and that is what works for me when I want to get that.

 

The Munga 2016 Kevin Benkenstein JB Badenhorst 9.jpg
The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 3.jpg

 

What was the hardest part of the race for you and how did you deal with it?


The race was 80% mental, that was definitely the hardest part. Not knowing the route, being alone for 700 kilometres of the ride, dealing with the heat and the fatigue were all really mental challenges. Whenever it got really tough I had to fight my mind to become positive again, as soon as that happened I would become strong. I dealt with that using consistent positive self reinforcement, reminding myself that I have always achieved the challenges that I have set myself and that there was nothing to stop me doing the same this time, other than my mind.

 

The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 55.jpg

 

What was your favourite aspect of The Munga?


The best part was being alone in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with every star in the sky visible and nothing but the noise of my tyres and breathing for company. I have never felt as at peace as right then.

 

The Munga 2016 JB Badenhorst 4.jpg

 

Will you be back anytime soon?


Yes, no doubt in my mind. I loved it and can’t wait to go back. The challenge will be different the second time around I am sure, but no less special. I love this race deeply.




11 Comments

Formallyknownas, Dec 14 2016 12:58

Lekker.

Capcha, Dec 14 2016 01:55

Ummmm...sorry but who is Kevin Benkenstein?

Rockrabbit, Dec 14 2016 02:15

Yeah... and why does he get to put his sweaty arse on the shop counter?

GAP, Dec 14 2016 03:41

Well done Kevin!!

Tubehunter, Dec 14 2016 03:48

Ummmm...sorry but who is Kevin Benkenstein?

 

Benky is a bit of endurance animal and well known for it in the KZN circles. He has done a couple of solo unsupported everesting efforts. He eats cement for breakfast and lives rule 5!

Shebeen, Dec 19 2016 09:10

Benky is a bit of endurance animal and well known for it in the KZN circles. He has done a couple of solo unsupported everesting efforts. He eats cement for breakfast and lives rule 5!

seems like the Edmund Hillary of our local everesting...so probably the right type of dude for Munga.

 

is he sponsored/supported by Spaz, or just a fanboi?

JanJan, Dec 19 2016 09:22

seems like the Edmund Hillary of our local everesting...so probably the right type of dude for Munga.

 

is he sponsored/supported by Spaz, or just a fanboi?

 

I think he is actually their South African Marketing Manager. He has 5 Spez bikes.

nonky, Dec 19 2016 09:22

seems like the Edmund Hillary of our local everesting...so probably the right type of dude for Munga.

 

is he sponsored/supported by Spaz, or just a fanboi?

 

Supported by Spez SA, as far as i know

Shebeen, Dec 19 2016 09:42

I think he is actually their South African Marketing Manager. He has 5 Spez bikes.

okee dokee, lucky him!

danger dassie, Dec 19 2016 10:44

Ummmm...sorry but who is Kevin Benkenstein?

 

Actually a well known rider and cycling personality who lives and breathes cycling, works for Specialized SA. Originally from KZN and based in Jhb. 
Does a huge amount of good for Qhubeka bikes with numerous everesting rides that are done around the country.

Slowbee, Dec 19 2016 10:53

Supported by Spez SA, as far as i know

I wonder if I can get him to call me ....... would it be wrong to ask for pedal assist advice ?

 

#promise not to use it on Munga ...