As a team, we are not very familiar with ultra distanced races or rides. Especially single staged attempts at anything over 200 kilometers. Matthys Beukes, has gone and made a change to this statement, claiming 1000 kilometers over 5 days and 3 hours.
That's 200 kilometers, every day around his own house. A new first for Matthys and our team. On the 11th of April, Matthys took on a challenge many other South African professional athletes have also shared in, 24 Hours around his garden during the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown. An attempt to ride for 24 hours in close proximity is surely a big challenge for any person.
Matthys rode extremely well and conquered the ride. Completing a total of 260 kilometers in a total of 21 riding hours. This attempt landed him a few interviews and some considerable achievements during these challenging times. But, two weeks later Matthys went searching for something much bigger.
Riding for a personal achievement like 24 hours straight is surely satisfying and emotional for anyone. Add about 750 kilometers and a good cause, and things weigh much more. It roots deeper and becomes important to thousands, maybe millions of people in the rainbow nation.
That is exactly what Matthys has done. He has given hope to people that felt hopeless at times. People that felt left behind.
Before embarking on a mission like this, choosing the right organisation is crucial to the effect of the funds raised during the event. That is exactly why Matthys chose the Humanitarian Empowerment Fund NPC as the related cause.
The HEF is a South African group of individuals who have committed themselves towards assistance in helping those who do not have the means to help themselves during the countrywide lockdown. HEF operates in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Areas include the West Rand, Rand West, Westonaria, Elsies River and Bloekombos. HEF is partnered with NIKA Capital for the raising of funds during this challenge.
Matthys started his challenge on Tuesday, the 28th of April 2020 and finished it 5 days later. Included in his challenges of rain and mud, Matthys also overcame sleep deprivation and many physical challenges, including blistered hands and intense muscle pain. Matthys concluded his ride with some very meaningful and passionate words.
The first day around his garden was surely one of the biggest challenges for Matthys during his attempt. Matthys lives in George, South Africa. An area well-known for cold and rainy conditions. Not the perfect way to start the challenge.
As mud packed up on Matthys' bike during his first day of riding, he didn't achieve his goal of averaging 17 kilometers per hour. He averaged only 14 kilometers per hour, creating his first mental battle. An addition to the numerous stops to clean his drivetrain and bike for optimal riding.
Which he immediately stated on an Instagram story, also laying claim that "tomorrow is a new day”. Matthys is well known for his positivity, willingness and going the extra mile when times get tough.
Matthys completed the distance of a Nissan TRAILSEEKER and an Attakwas Extreme, raising over R 10,000 towards struggling families in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating financial impact.
The second day of Matthys' ride started off better, with the course drying up and conditions looking better. During a challenge like this, saving time means riding until 11 PM and getting up at 3 AM to continue pushing on to make up time and distance.
Matthys set goals for this challenge, also hoping that this would encourage donations and also a social sharing as the challenge continues. Below are a few images of challenges that Matthys had overcome over the 5 days.
During the second day of the challenge, Matthys also started facing mental challenges due to the constant remembrance of his current km's. The media updates then became increasingly difficult, leaving Matthys' wife, Michele with the difficult task of balancing updates to the team and not intruding in the mental battle Matthys needed to overcome. Michele was a massive part of the attempt at 1000 kilometers. Ensuring her husband stayed hydrated and well fed to avoid any medical difficulties that might occur.
Although it might have been difficult at first, breaking up a massive effort like this into nine smaller pieces is great for one's mentality. This gave Matthys smaller distances to achieve before going for the two bigger chunks of riding. The first six, being the easiest and fastest goals to accomplish. What came thereafter was the more difficult goals. Each spaced out, almost as much as the first six goals after one another.
The last three goals is multi-day stage races, iconic to not only the South African mountain biking calendar. These races are world renowned for the toughness in distance and length. Each with their own distinct characteristics, features and stories.
Every moment of the first 3 days felt like a nightmare that I couldn’t get out of and I was looking for excuses to quit. With every passing moment, more and more people gave their support and in turn it motivated me to keep going. After 3 days of struggling, I realised that I wasn’t doing this on my own and that so many people are part of the support team, working together to make this project happen.
Getting off the bike at 00:30 and on it, two hours later on the fifth day isn't something I could've done on my own. When I saw how people climbed in backing my effort, fellow South Africans who not only believe in me, but believe in supporting one another. Something bigger stirred in my heart. This was a spiritual journey for me, and the message is that we need to stand together. It makes the impossible possible.
We will get through this. Just have faith. Matthys Beukes
Matthys has done a great deal for South Africans struggling during these difficult and uncertain times. Although he was on his bike for five days, Matthys said that he couldn't have done it without the huge group of people behind him. Every pedal stroke of the 1000 kilometers.
We want to encourage everyone reading this press-release to please continue to donate towards this cause. Even though Matthys has completed his 1000 kilometers, the fight for struggling families and individuals continue throughout South Africa.
& as Matthys said perfectly, "together, we can do anything”. Team PYGA Eurosteel