Self-confessed adventure addict Letshego Zulu has earmarked the three-day Liberty Waterberg Encounter mountain bike race as her next personal challenge.
The former Survivor South Africa contestant from Johannesburg is the widow of the late motor racing legend Gugu Zulu. Gugu Zulu passed away while climbing Kilimanjaro during the Trek4Mandela charity initiative last year.
Letshego said she was amped for her debut in the Waterberg event, which takes place near Bela-Bela in Limpopo from 9-11 June.
‘I’ve looked at the distances; they are doable compared to the other hectic things I have done,’ said the rider, who was recently appointed television host of the Global Touring Car Championship.
‘I have never ridden in the Limpopo region, so that will be a first. I’m looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.’
The event links the upmarket bush lodge at Sondela with Elements Private Golf Estate in a memorable 200-kilometre journey over some of the best mountain biking terrain in the north of the country.
Zulu, who has conquered both the joBerg2c and Cape Epic in the past, said she was ready for any challenges that might be thrown her way in the second of the Encounter Series events, which were presented in partnership with Stanlib.
‘I have done bigger, longer challenges before, so I’m looking forward to going out there and having a jol.’
Letshego said she enjoyed the social aspect of off-road stage races.
‘I’m looking forward to being there and meeting new people. I want to ride and enjoy myself and have good memories of the event.’
Zulu, who will be teaming up with her Cape Epic partner Maurice Mdlolo at Waterberg, is also no stranger to road racing, having taken part in the five-day Bestmed Tour of Good Hope in March.
‘Road is completely different to mountain biking; you can never really compare the two. It is two different challenges on the body. Road is high cadence, high speed all the time, which you can’t really do in mountain biking,’ she explained.
‘There are a lot of other elements in mountain biking that force you to slow down a bit and be more cautious.’
The physical challenges in mountain biking do not deter her though.
‘The two different sports offer two different things,’ said Zulu. ‘I’m one of those people, I don’t choose. I do both because I want the strength from mountain biking and the speed from the road.’
Picture of Letshego Zulu (front right) with other riders at this year’s Bestmed Tour of Good Hope courtesy of Robert Ward