GetSavvi Health supports cyclists in daring race

GetSavvi Health firmly believes in the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s why we’re very proud to sponsor two extraordinary gentlemen who will this year tick off something on their bucket list by taking part in the Absa Cape Epic.

Ashley Kulsen (left) and Donny Petersen (right)

GetSavvi Health firmly believes in the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s why we’re very proud to sponsor two extraordinary gentlemen who will this year tick off something on their bucket list by taking part in the Absa Cape Epic.

Ashley Kulsen (right) and Donny Petersen (left) with their bikes

The Absa Cape Epic takes place from 19 to 26 March and is an eight-day mountain bike race. The race, which is not for the faint-hearted, stretches over more than 800km across the beautiful landscapes of the Western Cape and includes about 15 000m of climbing over some of the most magnificent passes in South Africa.

Ashley Kulsen (right) and Donny Petersen (left) together

GetSavvi Health sponsored Ashley Kulsen and Donny Petersen to assist in their admirable feat. Both racers are taking part to raise awareness and funds for the House Andrew Murray (HAM) organisation and the amazing work they do to help orphaned kids in the Boland region.

We caught up with both racers to learn more about how they prepared for the Absa Cape Epic, how they stay focussed, and why they chose to create awareness for the HAM organisation.

1. Why did you enter the Absa Cape Epic?

As avid cyclists, it has always been a dream of ours to one day participate in the Absa Cape Epic – after all, it’s the ultimate bucket list item for any mountain biker. We’ve talked about it for the last three years but never imagined our first race would be this soon. We were fortunate enough to be offered a voluntary enter after another team had to withdraw from the race.

2. Why did you choose to support the House Andrew Murray organisation?

When the opportunity to enter arose we thought it a perfect opportunity to give back to the community and decided to dedicate our first race to a charitable organisation. As we’re both from the Boland area, we chose House Andrew Murray.

3. Please tell us more about the HAM Organisation.

House Andrew Murray is a child and youth care centre that cares for more than 150 children aged up to 18 years. Children coming to HAM have either been orphaned or referred to a place of safety by the children’s court. HAM caters to the spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, social and psychological needs of the children and are reliant on the support and contributions from the community.

4. How long have you prepared for this race?

We’ve been actively training for the Cape Epic since June 2016.

5. How has your preparation influenced your daily life/routine?

I don’t think we were ever prepared for the way a race of this magnitude would impact or change our lives. Preparing for the Cape Epic consumes you. We’re both married men with young children as well as full time employees. And now we had to include around 15-20 hours of training per week too.

6. Take us through your fitness regimen.

For the six months leading up to the race, our training preparation consisted of:

two months base training – lots of long distance rides at low intensity;
two months interval training – shorter rides with medium to high intensity;
two months speed training – short sprints at maximum intensity with low intensity recovery rides in-between.

7. Have you made any drastic changes to your diet?

Yes, with the amount of training we do, we have to ensure that our bodies are fuelled with the right amount of quality nutrition.

In order to keep our energy levels at its maximum, our diets mainly consist of high unprocessed carbs with low protein content. High fats are consumed after heavy training days to assist with recovery.

We eat very often, five to eight times a day. However, portion sizes are important and kept small as we have to reach and maintain weight targets for maximum results.

8. What do you do to help you stay focussed on your end goal?

Any free time, we try and spend with family. Lots of prayer and try to be consistent with training.

9. Why do you enjoy cycling?

Ashley – It’s a good stress reliever. I grew up with cycling and have cycled competitively since the age of 12. It brings structure to my life.

Donny – Love the thrills and adventures mountain biking offers, enjoy the scenery of the environments, love pushing my body beyond the limits.

10. Any tips you can share with others who might want to also enter the Cape Epic?

Absa Cape Epic CyclistsBe prepared to sacrifice most of your free time to training or resting!
Get your family involved, make them feel part of the journey.
Accept the fact that this will have a serious effect on your work, relationship with others, financial status and body.
Your selection of your riding partner, good friends usually make a good team, someone with the same fitness ability as you as well as someone with the same circumstances as you.
Buy a dog.

11. What precautions do you take before starting on a race of this magnitude?

Keep your immune system high to avoid getting sick and stay hydrated and keep fuelling with quality nutrition. Ensure your bike is well serviced and in tip-top shape. Ensure that you have all the necessary repair tools. Practise race preparation when doing training rides so your race habits become second nature.

12. What makes up your cycling outfit?

Cycling shirt, shorts, helmet and shoes. Sunglasses are very important to protect the eyes from the sun, dust and any obstacles that can be projected at your eyes.

On colder days, arm warmers and sleeveless body warmers do the job.

13. What extras do you take with you for such a race?

Extra cycling kit, extra bike parts (only parts most common to break) and a pair of spare shoes.

Follow Ashley and Donny’s journey from 19 to 26 March as they take part in the Absa Cape Epic by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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