PORT Elizabeth triathlete Alec Riddle will move out of his comfort zone when he tests his mountain biking abilities in the FNB Wine2Whales Adventure Race, starting today.
Riddle, better known nowadays as one of South Africa's top age-group Ironman competitors, will team up with fellow Isuzu ambassador Sibusiso Vilane as they make their debut in the event which starts in Somerset West in the Western Cape and ends at Onrus, near Hermanus.
Vilane is a mountaineering ace from Mpumalanga and Riddle said this week they were both looking forward to doing something different.
"I have never done this sort of thing before," Riddle said, "but I have done a bit of mountain biking lately and am enjoying the new terrain it presents."
In their debut event, Riddle said they were not putting too much pressure on themselves.
"I am sure it will be an exciting experience and the beauty of mountain biking, and this event, is that we will see parts of the South Africa we have not seen before. For example, I have never been to Hermanus."
Two years ago, Riddle won the gold medal in the 50-54 age-group in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas and he said he would be relying on his all- round fitness to see him through the three days.
"I have been training quite hard for the last five or six years," he said, "and I am looking forward to this new challenge."
Riddle is also looking forward to working with Vilane in their team effort. "I met Sibusiso for the first time earlier this year," he said. "I have read up on all of his achievements, what an achiever! I feel honoured to partner with such a great guy and I look forward to tapping into his great mind and humour.
"With regard to our team strength, I think that both Sibusiso and I live a life of 'no limitations'. We're continuously striving to better ourselves, so there will be lots of passion, commitment and perseverance the weekend of the FNB W2W.
"Hopefully that will make up for the fact that both of us are novices in this field. I am looking forward to great teamwork, the challenges, meeting new people and the scenery."
The W2W MTB Adventure Race starts in the winelands of Somerset West. Teams of two riders will cross through and over 13 wineries, 26 farms, six mountains, historic roads, mountain passes and nature conservation areas, including the Kogelberg Biosphere, before finishing near Hermanus.