Have you heard of the unique four man Gondwana Collection team that is gearing up for the Nedbank Desert Dash? The Kaas en Wyn (cheese and wine) team. So, here’s what you do need to know about them and their passion for cycling…
Who are they?
Quintin Hartung is an Environmental Officer who enjoys listening to podcasts while cycling. He was once embarrassed when a beer-bellied oom had to help him cycle over a hill and often the rhetorical question occurs, ‘Why do I do this to myself?’ And certainly, he cannot wait to enjoy the kaas, wyn and beer after cycling the Desert Dash. Also, just a friendly reminder that this team is not going to win! They are simply going to have fun and enjoy the experience.
Felix Marungu, the Groundsman, prefers listening to the sounds of ‘stronger to be stronger’ and is inspired to cycle because it is good for his health, a great mode of transport plus it is an opportunity to meet new people. He atones his embarrassing experience to a couple of falls whilst cycling to work and deems that his team will cross that finish line in time.
Meanwhile, Gys Joubert, the Chief Executive Officer, enjoys One Direction’s hit song ‘Everybody wants to steal my girl’ and looks forward to the beer at the end of his cycle. He is mortified to remember that he once wanted to throw his bicycle away and thought that a hill was so long that it led all the way to Heaven. He hopes for his team to wait on him occasionally!
Finally, it’s Riaan Compaan, the Damara Mopane Lodge Manager, who appreciates the natural sounds of nature and is encouraged to never give up while cycling. He believes that through witnessing his dedication, his children can grasp that anything is possible regardless of how worn-out one can get. He once got both his legs cramped within 200 metres of a finish line and walking over it was embarrassing enough. Sometimes he wonders why purchasing a bicycle was a grand idea. Like Gys, he hopes his team won’t be leaving him behind!
The selection of the A-Team:
Quintin pondered on the idea to enter a Gondwana Collection Team for this year’s Nedbank Desert Dash and Almut, the Executive Liaison Officer, who felt it would be amazing to have a pure Gondwana Team, suggested that Felix join as he cycles to work daily from Katutura.
When it comes to competing in other cycling events, this team certainly has been around the block. Quintin feels that he competes more with himself and Felix with other road users on his way to work, making this his first cycling competition. Cycling in a competition also provides many unique experiences and unusual take-away notes. Such as Quintin’s coffee ride to Heja Game Lodge, which is east of Windhoek. He scanned through the myriad of opponents to ensure he’d have some company in the back and his gaze fell on a man his senior. He instantaneously thought that they would be cycling together. But, much to his surprise, this man helped him to conquer a hill or two. As for Gys, self-pity won once when left with only 50 km to go, while hoping not to die and later hoping to actually die. Meanwhile, Riaan hopes to share interesting stories in future.
Quintin has been cycling since 2013, Felix since 2012 when he bought his first bicycle, Gys cycled since 2015 and Riaan only six months before his first Desert Dash in 2013. Both Quintin and Gys started cycling purely for relaxation, while Riaan was merely approached by his friends to compete in a previous Desert Dash and Felix it began purely as a mode of transportation.
How the Kaas en Wyn Team prepares for the Desert Dash:
Quintin and Felix started off their preparation by cycling the first stage of the Desert Dash, starting at the road block. For Quintin, this experience was all about taking it lightly and enjoying the team spirit. Felix added that he is used to cycling on tar roads and that it is a different and great experience learning how to navigate the various gears on a gravel road. And with the support of CYMOT, Felix enjoys navigating in new landscapes with his new bicycle coupled with its swanky gear. Gys agrees to not taking it too seriously and rather appreciating the ride as Riaan adds one gets better at cycling as time passes.
What they look forward to:
Quintin drove the support vehicle for the previous Desert Dash for his cousin and he enjoyed the vibe so much that he now looks forward to experiencing it all as a cyclist. Felix, looks forward to it because it is something he has never done in addition it is a great form of fitness. Gys looks forward to getting familiar with his team mates and more so because there is that vulnerability after cycling that allows for connecting with others, while Riaan really wants to work off his beer belly.
Why cycling is special to them:
Cycling is special to Quintin because it is a form of meditation, whereas it helps Felix to stay fit and healthy. Gys loves it as it helps him to maintain his health whilst simultaneously appreciating nature and socialising with others. Cycling helps Riaan grow mentally stronger and prepare for tougher challenges in life.
Significance of cycling in Namibia:
As with the country’s small population, through cycling we can form connections amongst people from various ethnic groups, genders and ages. It is through these relations that people can learn from one another. Additionally, it allows for individuals to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the country, to ease traffic as it is a transportation mode and sustain the environment as there will be less vehicle emissions too.
Author: Nela Shikemeni