Somersest West cyclist Tim Hammond has had a significant 2018, as he became the first South African – and one of only three mountain bikers in the world – to complete all three Epic series races in one year, earning himself the prestigious Epic Legend medal.
This series is a mountain biker’s dream, consisting of the Cape Epic (eight days, 658km, 13 530m climbing), the Swiss Epic (five days, 320km, 12 000m climbing), and the New Zealand Pioneer (6 days, 430km, 15 500m climbing).
The Swiss Epic nearly ended Tim’s Legend quest, when during Stage 3 he rode into a stationary steel trailer.
He managed to complete the stage, but was first sent to the nearest hospital for scans, scopes and stitches.
He went against doctors’ orders to withdraw, and pitched at the start line the next morning with a rubber drain protruding out of his bandaged leg.
Tim and his partner came 18th in the elite men in the Swiss Epic, 19th in the Cape Epic and second in the NZ Pioneer.
Tim discovered mountain biking while studying for his BSc at Stellenbosch University and has gone from riding in small local races to racing on the international circuit and so becoming an Epic Legend.
Riding his bike is a passion, as is his farming with cattle and goats on the farm in Botswana and working on an exciting project securing clean drinking water for villagers in remote parts of Zambia.
Training conditions in Botswana are a far shout from the sublime trails around Stellenbosch and Somerset West, where his family home is.
The farm is hot, dusty and flat, and encountering a black mamba or cobra during training is a regular occurrence.
To reach the top in mountain biking takes a lot of patience, dedication and perseverance.
All of this has paid off for this determined rider.
Tim has a number of titles to his name, among which are the 230km Trans-Baviaans race, where he has the most number of wins and is the current record holder; the nine-day Joberg2C; the Kalahari Challenge; the Trans Karoo; 1Zambia and the Knysna Bull.
2019 holds yet more racing as Tim continues his brand ambassadorship for Spot Africa and Specialized Stellenbosch, which have played a big part in helping him achieve his mountain biking dreams.