“Although the highlight was three podium positions, my outstanding takeaway from this brutal and technical race was partnering with an incredible human being who turned out to be the perfect race partner. What was even more special was that Mari was my flower girl at my wedding 26 years ago, so to ride with her in her first Epic was very rewarding”, said Muller.

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Stage 2 and the hottest day of the Epic, SA Olympian Mari Rabie and partner Corrie Muller struggle up the Hemel & Aarde Valley. This stage was shortened due to excessive heat.

“Although racing my 9th Epic, this internationally acclaimed multi-staged mountain bike race lived up to it’s nickname - #untamed. The very hot weather was unprecedented and the course very technical” he added.

Corrie’s partner in the Mixed category partner, Mari Rabie retired as an elite triathlete after competing in the Rio Olympic games last year. “It made perfect sense to partner with Corrie in my first Epic as our families have been friends for over three decades and I was his flower girl”, said Rabie.

“A highlight was being in the starting shoot with the Fairtree Capital Academy 1 team and then finishing on the podium in the final stage”, she said.

“There’s a parallel between riding the Epic and our sponsor, Fairtree Capital’s investment philosophy of investing for the long term.

ccs-62657-0-97397000-1491808633.jpegSA Olympian Mari Rabie (pictured right) was the flower girl at the wedding of Corrie and Sulinda Muller, 26 years ago.
"We make some decisions that seemed like short-term mistakes, such as always taking water at all the water stations, which might cost you time on a single stage, but assures that you look after yourself and stay hydrated everyday so that you perform better in the long run throughout the week".

“Even more interesting to me was the focus on team culture. How Corrie and I made decisions with the long-term in mind was critical for our success. Our decisions were always slanted for the long-term”, she added.

“I forced him to be process orientated, focusing on our abilities and how we race best, instead of chasing a benchmark (other teams). The days we got that right we got close to the benchmark anyway”.

Chris Norton, manager of the Fairtree Academy 1 Men’s team believes that corporate sponsorship is essential to see the transformation of the sport.

“The Fairtree Academy 1 team finished 2nd overall for the Exxaro jersey and had a podium finish in each of the seven stages . Without sponsorship riders from poor communities would not be able to participate. But these guys were not making up numbers, they performed very well, finishing second to two seasoned development riders and 74th overall in an extremely tough field”, said Norton.
According to Herman Sandrock, Head of Distribution at Fairtree Capital, many of the leaders are passionate about mountain biking and the South African outdoors.

“In 2016 we launched the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Mountain Bike race and have since partnered with the BMT Academy to support talented young MTB riders. The Cape Epic is the ultimate multi-day endurance mountain bike race in the world and a natural next step for us to get involved”, said Sandrock.

“We had three Fairtree teams; Fairtree Capital, BMT Fairtree Academy 1, BMT Fairtree Academy 2 along with the Synergy Team, of which our Equity portfolio manager Stephen Brown, was a team mate.