The legendary mountain bike stage race will see Wilson and seasoned cyclists from all over the world complete the demanding eight day mountain bike adventure of 698km with 15 650m of climbing from Citrusdal to Lourensford Wine Estate.

Wilson, who has SA mountain bike colours, represented South Africa at four World Marathon Championships and captained the SA squad three times. He has won 21 stages, including four Elite stage wins, in the Absa Cape Epic since its inaugural year. He was also the first South African to win a stage in the Cape Epic and first South African to finish on the podium overall in the event.

Wilson started mountain biking ‘a very long time ago’ and is a business owner. He considers his biggest achievement off the bike being a husband and father. He says that through the years he managed to train for the event even though he had family and work commitments. “It’s easy with dedication and focus. It all depends on how badly you want it.

Shan Wilson (left) and Bas Peters (right). Photo: Sportograf / Absa Cape Epic

‘I’ve participated in the Cape Epic since its inception and made many new friends. I basically change the modern day calendar from Epic to Epic. It’s hard to say what the ultimate highlight of all my Cape Epic adventures have been. They’ve all been very special... every Elite stage win to every Masters category stage win. Basically, every pedal stroke in passion or hate has been truly memorable in different ways. I’d have to say my first stage win is probably the most memorable moment.”

His toughest Absa Cape Epic was when he won the Masters category. “I had a broken shoulder and an animal partner, and felt every rock or bump on the track resonate through my shoulder.” To the question of his funniest moment on the Cape Epic, he jokingly says that ‘there’s nothing funny about the Epic. The best part of every event is the finish line. The worst part for me is always stage 1.”

Wilson reckons thoughts of his wife and kids are what motivate him on his bike. “The one word that sums up the event for me is ‘alive’ and the most important ingredient in completing it is your partner. Crossing the finish line is always overwhelming and emotional for me.”

His riding partners over the last nine years included Jacques Rossouw, Brandon Stewart, Andrew Maclean, Boss Peters and Walter Platzkummer. He competed in two events each with Rossouw, Stewart and Maclean. This year he’ll be riding with dynamo Rourke Croeser as team JAG Nandos.

Wilson maintains that he loves this race. “I’m still trying to work out why I keep coming back for more. I train very scientifically and Andy Lambert takes care of all my dietary requirements, which helps a lot.”

Besides participating in next year’s legendary race, Wilson would also like to take his daughter to see a tiger.