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  1. 2006 - 2007 This Epic was a purebred World Cup XC race machine. Designed for short, intense racing on World Cup courses, the setup prioritised weight saving over durability. Lightweight rims, Aluminium rotors, a raw carbon frame: anything to save a few grams. This was the age of 26-inch wheels, narrow 680mm handlebars, gigantic bar ends and 2x9 drive trains. Christoph Sauser’s 2006 Cape Epic-winning S-Works weighed in at 9 kilograms. 2009 - 2010 In June 2008 a new iteration of the Specialized Epic was launched with an explosive win for Christoph Sauser at UCI Mountain Bike XCO World Champs.The new frame shaved nearly 700 grams off its predecessor and debuted an updated version of the Brain Suspension System which improved weight distribution by moving the brain out of the shock to the rear of the bike. This left space for only a single bottle cage, but radically improved the performance of the suspension. The new Epic made its first appearance at the 2009 Absa Cape Epic. It was this year that the powerful combination of Stander and Sauser came to the fore. The pair won the Prologue and the first three stages and appeared in command of the overall race. However, a momentary lapse of concentration on Stage 4 put an end to their overall hopes when Burry smashed his front wheel. In 2010, illness put Burry Stander, who was just 22 years old at the time, out of action early in the race but he and Christoph Sauser went on to make good with three stage victories. https://static.bikehub.co.za/uploads/monthly_02_2019/ccs-62657-0-54694300-1550746066.jpg[/url'>']When all is said and done, this is one kick-ass bike. Photo credit: Ulf Beckman. Jaroslav Kulhavy will team up with Howard Grotts once again for Investec-songo-Specialized, as they attempt to defend their 2018 title. U23 World Champion Alan Hatherly with join forces with former U23 World Champion Sam Gaze, for their first attempt at the Absa Cape Epic as team Specialized Foundation-Spur Schools League. They will be riding as the primary backup for Kulhavy and Grotts, and as Absa Cape Epic newbies they are a dark horse team and are likely to spice up the racing, especially on the more explosive, technical stages. Finally, Christoph Sauser will ride with Simon Andreasson, in the role of mentor. The pair ride for Investec-songo-Specialized with aim of providing Simon with valuable racing experience. With Sauser’s race pedigree and experience and Simon’s talent, they could still provide the field with a few surprises. Annika Langvad and Jaroslav Kulhavy will be riding striking custom-painted S-Works Epic frames, equipped with SRAM’s range-topping XX1 Eagle 12 speed drivetrain, and ultra lightweight and strong Roval Control SL 29 148 wheels. The suspension will be taken care of by the race-ready 100mm RockShox SID WC fork with Brain Technology paired with the RockShox Brain shock. This bike is perfectly equipped to handle everything the Absa Cape Epic can throw at it. Ride away with Langvad or Kulhavy’s custom painted S-Works Epic race bikes In support of songo.info, Specialized will once again be donating both Annika Langvad and Jaroslav Kulhavy’s custom painted S-Works Epic race bikes, as ridden in the 2019 Absa Cape Epic to raise funds for the charity.For more information, please visit www.songo.info/bike-auction/
  2. On the 7th of March this year, songo.info will once again be celebrating the amazing children that come through their programme every day, and acknowledging the friends and supporters who have helped the charity to be the success it is. The event, which will take place at Jack Black’s Brewery in Diep River, will include a live performance from well-known South African band Watershed. “We encourage everyone who believes in the power of bicycles to change lives to join us,” says Christoph Sauser, co-founder of the songo.info programme and multiple World Champion mountain biker. “Celebrating the achievements of the charity is not only fun, it is also an opportunity to join the cycling community in being a part of something bigger – the future of our kids. With you, we can make a difference!” The evening fundraising event is an opportunity to meet and mingle with World Champion cyclists and bid on a selection of incredible items up for auction. The two custom-painted 2019 Specialized S-Works Epics that will be ridden in the 2019 edition of the Absa Cape Epic by defending champions Jaroslav Kulhavy and Annika Langvad, will once again be up for grabs. More details on the songo.info website. “We will be unveiling the 2019 Investec-songo-Specialized S-Works Epic and team race kit that will be ridden by all three of our teams at this year’s Absa Cape Epic,” says Sauser. “The kit will make its racing debut at our annual songo.info Champions Race, held at the Kayamandi clubhouse on the 13th of March.” The songo.info Champions Race, which loops through the Kayamandi township, is an annual cult event that has been dubbed the “Unofficial World Cup” because of the calibre of rider in attendance, and the throngs of local supporters who line the track in Stellenbosch. Used as a fundraiser for the charity, the Champions Race attracts some of the world’s biggest names in mountain biking. Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy and multiple World Champion Annika Langvad will line up next to some of the world’s best riders, who are all in town for the Absa Cape Epic. The Champions Race is a fast-paced spectacle that Cape Epic contenders use as a leg-loosener. To buy your ticket to attend the charity auction on the 7th of March, stand a chance to win one of the limited edition Investec-songo-Specialized S-Works Epics, or to view details about the Champions Race please visit www.songo.info. The Charity Auction event details are:Venue: Jack Black Brewery, 10 Brigid Road, Diep River, Cape Town Time: 6pm – 12pm Ticket price: R350 per person which gets you a burger, a beer, live performance by Watershed Book here: https://www.songo.info/annual-fundraiser/ The official Investec-songo -Specialized Teams racing at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic are: 1. Annika Langvad DEN & Anna van Der Breggen NEL 2. Jaroslav Kulhavy CZE & Howard Grotts USA 3. Christoph Sauser SWI & Simon Andreassen DEN Racing for The Specialized Foundation, in support of Investec-songo-Specialized are: 1. Alan Hatherly RSA & Sam Gaze NZL Web & Social Media: Website: www.songo.info Facebook: songo.info Twitter: @songoinfo Instagram: songoinfo
  3. A WORLD OF CYCLING INFO, NOW AT YOUR FINGERTIPS! In a country where around 250 000 people actively participate in cycling, a single source of comprehensive local cycling information should be par for the course. Now it is, thanks to the launch of an indispensable app, Cycle360. Cycling Information Has Come Full Circle Cycle360 caters to the needs of all types of cyclists, from competitive road and MTB cyclists, through cycling families and adrenaline junkies. It offers everything from an up-to-date race calendar, details on where to ride across South Africa, upcoming events, and local cycling/accessory shops. That’s not where it ends: Cycle360 gives enthusiasts information regarding all forms of accommodation in an area; restaurants, things to do locally … you name it, Cycle360’s got it covered! Find out about cycling school leagues, nutritional supplements for young and old, and more! Providing A Service … And Paying It Forward Cross-country specialist and seasoned Olympic medallist, Christoph Sauser, is actively involved in non-profit organisation Songo. Songo has played a profound role in uplifting the local community around Kayamandi in the Western Cape, assisting with education programmes, as well as to establish a BMX club and mountain biking group. Sauser raises funding for Songo, helping to build the dreams of young wannabe cyclists; giving them the hope of a healthier future, and a better life story. Going forward, Cycle360 will assist Songo in reaching their goals. Cycle360 encourages all players in the cycling arena to sign up to have their products, venues and shops featured on the app. A percent of all revenue will be ploughed back to Songo. Cycle360 is available on both Android and Apple devices. For further information don’t hesitate to contact Michael@cycle360.co.za, or call 0824647983.
  4. A pair of two-of-a-kind custom Specialized S-Works Epic bicycles has been donated by Specialized Bicycles to go under the hammer, to raise funds, for songo.info. Photo by Etienne Schoeman. In 2018 the bikes set to go under the hammer once more, from Monday the 26th of March at 12:00 CAT. They are arguably two of the most beautiful incarnations of the Investec-songo-Specialized custom design yet and boast the unique pedigree of having been piloted to Absa Cape Epic victory. For the first time, in 2018, the bikes were ridden to Epic glory in separate categories – by Specialized XCO Racing’s brightest stars Jaroslav Kulhavý and Annika Langvad. Jaroslav Kulhavý’s Absa Cape Epic winning bike features a large frame size and the distinction of having spent more time at the front of the 2018 Epic field than any other machine. Photo by Michal Červený. Kulhavý’s impressive palmarès includes the 2012 Olympic gold medal, silver from Rio 2016, 3 Marathon World Championship titles, a cross-country World Champions’ jersey, a Mountain Bike World Cup overall title and 3 Absa Cape Epic titles. Langvad, despite only taking to elite mountain biking in her mid-20’s has already notched up 3 Marathon World Championship titles, a cross-country World Champions’ jersey, numerous Mountain Bike World Cup race wins, an overall Mountain Bike World Cup Champion’s title and of course 4 Absa Cape Epic titles. In total the bikes notched up 9 stage victories, out of a possible 16 in the UCI men’s and women’s categories. In addition to the Cape Epic success Langvad’s bike was also ridden to UCI Mountain Bike World Cup gold the weekend before the Cape Epic, making it a the most successful bike ever to be auctioned by songo.info – defeating programme founder Christoph Sauser’s 2013 Cape Epic machine from the Swiss legend’s most dominant victory at the world’s most famous mountain bike stage race. Annika Langvad’s custom Specialized S-Works Epic boasts a medium frame size and the honour of winning every race it has been ridden in; including the Stellenbosch UCI MTB World Cup, the songo.info Champions’ Race and 7 stages of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS. The two-of-a-kind bikes are 2018 Specialized S-Works Epic mountain bikes, with custom songo.info inspired livery. The primary white, black and world champion rainbow colours are drawn from the songo.info logo. With 2018 marking the 10th anniversary of the charity the design was updated to include the silhouettes of stylised children, holding hands, to symbolise the young people of Kayamandi whom the programme has already aided in its first decade. These silhouettes are displayed in the rainbow colours on the cuffs of the songo.info jerseys and bib shorts. They also appear in the S-Works decaling on the bike’s downtubes. The chain- and seat- stays feature icons denoting the sport and education functions of the charity, while the downtube also features a list of children in the songo.info programme. At the junction of the head-, top- and down- tubes the iconic Investec zebra and Specialized S logos are displayed in black, with the multi-coloured songo.info logo providing a flash of colour. Both bikes have been meticulously maintained by Specialized XCO Racing team’s mechanic, Holger Friesen (pictured). Photo by Michal Červený. The S-Works frames, in size medium and large, are built with top of the range components from Specialized XCO Racing’s co-sponsors SRAM, RockShox, Magura and Rotor. The wheels are supplied by Specialized’s Roval brand, while the tyres, bar, stem, saddle and seat post are all from Specialized’s ranges too. The songo.info auction of the Investec-songo-Specialized custom S-Works Epic bicycles will start at 12:00 (South African time) on Monday the 26th of March and will close at 12:00 on Thursday the 29th. Bids can be placed online at www.songo.info/2018bikeauction. The reserve is set for R100 000 (€6 900) and bidding increments are fixed to R5 000 (€350). Following the closure of the auction on Thursday, at midday, the two rivals with the highest bids for each bike will be contacted and the auction will then be concluded telephonically.
  5. The elite men’s field at the songo.info Champions’ Race included numerous World and National champions, anchored by the 2012 Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavý (centre). Photo by Ewald Sadie. The Champions’ Race, celebrating its eighth edition this year, attracts some of the world’s best mountain bikers to an urban cross-country race in celebration of Christoph Sauser’s songo.info sport and education charity. The 2018 race boasted the most illustrious field yet; as the start ranks were swollen by cross-country specialists who had remained in Stellenbosch for warm weather training after the Mountain Bike World Cup event and the traditional crème de la crème of the Absa Cape Epic field. Annika Langvad, the World Marathon champion, repeated her win over, French champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot from the UCI MTB World Cup event at the songo.info Champions’ Race. Photo by Ewald Sadie. The start list included Jaroslav Kulhavý, Sam Gaze, Simon Andreassen, Howard Grotts, Victor Koretzky, Matthias Stirnemann, Maxime Marotte, Nicola Rohrbach, Andri Frischknecht, Daniel Geismayr, Annika Langvad, Kate Courtney, Julie Bresset, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Esther Süss, Flora Duffy, Ariane Lüthi, Alessandra Keller, Kathrin Stirnemann, Hélène Clauzel and of course the charity’s co-founder Christoph Sauser; among the over fifty riders who contested the elite men’s and women’s races. The spectators gathered on the Kayamandi sports’ fields to watch the action unfold also included a star name or two, including Julien Absalon and Bart Brentjens. Annika Langvad, representing Investec-songo-Specialized, rode home the comfortable winner of the 2018 songo.info Champions’ Race. Photo by Ewald Sadie. The action kicked off with an age group race for the future champions and young Luca Wiese and Andrea Schofman bravely lined up alongside the under 18 boys. The pair showed the grit and determination they will surely require to forge a career in competitive mountain biking to claim the under 14 boys and under 18 girls titles respectively. The under 18 boys race was a helter-skelter affair, from which Swiss rider Silas Valaulta emerged victorious over Nielse Erik and the talented youngest brother from the prolific junior race winning Penfold family, Aiden. Sam Gaze repeated his World Cup winning performance from Saturday at Wednesday’s songo.info Champions’ Race. Photo by Ewald Sadie. The elite women’s race featured a chance for Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to rekindle her rivalry with Annika Langvad and the French champion was clearly eager to settle the scores after her second position on Saturday as she set the early pace. The Danish champion was not phased however and shadowed Ferrand-Prévot until the repeated toll of ascending the steep embankment climb, dubbed the Alpe d'Huez of Kayamandi by commentator Paul Valstar, at maximum intensity saw Ferrand-Prévot drop back through the field. Langvad then went about establishing a lead over the chasing pack, where her Investec-songo-Specialized Absa Cape Epic partner Kate Courtney was locked in a tussle for second with Alessandra Keller. After half an hour of high paced racing Langvad rode home the comfortable winner, providing another ominous warning for her Cape Epic rivals, followed by Keller, Courtney, Julie Bresset and Hélène Clauzel. The elite women’s podium featuring (from left to right): Hélène Clauzel (5th), Alessandra Keller (2nd), Annika Langvad (1st), and Kate Courtney (3rd). Fifth placed Julie Bresset was absent from the photo. Photo by Ewald Sadie. The men’s race boasted a massive entry list but the brutal 4 minute lap and the 80% rule saw the field thinned out as the 40 minute long race enter the business end. A super-elite lead group formed from the opening lap and the lead changed hands between the likes of Jaroslav Kulhavý, Sam Gaze, Simon Andreassen, Maxime Marotte, Nicola Rohrbach, Andri Frischknecht, Matthias Stirnemann, Daniel Geismayr and Nielo Perrin-Ganier throughout the early stages. By the half way mark though the New Zealand champion Gaze was once again showing his form and strength stretching the field and breaking the lead group down to just five riders strung out behind him. The elite men’s podium featuring (from left to right): Daniel Geismayr (4th), Maxime Marotte (2nd), Sam Gaze (1st), Andri Frischknecht (3rd) and Howard Grotts (5th). Photo by Ewald Sadie. A huge effort, with two laps to go saw Howard Grotts bridge across to the leaders, joining Gaze, Frischnecht, Geismayr, Stirnemann and the French champion Marotte. An acceleration from Gaze then thinned the group down to five again as Stirnemann faded and as the riders started the final lap it looked as if the race might come down to a sprint. On the last assent of the Alpe d'Huez climb Gaze’s relentless pace cracked the pack one-by-one until only he and Marotte remained; but even the Frenchman could not hold on forever and on the short but brutal final climb up Kayamandi’s Mjandana Street the Kiwi made the decisive break. With some breathing room Gaze could celebrate his victory as he crossed the line, capping a highly successful South African trip for the under 23 World Champion. Candice Lill was the highest placed South African in both the men’s and women’s fields as she warmed up to compete for the inaugural Hannele Steyn African women’s trophy at the Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ewald Sadie. The attention for songo.info now turns to the Absa Cape Epic, which starts on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday the 18th of March. The charity will be represented by Jaroslav Kulhavý and Howard Grotts in the elite men’s race and by race favourites Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney in the elite women’s. The programme also has Sipho Madolo and Azukile Simayile contesting the Absa African Jersey; and Anrique Davids and Ntlantla Nonkasa, as well as Lwazi Ntsakaza and Sikhusele Bhungane contesting for the Exxaro jersey. The songo.info Champions’ Race also included a BMX exhibition race contested by members of the songo.info programme. Photo by Ewald Sadie. To follow the teams’ progress throughout the race follow @songoinfo on Twitter or @songoinfo on Instagram, and like songo.info on Facebook. For more information on the charity and the work they do in in Kayamandi please visit www.songo.info. Results | Future Champions U14 Boys: Luca WieseU18 Girls: Andrea Schofman U18 Boys: Silas Valaulta Results | Champions Race Women: 1. Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing) 2. Alessandra Keller (Thömus/RN Racing) 3. Kate Courtney (Specialized Racing) 4. Julie Bresset (SCOTT-Breizh-VTT du Lie) 5. Hélène Clauzel (KMC-Ekoi-SR Suntour) Men: 1. Sam Gaze (Specialized Racing) 2. Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing) 3. Andri Frischknecht (SCOTT SRAM) 4. Daniel Geismayr (Centurion Vaude) 5. Howard Grotts (Specialized Racing)
  6. A decade of building brighter futures for the children is something special to be celebrated and to commemorate the occasion songo.info will be hosting an evening to celebrate all its supporters, contributors and friends. For 10 years songo.info have been providing the children of Kayamandi with a safe place to ride their bikes and in recent years, as the charity has grown, educational support too. Photo by Etienne van Rensburg. The event – which takes place at the Dornier Wine Estate on the 6th of March – promises to be an unforgettable evening. Canapés and award winning wines will be served on the beautiful Dornier lawns, surrounded by the magnificent peaks of the Stellenbosch Mountains. The gin bar and Stellenbrau beer on tap will be sure to set the mood along with a live performance from Stellenbosch’s singer/songwriter sensation, Gerald Clark. Clark is best known for his soulful blues, has released five studio albums and has been nominated for a SAMA and an MTV Europe Animation Award. The evening’s celebrations will include an exciting live and silent auction of a number of special and unique items kindly donated by supporters of songo.info. These items include works of art by local artists, boutique/exclusive wines, sculptures, a variety of signed cycling jerseys, vouchers for weekends away, event entries and other exclusive experiences. From its humble beginnings of providing a safe space for children to play, songo.info has grown into a sport and academic support programme. Photo by Photo by Etienne van Rensburg. The songo.info commemorative 10 year anniversary cycling kit will also be revealed. The kit will make its official racing debut at the songo.info Champions Race on the 14th of March and four days later, at the start of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic, it will be worn by the riders of Team Investec-songo-Specialized. The annual Champions Race is a great source of pride for songo.info and is supported by many top class athletes enthusiastically lining up for what has become the traditional leg-loosener for the Cape Epic. It exhibits world-class talent racing through the streets of Kayamandi and attracts supporters from all communities in the area. The songo.info tenth anniversary celebrations will take place on Tuesday the 6th of March at the spectacular Dornier Wine Estate. Photo by Dornier Wines. In addition, the custom painted songo.info Specialized S-Works Epic mountain bikes, to be ridden by Jaroslav Kulhavý and Annika Langvad at the 2018 Cape Epic, will be revealed. Thanks to the generosity of Specialized Bicycles, these bikes will go on auction on the 26th of March to raise funds for songo.info. Stellenbosch's own Gerald Clark, an internationally acclaimed blues singer/songwriter, will be performing at the songo.info anniversary celebrations. Photo by Henry Engelbrecht. Sustainability is key to the success of any charity organisation. It is with this in mind that songo.info welcomes all its supporters and friends to join the celebration and support the exciting fundraising initiatives to allow the organization to continue to build on its legacy for future generations. The event gets underway at 18:00 on Tuesday the 6th and tickets are available online, for R250, at www.quicket.co.za. For more information on songo.info and the ten year anniversary celebrations please visit www.songo.info.
  7. TL;DR: How can we contribute bike spares to the SONGO initiative? On my commute back home today I encountered one of the SONGO riders struggling with a technical problem: the pedal fell out. Apparently the crank threads were stripped so bad that the pedal won't stay put anymore. As I lifted the bike up to have a closer look the front wheel fell out! The nut of the front QR was missing. The wheel jsut relied on a loose axle!? Whathefu- ?! My Xhosa from Grade 7 failed me so I'm not too sure she understood what I meant with "no QR= dangerous". Not too long ago I also encountered a SONGO rider attempting to fix a broken chain link with a rock - because he did not have a spare quick-link. If this is the kind of equipment they receive they are better of riding with non-Spez Makro specials. My questions are thus: who is charge of the equipment and who makes sure that the bikes are in a running and safe condition? Secondly, how can we as a community help with this - e.g. donate spare bike parts? This is not to badmouth the people behind the SONGO foundation. I really respect their contribution towards the community. But putting people on dodgy bikes is just very dangerous
  8. Daily life for Rainmaker Solutions CEO, Jan Joubert in London is far removed from the dusty streets of Kaymandi, but that doesn’t prevent him from doing all he can to help raise much needed funds for songo.info. While spearheading a recent charity drive in the UK Jan managed to raise £33 000, which when converted to South African Rand equates to R734 000. This will go a long way to helping songo.info improve the lives of the children in the programme. Click here to view the article
  9. Christoph Sauser sharing a laugh with the supporters of the songo.info UK charity ride. Photo by: Justin Sullivan. The funds were raised through ticket sales to attend a gala dinner on 5th May 2016 in London, where an auction of kindly donated items was conducted. Going under the hammer were two of Richard Scott’s Cape Epic prints, race entries to the Wines2Whales mountain bike race and the Cape Rouleur road tour, a Maurice LaCroix watch and a double magnum of 2011 Tenuta di Biserno. No songo.info charity event would be complete without support from Specialized Bicycles who, along with M1Performance donated to the auction a Specialized Epic Comp Carbon mountain bike and a performance training package. A raffle also took place but undoubtedly the event which stirred up the most excitement and raised money was the pre-gala dinner ride with songo.info co-founder and mountain biking legend, Christoph Sauser. Jan Joubert in action during the songo.info UK charity ride. Photo by: Justin Sullivan. The songo.info programme is entirely reliant on the generosity of companies and individuals to fund the day-to-day running of the programme. As such songo.info would like to heartily thank everyone who donated their time and money to support Rainmaker Solutions’ songo.info UK charity drive. In particular songo.info, and the children in the programme, owe Jan Joubert a massive debt of thanks. Without the kind donations of people like Jan and companies like Rainmaker, songo.info wouldn’t be able to introduce the children of Kaymandi to BMXs and mountain bikes, or provide them with a safe place to study, volunteers to help them with their homework, and guidance and assistance in their search for jobs or in their quest to obtain higher education. songo.info’s leading mountain biking talent and programme manager Sipho Madolo BMX racing with the younger children. Photo by: Seamus Allardice. Sadly, due to the worsening security situation in Kaymandi, not all the funds raised by these generous donations can be allocated to improving the needs of the children of the township. songo.info has recently suffered from a renewed spate of criminal activity directed at the clubhouse. As such the decision has been made to erect palisade fencing and beef up security around the clubhouse and the BMX track. It was never the intention of songo.info to physically limit access to the facilities, but criminal activity is a sad reality of the poverty stricken community within which the charity operates. songo.info strives to improve the lives of the inhabitants of Kayamandi though the education of the youth, it is a gradual process and one which is not achievable if the programme’s facilities and bicycles are damaged or stolen. The songo.info clubhouse and BMX track. Photo by: Seamus Allardice. If you would like to contribute to one of the songo.info initiatives or if you’d like to find out more about the work that songo.info does in the Kayamandi community please visit www.songo.info or http://www.songo.info/getting-involved/donations/?id=29 to donate directly. The donations page features a detailed breakdown of the costs of the programme so you see where your donations will be used to support the youth of Kayamandi. The songo.info rule is homework first, riding second. Here the high school students are completing their homework before heading out with Sipho Madolo for a mountain bike ride. Photo by: Seamus Allardice.
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