08 January 2013

Ride to the highest for Burry Stander

A hero in the South Africa cyclist's world... the one who achieved what most of us dream about on a bicycle! Burry Stander the kid with the mountain bike world at his feet, newly married and a humble gentleman... senselessly killed by a South African minibus taxi!

I could rant on about the minibus taxi's, but what would that achieve? Burry is gone for ever...

Various rides took place all over the country in memory of Burry. We wanted to join the Stellenbosch ride on Sunday, 6 January 2013, but we also wanted to do something on our own in rememberance of Burry. My wife Jeanine and I decided to ride up Hanskop in Somerset West and 'get as close' to Burry as we could.

The weather was perfect, cool and slightly misty as we reached the summit. The misty clouds cleared every now and then to display the beauty of the Grabouw mountains, the Somerset West farm land, the Strand beach line and the ocean. A spectacular ride... long hot sweaty climb, some time to pay our respects to our slain hero and a fast icy cold descent.

The one nice thing about the long climb is the time to think... I could imagine Burry running up this mountian with little effort, leaving us behind and smiling inwardly at our struggling but determined effort.  I could relive his Olympic XC race, the chase to catch the leaders and the guts and glory of it all... the many Cape Epic races where he had misfortune and then success! Endless Burry success on the international circuit...

Most of all I remember standing next to Burry at the start of the W2W race, leaning on my handle-bars and talking to him as if we are old buddies. The U23 world champ rubbing shoulders with me...

Burry, your memory will remain legendary in the mountain biking world for a very long time to come... Cherise we pray for peace and wisdom to go on with your life, you are young, beautiful and talented, we wish to see you fly the Stander flag on the international circuit. You are facing challenges beyond your youth, may your love and pride in your husband inspire you to new heights. We will cheer ever harder for you!

I treasure the time on my bike; even more so since my wife started riding and now also sharing the passion. We are Blessed to be able to do so!

God Bless the Stander family, you have experienced great loss.

View towards Sir Lowry's pass half-way up Hanskop

Robbie and Jeanine at the summit

View from the top; looking at the Helderberg in Somerset West

Jeanine getting ready for the icy descent
We wrote his name on the cement before leaving