The two Namibian mountain bikers Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers both achieved excellent results at the Trans Andes Challenge from 23 to 28 January. Swiegers, the manager of the Klein-Aus Vista lodge business (Gondwana Collection Namibia), crossed the finish line after just 28 hours 51 minutes, coming in 22nd out of 40 participants in his class (men under 45). Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) took an hour longer but with 29 hours 57 minutes nevertheless won 7th place in his class (men over 45). The two bikers were supported by their wives, Sophia and Christine, as well as numerous Gondwana fans on Facebook.

Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) and Piet Swiegers (Gondwana Collection) before the start of the Trans Andes Challenge. Photo: Sophia Swiegers

Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) and Piet Swiegers (Gondwana Collection) before the start of the Trans Andes Challenge. Photo: Sophia Swiegers

The demanding six-leg race through the heart of the Patagonian Andes in Chile was driven on single tracks, off-road vehicle tracks and open terrain. It started in Panguipulli and ended in Pucón. The challenge was not posed by the distance that had to be covered per leg (50 to 82 km) but by the altitude that had to be negotiated: differences in altitude of between 1,780 m and 2,500 m had to be overcome every day. Of course there were plenty of downhill stretches as well, but the mountain bikers had to ‘climb’ 12,250 m in total.

Piet Swiegers (Klein-Aus Vista/Gondwana) and Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) came thoroughly prepared for the event. The grounds of the Klein-Aus Vista Gondwana lodge near Aus in south-western Namibia were ideally suited for training: The mountain bike trails in the Aus Mountains are a mountain biker’s paradise. The first Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge was held there on 30 April and 1 May last year; the next one is scheduled for 29 and 30 April this year.