The Attakwas is South Africa’s most extreme one-day mountain bike race made up by 121km trail which requires some great effort and one man did it on a single-speed bicycle.
Western Cape, South Africa – They say that Patrick Liwonde worked harder to get to his favourite race than he had worked to complete it. His dream has always been to compete in the Attakwas Extreme and in 2019 he did it. Hard work, perseverance and a little luck helped him reach his goal.
For years Patrick has watched as the racers came speeding past the informal settlement where he lives. As a gardener, he used a bicycle which led to him becoming a strong cyclist. He would watch the racers and dream of a day when he too could compete in the race.
“I’ve witnessed a piece of this race for a long time, and it has always been my dream to someday enter it,”
When Patrick wasn’t working as a gardener, he would sit on the roadside selling wood as a way to make ends meet. One day, fate stepped in and a man by the name of John Cable stopped to buy wood. The men got chatting and Patrick learned that John had taken part in the Attakwas.
John felt a connection to Patrick and started to support his business whenever he was in the area. They developed a relationship which inspired Patrick to take concrete steps in following his dreams. Whenever he could, he put away a little bit of money and saved to buy himself a new bike. The next time he saw John, he shared his happy news.
“In December (2018) Patrick told me that’d he’d bought himself a better bicycle after saving up for six months and had entered a local race. I later discovered that he’d kept up with the leading group for most of the race until he got a puncture on the final climb! I realised that he really had a talent in this sport.” – John Cable
John wanted to help Patrick reach his goal of taking part in the Attakwas Extreme so he called the event to inquire about a late entry. The entries had closed but the event were inspired by Patrick’s story and gave him a complimentary entry.
“I’ve waited for this opportunity for a long time, and now I finally have the chance to show people how well I can ride!” – Patrick Liwonde
Patrick completed the race using his single-speed bicycle and wearing a pair of Converse shoes. He blew everyone away and completed the race in a time of 8:14:42. The 2020 race takes place on the 18th of January and Patrick will be taking part again. Only this time, he will be kitted out properly thanks to generous sponsors.
“We are excited to announce that Patrick will be returning this year (with a brand new bicycle and kit) ready to push for his best finish yet!” – Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen
Patrick’s story has inspired not only his fellow riders but also the spectators and even the general public. We love sharing stories like this and wish Patrick all the best for his 2020 race.