Pre Munga Interview with Ride Magazine

Ride: Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself.

Katja: I am originally from the beautiful baroque town Dresden in the Eastern part of Germany, and moved
to Cape Town in my early 20s in 2006. I have been living in Cape Town since. I am married to a local
(hence the surname) and recently been spending most of my time on the bike or plan bike related
stuff. I run a cycling business called BreakAway Rides which occupies a good junk of my week. Giving
back to the community is another important aspect of my live, and work closely with Qhubeka, an
amazing South African non-profit that mobilizes children, woman and entrepreneurs living in the
remote and underprivileged areas of South Africa, with the distribution of Buffalo bicycles.
The lovely team behind Hammer Nutrition SA supports me with their fantastic products to complete
my races fast and in one piece. Enjoy Fitness makes sure I look good on the bike with their beautiful
cycle apparel. My husband, Pierre, is the most amazing supporter behind the scene, always
encouraging me to push boundaries. He knows how to keep me going when I want to give up.

Ride: What excites you about Munga?

Katja: To test my physical and mental limits is what excites me the most about the Munga. To complete
over 1000 kilometres in one go, riding day and night, with as little breaks as possible is exhilarating. I
know I can ride the distance, my 12 000 kilometre journey from Cairo to Cape Town certainly
prepared me well. But how fast can I go over such an extended time? I have to see.

Ride: What scares you about Munga?  

Katja: To race over such an extended time is new to me. The longest I’ve done in one go was the 361 in
2015, and that was tough. Riding through the night is a big challenge for me as I love my sleep.
Staying awake will be my biggest challenge, I think.

I heard that we will face loads of head wind which does work on my nerves eventually. So, hope that
the wind Gods are with us and not against.

Navigating myself is another first for me. I never had to use my Garmin to follow the correct route. Once the concentration goes and exhaustion sets in I will be interested to find out how I handle route navigation.

Ride: What are you doing differently for the Munga?

Katja: The event is totally self-supported which means the planning on what to take along is quite tricky. To
keep everything charged, having light at night, enough clothes for when it gets cold etc. The prep for
the Munga is a bit more complex than for a normal day or multi-stage event. We are so spoilt with
the great organisation of mountain bike events in South Africa that going back to a self-supported
format moves one totally out of the comfort zone before even sitting on the bike. Planning the
correct amount of nutrition is another tricky challenge. I am not good with chewable food while
riding so Perpetuem, Hammer’s meal replacement will be my main food on the bike. But how to
carry enough Perpetuem for 80 or so hours?

Ride: What is your goal, and your strategy to achieve it?

My goal is to go as fast as I can, and stop as little as possible. How exactly that will pen out, I must
see. I learned with the Tour d’Afrique that I work best if I don’t plan too much. Hannele Steyn
prepared me for the Munga and with her wealth of knowledge and experience with ultra-endurance
events, I feel well equipped to take on the challenge.


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