“It was pretty tiring because we faced a strong headwind for long stretches on the road. But we did it for a really good cause, so we are very happy," he said after completing the world's largest timed cycle race.
De Villiers was one of 25 staff members, students, alumni and friends of the University who entered #CTCycleTour2019 as part of the Maties #Move4Food team. He finished in a time of 5 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds – nine seconds after his daughter, Dr Gera de Villiers.
The fastest member of the group was Chris Norton, an SU alumnus and owner of the BMT bike shop in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. His time was 3 hours, 33 minutes and 17 seconds. He had mobilised nine other cyclists to join him this year, some of whom who also rode for the #Maties100 team last year to commemorate the University's Centenary and raise funds for bursaries.
Also part of the group were five SU medical students who tackled the race on the iconic Matie Bike, a single-speed cycle more suited to leisurely ride on the flat Stellenbosch Campus than a demanding cycle race with such serious climbs as Chapman's Peak and Suikerbossie.
“Believe it or not, it was actually great fun. We did have to push our bikes up Chappies, but we killed most of the other climbs. And the important thing is, we finished – 20 minutes before the cut-off!" said Breda Reed, a Namibian national and fourth-year student at SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Tygerberg. He is the founder of the Hippocampus Fund, which benefits medical students. Along with Mias Marais, Christoff Greyling, Luke Titus and Nkululeko “Wonderboy" Nkosi they cycled 902 km from Vioolsdrift to Cape Agulhas in December to “help our friends become doctors".
After crossing the finishing line at the Cape Town Stadium, Maties could visit the University's hospitality suite, where they could enjoy light refreshments and get a sports massage.
“It is always wonderful to mingle in the Maties family, and Sunday was no exception. The gees was great, and we can't wait to do it again with other sporting activities," said Marvin Koopman, Alumni Coordinator.
According to De Villiers, a physician by profession, “A recent study by the National Research Foundation revealed that more than 30% of university students in South Africa are food insecure. This affects not only their academic results, but their fundamental human dignity. Our students came up with the idea of food banks to ensure that none of their mates go to class on an empty stomach. The initiative has my full support. I would greatly appreciate yours."
Last year, De Villiers also ran the full 42 km Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in aid of #Move4Food.