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A beautiful view of Lesotho [Swiss Epic]

Pumping for Peace in the Swiss Alps

By Epic Series, 08/20/20, 7:15AM HST


The Velosolutions #pumpforpeace Team, of Tumelo Makae and Cherie Redecker, are currently sitting in the green jersey that belongs to the leaders of the Swiss Epic’s Mixed category.

The Velosolutions #pumpforpeace Team, of Tumelo Makae and Cherie Redecker, are currently sitting in the green jersey that belongs to the leaders of the Swiss Epic’s Mixed category.

A landscape shot with 2 bikers of Lesotho

There’s a small country within the borders of South Africa called Lesotho. It is a scenic land of sky-scraping mountains and deep valleys; friendly people and is one of only three independent states completely surrounded by the territory of another country.

Lesotho and Switzerland draw parallels in terms of the vertiginous mountains and deep valleys, and, of course, the friendly locals. Tumelo Makae is one of these locals and he currently finds himself racing in the green Leader Jersey of the Swiss Epic Mixed category, alongside Cherie Redecker.

Makae is the Lesotho National Champion; while Redecker has competed at the highest level, representing South Africa and her respective trade teams at UCI MTB World Cups and the Commonwealth Games.

The pair, racing as Velosolutions #pumpforpeace Team, are representing #pumpforpeace – a global association initiated by Velosolutions, that aims to give kids in underprivileged communities access to cycling and action sports through pump tracks. #pumpforpeace introduces them to a healthy, respectful and tolerant lifestyle and believes that this, ultimately, will change the world.

#pumpforpeace facilitates the construction of a Velosolutions Pump Track, access to bikes, gear and support cyclists/teams, workshops and cooperations with youth organisations in underprivileged regions. The organisation raises the necessary funding and supports local charities to realise these projects. It focuses on sustainable initiatives and cooperates with governments, local organisations, musicians, local companies and involves the local community.

The Roma Trading Post, 40km from where Makae lives, in Lesotho features the first #pumpforpeace pump track in the world! At 157 metres long, it features 7 berms and 3 platforms. The track was built with minimal resources and a hefty amount of involvement from the local community.

The Velosolutions Team

The Velosolutions #pumpforpeace Team raced to a Mixed category stage win during the first stage of the Swiss Epic in a time of 04:02:02 and followed it up with a flawless performance on Stage 2, which took the field from Laax to Arosa on a 75-kilometre long route that featured 2 600 metres of climbing.

Prior to Stage 3’s 50KM route around Arosa, we caught up with Makae. “The riding in Lesotho and Switzerland is quite different, especially the trails; but the elevation feels quite similar” explained Tumelo Makae. “It feels amazing to be able to race here in Graubünden, but also brutal. However, I am really enjoying it!”

“The opening stage win was a bit of a surprise, but now that we have the leader jerseys, we plan to ride strong and keep the jerseys throughout. Representing #pumpforpeace on an international level is awesome; I became involved with them because the first pumptrack they built was 40km from where I live and I was excited to be a part of it. We are racing the Swiss Epic to raise funds to ensure that pumptracks can be built all over the globe.”

Redecker added: “I met Tumelo in Lesotho in 2014 and watching his development in the sport has been amazing. With teammates like Teboho Khantsi and, Olympian, Phetetso Monese to aspire to, he quickly became one of the top riders. His determination and hard work have helped him be selected to represent Lesotho at various top events like the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.”

“Our focus, here in Graubünden, is to raise funds to help the #pumpforpeace communities during lockdown and to create a lasting awareness for #pumpforpeace beyond the Swiss Epic so they are able to raise funds for future projects. I also hope we can inspire the next generation of athletes to pursue their dreams.”

At the conclusion of Stage 3, which featured sections of the Hörnli Trail-one of the longest purpose-built mountain bike trails in Europe-and a brief pump around the Pump Track Arosa by Velosolutions, Makae and Redecker had extended their lead by a further 8 minutes. They hold a 26 minute and 44 second advantage ahead of the Queen Stage of the Swiss Epic.

Tune in to the final two stages of the 2020 Swiss Epic on Friday and Saturday, 21 and 22 August to see if Makae and Redecker can achieve their goal of holding onto the green leader jerseys and claimed the category win.

Claudio Caluori got into the action at the 2020 Swiss Epic and captured the racing, thrills and a few spills. Check out this amazing video, complete with Caluori entertainment!