03 Mar, 2016

Chasing that Epic Podium


Coming off an incredible 2015 season, Matthys Beukes is planning to hit 2016 still harder and faster! During a short break in training, he took some time out to chat to Modern Cyclist, about his upcoming Absa Cape Epic with teammate Gert Heyns. Supported by Team Scott and LCB Racing, the duo will not only be going for a fourth win in the African Jersey category, but have also set their sights on a podium finish.


MC: Describe yourself in four words.

MB: Quiet, relaxed, committed, determined.


MC: What is your biggest achievement as a competitive cyclist?

MB: That would have to be my three ABSA Cape Epic African Champs wins, also my six SA XC Champs podium finishes.


MC: Which race is your absolute favourite?

MB: Some are good for media coverage and others are just awesome riding all-round, with a relaxed vibe that makes them so much fun, but if I have to choose one race, it would have to be the Absa Cape Epic. There’s something really cool about lining up with some of the best racers in the world, for eight days straight!


MC: What is your biggest technical blunder and did anyone see?

MB: 2011 Pietermaritzburg World Cup, I was coming down the Tree House rock garden full tilt. Suddenly my bike stops and I go flying down the rest of the section, only to land flat on my back! I then had to scramble my way back up to my bike, and I guess about a couple hundred people saw that!


MC: Who is Matthys when he is not cycling?

MB: I’m really relaxed and just want to have a good time, but most of all, I really enjoy spending time with my wife. However, anything mountain bike-related gets my attention pretty quickly, so most of the time is spent doing something bike related.


MC: Who taught you to ride a bike?

MB: I grew up with three older brothers, all way older, and they mostly taught me what to do. One of them, Gerrie, also raced professionally – he opened his own bike shop and that is where I spent most of my time as a kid.


MC: What’s the hardest thing about being a pro rider?

MB: For me, because I love the sport so much, it’s actually taking time off. That’s usually my biggest mistake, I don’t recover enough. Then there are other times when you’re so tired, but you have to do gym and strength work, and it’s hard to find motivation! But that’s about the only down side I’ve found.


MC: When you have down and out moments on the bike, what gets you through?

MB: Definitely my passion. It’s so much easier to suffer when you do something you really love!


MC: Who would you regard as your mentor?

MB: Bike-wise I’ve had to figure that out as I went, but I have to say, between my parents and my brothers I’ve had great mentorship in everyday life.


MC: Who is your favourite person to ride with and why?

MB: Everyone in our team is really cool to hangout with! We’re all good technical riders, so when

we’re all together, the riding is so much fun.


MC: Describe the feeling of winning the Absa Cape Epic African Jersey.

MB: It’s a good feeling – it means that we are the best African team in the race – but one day we’d like to feel what it would be like to be the overall best team in the race!


MC: What is your favourite cycling memory growing up?

MB: Building jumps in the back yard and later building a nice little course where we’d spend most afternoons after school.


MC: If you could do anything, what would you do?

MB: I’m pretty happy with my life as it is. I’ve always wanted to be a pro mountain biker and now I’m living that dream, so I can’t really ask for anything more.


MC: How do you prepare for big races?

MB: Training starts about three months ahead of the big races, so it varies a lot leading up to race day. Mentally, I’m just focused on doing my best – I don’t really think about winning, I’m thinking about going as fast as I possibly can.


MC: What is your advice for those who have just started riding?

MB: Just enjoy it! It’s a really cool sport and so much fun.


MC: Your favourite place to ride and why?

MB: There is nothing better than my home trails in George! They are really rough and all natural, so it’s always pretty cool and interesting.


MC: What words inspire you?

MB: Not much of a quote reader, but my dad always used to say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and I guess that’s sort of stuck in my mind.