Avid cyclists who joined in the 2016 edition of the 100 Miles Of Nowhere organised by The Cows KZN herd, based on US Blogger the FatCyclist's template, raised R170 000 for CHOC (Childhood Haematology and Oncology Clinics) as they rode the required 160 kilometers on static training bikes at Cadence Centres around the country, setting a new record for the South African version of the ride.
The nett total amount raised matched the amount raised at last year's 100 Miles Of Nowhere, but was pushed past this mark with the arrival of a further R4 000 raised by the Coffeeberry Cafe in Pietermaritzburg through their pledge on every cappuccino sold last month.
"That really embodies the spirit of this event," said Iris Varty, the co-ordinator of the KZN Herd of The Cows. "For every person who rode the event, it seems like there was another concerned, committed corporate willing to contribute to the 100 Miles of Nowhere cause."
In all 324 cyclists rode in the 2016 event, including nine of ten cyclists who took part in the inaugural South African edition of 100 Miles Of Nowhere in 2011, riding at Cadence centres in Hillcrest, Durban North, Westville, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The Westville gathering managed to raise the most money (R57 642) as well as bringing home the first team to reach the 100 miles mark when the Bluff Meat Supply quartet covered the 160 kilometers in 4 hours and 26 minutes. while Team Sequel, riding at the Durban North Cadence studio topped the list of team earnings.
In between the notable achievements were numerous striking personal contributions, ranging from Corneel du Toit who rode the 160 kilometers on his open training bike at home, and send in his entry fee together with his GPS readout verifying that he had done the full distance.
The project also received a donation in lieu of a wedding gift from a bride and groom who were unable to take part in this year's 100 Miles of Nowhere.
"It has been a great success, driven by the passion of the men and women in the cycling community who identified with this unique challenge, and our passion to use our sport to benefit the children battling cancer," said Iris Varty, the co-ordinator of the KZN Herd of The Cows.
"Many sponsors put their hands up, either to pay for bikes at one of the Cadence Centres, or else simply making donations in support of the 100 Miles Of Nowhere, which all helped to reach the grand total at the end of the day, for which we are all really grateful," she added.
While the Westville and Durban North gatherings attracted the biggest attendance, while a four strong team representing the Sunfoil Dolphins were part of the enthusiastic crowd of cyclists at the Hillcrest Cadence Centre.
"The Sunfoil Dolphins guys were unbelievable," said event organiser Rose Owen. "They had all come off a big gym training session that morning, and were obviously out of their comfort zone, but they gave it everything they had.
"They stayed at the Hillcrest Cadence until the last guys had finished their 100 Miles," she added.
At the Durban North studio, SA Rugby Legends stars John Smit, John Allen and John Slade got locked in some heated duels on their team bike.
The Tyger Valley Cadence in Cape Town saw ace cyclists Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock, with Lill's girlfriend and 2008 Beijing Olympian, Candice Neethling and former elite mountain biker, Timo Cooper leading a spirited charge to their 160 kilometre target.
In Johannesburg the resurgent Cashandra Slingerland stunned the cycling community by grinding out her 100 Miles solo at the Bryanston Cadence, showing off her staggering return to top form, enjoyed by fellow riders Kerrin and Grant Bain, whose daughter Jessica was responsible for founding the Cows after she succumbed to cancer in 2008.
Riders in each of the centres were able to watch comparative read-outs from selected bikes at each of the Cadence Centres, and were swept up in the ebbing and flowing charges made by the faster teams.
The organisers and the Cadence team have already started planning the 2017 event, and considering changes that may include shifting the event to a Saturday in May, and offering easier social team options on bikes running on cadence.
Mark Carroll, who heads up Cadence from their Hillcrest studio, said that they would also try to accommodate serious cyclists wanting to do a hard ninety minute training session, but who still wanted to be part of the 100 Miles Of Nowhere project.
More information can be found at www.100milesofnowhere.co.za.