82-year-old tackles 265km ride for conservation
There must be something in the air in the Midlands. Hilton resident David Cook, at 82 years old, is the second oldest participant at the KAP sani2c, currently under way.
The sani2c is one of the oldest mountain bike stage races in the country and the largest in the world, with up to 4 200 participants doing the race over five days.
The Karkloof’s Arthur Duncan is the oldest to take on the much-loved 3-day event, having already completed last year’s ride.
David has taken on the 265km from Underberg to Scottburgh partnered by his son Andrew, who now lives in Cape Town. The two (pictured above) aim to raise awareness of rhino conservation efforts by riding under The Conservation Imperative banner, an NGO currently involved in a national campaign – Legal Trade for Rhino Survival (LTRS).
“Unless South Africa and the international conservation community change their strictly protectionist wildlife conservation policy to one of rational, sustainable utilisation as a means to address the reality of what has become a dire situation, (8000 rhinos poached for horn since 2008), we invite yet another threat of extinction and a huge decline in our biodiversity assets,” says Andrew, quoting his father.
“My father has been at the centre of rhino conservation for 52 years, both in an official capacity with the (then) Natal Parks Board as a senior wildlife conservation officer in the Drakensberg and Zululand, working closely with Dr Ian Player, and as a conservation activist.”
Endurance has been a dominating factor in David’s life for most of his 82 years. Starting with cycling to school, distance running in athletics, Dusi Canoe Marathons (he finished eighth in 1959), Comrades (3 silver medals), among other activities. So while the sani2c will be a proper challenge, his son feels he is certainly capable.
“My Dad’s health is good for his age. He has had a knee replacement but his endurance capability remains as strong as ever, so we look forward to tackling the sani2c, each for the first time,” said Andrew.