“I Raced Wines2Whales With My Mom — And Won It”

Here's exactly how they did it.


Cally Silberbauer |

This month we’re all about moms – especially those super-inspiring fit moms: the ones who taught us how to tough it out in any sporting discipline, or even just how to ride a bike. And speaking of bikes, you’ll want to know about mom-daughter team Simone and Lolita van Aardt, who have raced the Wines2Whales Adventure three times together. What’s more, they’ve won it every time. Here’s their recipe for success…

Dishing The Dirt On Racing As A Team…

When racing as a team, a partner you get along with is vital. Wines2Whales takes place over three days, and each day packs around 70km, so it’s no easy feat – especially if you land yourself an incompatible partner.

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“I think what makes us a good match is how well we know each other – we’re able to really communicate during the race,” says Simone. “We’re not the best match as our strengths on the bike are very different – I climb well, whereas my mom is strong on both flat and technical sections.” But working to each other’s strengths, they’ve managed to achieve amazing results.

Suffer Together, Learn Together

“My Mom has taught me how to suffer, never to give up and [most importantly] how to ride a bike,” says Simone. From training wheels to training for races: “The first [MTB] ride my mom took me on was up Dorstberg in Meerendal – I can’t count how many times I fell off that day!” says Simone.

But fast-forward to today, she’s become quite the powerhouse and puts her all into every race. Sometimes Lolita has a hard time keeping up. “But I’ve learned that my daughter does possess some patience,” she says.

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What about training? “[Before race day] we like to get some rides in together, generally just riding on the trails,” Simone says. Wines2Whales has some tough sections and racing for a spot on the podium requires maximum effort. As motivation, the duo tell each other that they still look strong and that this climb, or whatever tough section, is almost over. “We just stay positive during the tough sections,” Simone says.

The Highlights

Mainly, though, Wines2Whales is pure fun and trail heaven. “I quite enjoy Stage 2,” says Simone, “the play day of Wines2Whales.” Lolita really enjoys the downhills.

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Wines2Whales also boasts some of the best water points I’ve ever seen. Simone and Lolita agree, and usually just fuel up at these points along the way. “We carry an extra energy gel (or five), just in case we need them.”

So, will they be riding together again this year? “No,” Simone replies, “we’ll be racing against each other!”

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