Smashing your 1st 36One Challenge

Words by: Frans le Roux

There are a few tough one-day mountain bike stage races in South Africa. The Attakwas, Cederberg 100Miler, Trans Baviaans and the 36One. The latter however is considered the longest as riders must complete 361km in 36.1 hours. Most weekend warriors won’t even bother to enter any of these, while a smiling Bulelani Jodo from Cape Town decided to make the 36One his very first mountain bike race ever. Affectionately known as Max, his daily cycling commute prompted his interest in doing a mountain bike race.


  • Hi Max, where were you born and where do you stay? Do you have a family?

“I was born in Herschel, Sterkspruit (Eastern Cape) but grew up in Cape Town. I live in Khayelitsha with my four beautiful kids.”

What is your job at the This Way Out store? And what do you enjoy most about it?

“I am currently employed as a barista and what I enjoy the most about my job is being able to chat to our customers. I like to educate them about coffee and to learn more about them and their life in general. The socialising part of being a barista is what I enjoy the most.”

When did your barista career start and how do you enjoy your coffee?

“I have been making coffee since 2001 at the very first Vida E in Cape Town. My favourite is a double flat white with no sugar. I like the kick of a double espresso and I also enjoy the creamy froth.”

How did you get involved with mountain biking?

“I wanted to understand and fully experience the business that we do. We sell mountain bikes and I wanted to be able to sell them to customers too.”

Why did you choose the 36One as your first ever race? What was the most difficult part of the race?

“Actually, I did not choose the race, it chose me! The most difficult part of the race was when I got my second sidewall cut on my back tire. This completely messed up my rhythm and momentum as I had to stop and pump the wheel every couple of minutes. That nearly made me quit the race but I am so glad I didn’t! I ended up crossing the finish line after 21h:18.”

How did your training go before the event? Is there anything you focussed on?

“To be honest, commuting helped me a lot. Before I even got the entry, I commuted 50km per day for 6 days a week for more than a year. After I got the entry, I focussed on doing the 360 km in two days on tar and off gravel with plenty of climbing in between. After those two days of training I learnt that my body needs fuel to work harder. That was my preparation for the event.”

What is your dream bike to own and why?

“Eish! That’s a very difficult question, but I would say for now the Rocky Mountain Element (any new model) is the one. Because they are the only bikes I have ridden so far and they served me well. I think that they are also the sexiest bikes I’ve ever seen.”

What is your favourite local place to train at?

“My favourite place to train at is the Table Mountain trails towards Constantia Neck via Kirstenbosch.”

What is the next race you are planning on doing?

“To be honest, I never plan, any race that comes along I will probably take.

If you can convince any youngsters to take up mountain biking, what would you tell them?

“I would tell them to start riding if they are looking for something fun and healthy that also improves their fitness.”

Lastly ̶ what cycling event is on your bucket list and why?  

“On my bucket list at this stage is the 2018 36One. It’s the only race I have experienced so far and I would love to better my 2017 time.”

If you happen to be in Cape Town, make sure to pop by the This Way Out store at 16 Buiten Street. Max will sort your caffeine cravings out.

The 2018 event will take place on 20 April. For more info log onto 

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