With a finish time of 3 hours and 51 minutes in the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge last year, Peter August Plath (aged 80!) proved himself again as he finished this event for the 14th time.
Peter started cycling when he was 15, and already managed to get seeded in the paced handicaps of the Dunlop 100km one year later. He won it in 1952 but couldn’t take his Dunlop trophy home because like many other participants in those days, Peter commuted to the start of the race on his bike. That Dunlop trophy was about a meter high and now stands in a museum at Wemmer Pan with his name on it.
In another interesting adventure, he finished 6th overall (the fastest Junior rider) in the Ladysmith to Pietermaritzburg race where he proved fearless on the Town Hill descent, which had been rated too dangerous in what became the last edition of this event. Not just speed, but also distance appealed to him, and he managed to finish 8th overall in the 1956 edition of the Cape Town to Johannesburg race.
Cycling then fell out of Peter’s life after he turned 21, got married, had kids and built up a plant hire business but when he turned 47 he was able to start riding again. Apart from representing South Africa at a UCI World Championship in Austria he has completed 27 Arguses and 14 editions of the Cycle Challenge with 9 age category victories since then.
Now we might assume that he just has a very strong body and always has a comfortable ride, but that’s wrong. In 2000, it took him 4 hours and 17 minutes to complete a 100km race because he was suffering terrible chest pain. He knew he had to get to the hospital, but decided that finishing the race and then riding to the hospital would be the quickest way to get there. He was admitted immediately and had to have two arteries stented!
It is no surprise to learn that he has never actually given up when he’s had tough rides, and this commitment is something that he has passed on in training rides and camaraderie during the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, to his children and grandchildren who also ride, as well as his fellow cyclists from Club 100 in Plettenberg Bay.
Allow this piece on Peter’s cycling history encourage you to enter and chase him to say hello at the 2017 edition of the Cycle Challenge! Enter here.
What does Peter enjoy most about the Cycle Challenge? “Most definitely the training and camaraderie with fellow cyclists.”