I’m not sure exactly how one chooses an event. I suppose on reflection it’s a heady combination of timing, budget, fitness, family and social commitments.
And those things all sit beneath the master bucket list of events which builds up as you participate in and complete more and more events. By this I mean that if one has only ever run a 21km road race, then while Comrades may be on the bucket list – for those more fearless cats – for most it’s unlikely to enter the list until you’ve chalked off at least a marathon or two, at which point Comrades might be added to the bottom of the list after a Two Oceans or another somewhat more sensible Ultra.
I suppose what your training / racing mates are up to may have sway on that decision too. In my case, my younger brother Rob did his first Cape Epic in 2014, and having regaled me in tales of what a great and challenging race it was, it was quickly added to the bucket list. How could someone interested in endurance events possibly miss out on what is heralded as the Mountain Bike equivalent of the Tour de France. It had to be done.
As it’s a fairly expensive outing, I always hoped to be presented with the opportunity of getting a corporate sponsorship, something Rob and I had discussed and were starting to plan on how to execute.
And then I started a fantastic new job at the Purple Group and opportunity presented itself to me in the form of famed South African Mountaineer and explorer Sibusiso Vilane. With the core tenets of our Emperor Asset Management business being about adventure, pioneering spirit and measured risk we approached him to represent the brand as many of the characteristics required to summit a mountain like Everest uncannily mirrored those required to invest successfully. Having seen RE: CM, Coronation and other Fin Services players being so heavily involved in cycling by their sponsorship of and representation at numerous events, a tiny spark of an idea was formed after my first meeting with Sibusiso. They were obviously getting value out of an association with Mountain biking and the Epic, so why couldn’t our Emperor Asset Management business.
So I quizzed Sibusiso (at that very first meeting) on whether he Mountain biked. He confirmed he did (having successfully completed the 9 day Joberg2c in 2015). One tick. Question 2: was the Cape Epic by any chance on his bucket list. Yes. Tick 2. Plan cemented.
I approached the group marketing exec, explaining the plan to him and how I thought the journey of our planning, training, riding, pain and completion of the race could generate great brand coverage for the business and along the way.
Thankfully Carel is a lateral thinker that can appreciate opportunities that others might not and he gave the plan the green light.
I launched headfirst into prep mode and tried to hurriedly line Team Emperor Asset Management up for the 2016 edition, but thankfully, while in the process of firming up a last-minute entry in December, Sibusiso remembered that he was doing the Otter trail with a European guest the very same weekend in March on which the Epic was to take place. Shoo! Sitting here on a beanbag at the end of day 1 of the Isuzu 3 Towers stage race at the Mankele Bike Park just outside Nelspruit, I am incredibly thankful that was the case. Mid-December to March just wouldn’t have cut it training wise, and instead we were able to go back to the drawing board and prep for 2017.
And while I reflected on the strange nature of how things had unfolded, I couldn’t help but think of some great learnings that could be applied to Investing:
- Don’t hurry things. When you hurry through decisions, you often make the wrong ones. Don’t hurry investing. It’s your money and your future after all. A slow, measured approach is far more sensible.
- Plans change – markets change. A plan for an investment to rise appreciably within a certain timeframe may not happen. Market changes may cause you to lose money. Don’t panic. Replan and take measures to make a success of the new one.
- Opportunities present themselves in strange ways. A failed plan, while disappointing and seemingly disastrous at first, may just present another opportunity to do something even better and to follow the investment analogy, make you more money than the original one.
So that’s how we started this journey. A bucket list event. The seed of desire. A hastily hatched plan. A failed attempt. A replan.
And here we are. 6 months out from one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I don’t think it can compare to climbing Everest or the other 6 summits, or explorations to the North of South Pole, but I think Sibusiso knows it’s a big challenge, and one he and I are looking forward to conquering.