AGE: 39 & 41

In the space of one year biokineticists and sport scientists Russell Looms and Francois Retief have taken up the challenge to learn to mountain bike and then to ride the three day FNB Wine2Whales Mountain Bike Challenge at the end of October 2017.

Continue reading below.


Russell and Francois are business partners and founders of EPT in Stellenbosch. The pair, along with their EPT team, are familiar faces at most of South Africa’s major sporting events, offering assistance to athletes from sport massages to injury management and recovery sessions.   

The pair’s audacious decision to take on this endurance challenge was motivated by the desire to give back to society. “Having young children ourselves and being biokineticists, it’s sad to see some of these children in need of physical and social help”, says Russell.

The FNB W2W Crèche Educational Initiative was launched in 2016 to make a difference in the communities that feature along the route. Four crèches in Bot River and one in Lebanon are the beneficiaries. Russell, Francois and students from the Department of Sport Science at Stellenbosch University visit these crèches on a weekly basis as part of a long term intervention programme that assists in the children’s physical development, which in turn positively affects their cognitive development. According to Francois, the outcome will hopefully have a valuable impact on the lives of the children involved. “Instead of simply donating money, we wanted to make a visible difference in the Bot River community”.    

Although they were mountain biking rookies, do they think they had an advantage being sport scientists? “Yes, physiologically and psychologically” says Francois. “There is a difference knowing how to train and actually doing it,” adds Russell. “Training for an endurance event takes time and support”.

Deep Heat has accompanied Russell and Francois throughout their effort, from warming up the deep tight back and quadriceps muscles before riding to a recovery massage with Deep Heat Arnica Oil, followed with Deep Freeze after the massage as Cryotherapy.

Keep Going Russell and Francois!