'I love just applying myself fully to something that requires all of you': Lachlan Morton is set to ride 1,000km mountain bike race

The Munga is a 1,000km mountain bike race across the desert of South Africa

Lachlan Morton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lachlan Morton is taking on yet another brutal challenge as he is set to ride the 1,124km mountain bike race known as The Munga in the South African desert during the height of summer.

Morton, who rides for UCI WorldTour team EF Education-Nippo, is no stranger to these epic challenges with the Australian rider already completing Land's End to John O'Groats, The Alt Tour where he road the entire route of the Tour de France including the transfers, and another South African MTB race the Cape Epic.

Now Morton takes on another challenge with The Munga. This race is largely unaided with just five support villages and 10 water stops as well as an elevation gain of 6,500 metres with a time limit of 100 hours. Away from the support villages, the riders will receive no help.

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The 29-year-old does seem to be going into the unknown with this race though: "To be honest, I don’t know a huge amount about the specifics of the race apart from the fact that it’s really long and very remote but I’m looking forward to discovering it as it goes," Morton said.

"There are five different checkpoints and then the rest of it is unsupported where you’re looking after yourself. I like races that have that element where you’re left to your own devices."

The distance part shouldn't be an issue for Morton after riding around 200 miles per day when riding his Alt Tour taking 18 days to complete a mind-blowing 5,500km.

Starting in the city of Bloemfontein the race takes on some of the most barren terrain in the country as they are guided by their GPS routes before coming to an end at the Doolhof wine estate in Wellington.

The first section is 224km with the next five sections of the race covering similar distances before the final 88km to the finish from checkpoint five.

"I love just applying myself fully to something that requires all of you and just adapting to whatever situation you’re in," he continued. "I like being on the start line and not knowing what’s coming. 

"At these races, you’re relying on yourself and you don’t really know what kind of a challenge you’re going to come up against. That’s a cool feeling to have. That’s what attracts me to these kinds of adventures."

His team has backed these forays into the unknown for professional road cyclists and has prompted other pros to have a go with Bora-Hansgrohe sending two riders to Cape Epic and other riders starting up their gravel racing careers.

Morton has only ridden six road races this season with his highest placing being 12th at the very mountainous Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes. 

The Munga MTB starts on Wednesday, December 1 and will come to a close on Monday, December 6.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.