15 Questions | Robert Hobson, Student and Marathon Specialist

Robert Hobson is part of the next generation of South African endurance specialists who are making their way to the front of the field.

Who is Rob Hobson?

Sho I haven’t asked myself that question in quite a while! So I’ll keep it simple for now. I’m Robert Hobson, a Stellenbosch local who grew up in a sporty outdoors family and found a passion for cycling during high school. Now I’m just trying to see where this trail might lead and enjoying each pedal stroke along the way.

Where are you from?

Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.

What do you occupy your days with?

Currently, studies, training and a few hobbies/side projects to occupy my busy mind. 

Where is your favorite place to ride and why?

Oh man…tough question. We’re really privileged in Stellenbosch to have some of the best trails in the country on our doorstep, so I couldn’t pick one. But for sure the best trails are any of my local trails I get to ride with mates or some fast euros when they come to visit. 

Say you had three bikes in the garage; a gravel bike, road bike and a 120mm 29er – which one do you pick to go have fun on?

At the moment I’m really enjoying my XC/marathon bike (Titan Cypher RS), the “flip-chip” creates a fun playful bike when I choose to just hit the trails and have fun. So to answer the question, I’d probably go with the gravel bike and just go exploring. It’s also fun to push the limits on the gravel bikes when riding local trails I know well, like G-Spot.

When are you happiest and why?

Most situations where I’m outside and doing something active are where I’ll be happiest. I just really enjoy the outdoors and the freedom it brings with it, one of the many reasons I love cycling.

What is your greatest fear?

Leaving this earth not having made a positive impact in some way or another. I’m also pretty scared I don’t do myself justice when it comes to achieving what I believe I’m capable of in this sport and life.

What’s the best piece of advice for racing you have ever been given and why? 

Still, something I often forget when racing is to race your own race and focus on what you can control. So often, especially with social media, we get more caught up in what others are doing and lose focus on our own goals. It is the same on race day. For sure every race has controllable & uncontrollable factors, prepare for what you can control and don’t waste time or energy on those you can’t, those are the things which make racing exciting. Another thing is not to lose your cool when things don’t go your way! Stay calm, panicking won’t solve anything, the race is not over till you cross the line.

Lycra or baggies?

Mostly lycra, but in light of our current situation, I think baggies might be the way for a while now. 

South African mountain bike racer Robert Hobson in action at the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme race in January 2020.
Rob placed a credible 15th overall at the 2020 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme.

What has bike racing taught you about yourself and about life in general and why / how was that lesson learned?

I’ve learned a lot from bike racing but I can definitely say I’ve learned more from the people who got me into the sport. Leonardo van Onselen, as well as those I’ve met and learned from through the sport, like Erik Kleinhans. Racing has taught me a lot about mental toughness and shown me that I can push myself a lot further than I thought, even when the tank is completely empty. I’ve also learned that racing is not all about who’s the strongest but a combination of strength and race smarts, something I can also apply to life. I feel I still have a lot more to learn from bike racing and that’s something I’m really looking forward to.

If you could do a bike ride with 3 famous people who would they be?

Sir David Attenborough, Alex Honnold and Jim Carrey.

As a racer, what are your weaknesses?

Something I need to learn more about and give into is suffering on the bike, I know I can suffer, but the ability to really, really suffer is something I feel I still need to work on if I want to achieve my more ambitious goals. This is something a lot of racing helps with. Also fast open descents; no matter how aero I get, I don’t quite have the weight behind me to get down as fast as the others. 

South African mountain bike racer Robert Hobson in action at the Tankwa Trek Mountain bike race in February 2020.
Riding to a very solid 12th overall at the 2020 Tankwa Trek Stage Race.

Dropper post or old-school?

Old-school teaches good technique, but then again droppers make the bike more capable and super fun, so when not racing for sure a dropper. 

As a racer, how many hours a week are dedicated to training?

Anywhere from 10-15hrs a week. It is longer during base training – about 20hrs. Recently I have started spending time in the gym. I planned on starting with a coach this year but no longer have any definite goals to work towards until our calendar is back up so I’ll just keep riding my bike for now, maybe some surfing too.

What does the future hold for you?

Whatever I work towards create it to be! I have some specific cycling goals I want to achieve. Whether it’s racing my bike or not, I will always find my way into the cycling industry, I have a passion for the sport and the people who come with it.

| IMAGES: ZCMC, Titan Racing |

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