The u23 SA Enduro Champ, Frankie du Toit, writes about her decision to shift focus from XC to Enduro for 2019 and looks ahead at her plans for 2020….
“I have been asked to write a monthly blog post in 2020, documenting the life of an aspiring gravity rider. To kick it off here’s a brief summary of my 2019 and some of my plans for 2020. This year started with a very difficult decision for me. Should I become a gravity rider? Should I stick to cross-country? Or, should I try to do both? After much deliberation, I couldn’t resist the temptation of focusing on gravity. I have been an XCO rider, racing seriously since I was 16, and after 3 National titles and 3 World Champs experiences, the format and scene was starting to lose it’s appeal. The format of gravity, the people in the scene and the appeal of a new challenge lead to me being unable to resist the pull of gravity.
The decision to focus on gravity meant I had to make some changes. Firstly, I needed a beefier bike. One with some big travel that I could push myself on. Secondly, I needed to re-look at my goals. For any Enduro rider, the pinnacle of racing is the Enduro World Series. However, to race it you need to qualify. My goal then for this year was to QUALIFY TO RACE in the 2020 EWS. And lastly, I needed to adjust my training a little. The idea that gravity riders don’t need to be fit is absolute rubbish! The racing days are long for Enduro and the riding is very physical. Not only did I need to maintain and increase my fitness level, but I also needed to build a whole lot of strength – my NOODLE ARMS just couldn’t hold on!
To tackle the first change I needed to make, I got a new bike, a Trek Slash 9.8. It is A LOT of bike! It has 160mm front suspension and 150mm rear and everything about it is bigger and better – even the colour scheme of a blue to green fade that has resulted in it becoming affectionately known as ‘The Sourworm’. I loved it from the first ride, and it has helped me do more and push myself further. The second challenge was qualifying for the EWS. To do this I raced a couple of EWS Qualifiers – Kingdom Enduro in Lesotho, Graythwaite Epic Enduro in the UK, POC Scottish Enduro Series at Innerleithen and lastly, our national champs held at Jonkershoek.
Through doing these events I have managed to qualify to race in next years EWS. I am pretty excited about this, and although I know that I have a lot of work to do before I scratch the surface at being at the level that the top girls are at, it’s a step in the right direction! Lastly, I have spent some quality time at the Stellenbosch University GYM TRAINING with some of their trainers. The support from the university has been amazing and has allowed me to progress a lot in my strength!
All of this having been done, I am now heading into 2020 with more experience, more motivation and more support than I have had in a long time. I am super excited for next year and can’t wait to share the journey with you through Bike Network!” – Frankie du Toit // @frankiedutoit //