I am an 18-year-old student and competitive cyclist from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and will be posting regular blogs here on my road and XC racing. I will provide a little more insight into how my racing played out, my training and other insights into the life of a racer.
The beginning of March brought quite a lot of excitement for me as I knew that another round of road racing was in order at one of my favourite events on the road cycling calendar – the Cape Town Cycle Tour. As much as this event is jokingly referred to as “fun rider world champs” by a few cyclists, this event actually means so much more to the cycling community than just that; it’s one weekend of the year where almost the entire city of Cape Town is taken over by cyclists of all different shapes and sizes, all competing for the sake of the pure pleasure which riding a bicycle brings. I personally enjoy the scenic route and awesome support from the spectators, and this year my favourite aspect was definitely the positive and aggressive racing of the ladies in the Elite bunch.
Coming from a mountain biking background, where the only real tactic for an MTB race is to go “fullgas” from the word go, I’m always up for a challenge and seize any opportunity to make the racing tough with both hands. This is why, when I saw all the other big-name mountain bikers and experienced road cyclists on the start list, I couldn’t help but smile. I knew it was going to be a good race.
The ladies were able to prove that we deserve our own separate start, and race for that matter; together with some extreme horsepower, which just about had me sweating out my eyeballs on the climbs, from the likes of Candice Lill and many others, as well as the decisive attacks and a miraculous chase back from the chasing group to regain contact with the leaders in the last 2km – the race was nothing short of exciting.
It made me so happy to be part of a race which set the tone of the positive direction I believe South African women’s cycling is moving in. Kudos to all the strong women who took part – I’m sure there are many more races like this one to come.
Shortly after my big block of road racing, I was more than excited to return to my roots and hit out some laps at the second round of the KZN Lap Challenge (XCO) Series on my Titan Mountain Bike. I really enjoy the racing format which KZN Mountain Biking has adopted for their XCO races, where riders are grouped into batches graded on ability, rather than their age groups or gender, which makes for some rather fast and tough racing – this is what Cross-Country racing is about! I managed to sneak an overall win in B Batch, and subsequently the overall women’s win. I’m looking forward to the next round.
Although March is ending, another big block of XC racing is just about to get underway: kicking things off with round three of the SA Cross-Country Series in Bloemfontein, followed by some racing in Namibia for African Mountain Bike Champs.
You’ll hear more about that in my next racer blog. Cheers! – Tiffany Keep @tiffanykeep