Mountain biker beats grueling 620 km race

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Photos: SUPPLIED

After eight grueling days of cycling 620 kilometers in 15,350 meters of vertical ascent at the 2021 Absa Cape Epic in the Western Cape, local Luvuyo ‘Thando’ Siyasi was eager for the challenge in the next mountain bike race. .

Siyasi who rode alongside his partner Nhlanhla Mthembu from Ballito in KZN finished the race in 33: 11.09.6 putting them in 58e global position among hundreds of national and international runners. He is part of the FNB Change a Life team which consists of eight other avid cyclists.

Director Martin Dreyer said he was introduced to Siyasi about four years ago by a friend who asked for his help in pursuing Siyasi’s passion. “The FNB Change A Life Academy is based in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in rural KZN. I had a friend who was a farmer in Molteno, who was helping some riders and told me about a youngster who needed help. He (Siyasi) came and spent a lot of time in the Valley of a Thousand Hills where he received extensive training. We provided him with a Cannondale bike and gear. When he returned home he started working in a bicycle shop in Komani because of his passion for cycling, ”said Dreyer.

Siyasi, originally from Molteno but residing in Komani, participated and finished the 17th edition of the race. “I was ready because it wasn’t my first time. I must admit it was extremely hard. We also had a challenge where our bikes were sometimes faulty, but we continued to complete the game even in extreme weather conditions. ”

Dreyer said Siyasi was good as a bicycle mechanic, which fit the cycling game perfectly. “He is a well-mannered person and a hard worker. He makes it easy for me to want to help him.

He said the pair grew stronger over the stages and developed some form of connection.

When you have to do eight days of 80 or 90 km a day with huge uphill sections, it’s pretty intimidating and you get nervous. Now that they have done it and have received their final medals, they will be motivated to participate again as they now know how much their training needs to go up a few levels. Sky is the limit.”

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