USN: At home with the Dusi Duke, Martin Dreyer (14.09.2012)
Affectionately known as the Dusi Duke, Martin Dreyer has invested a lot into the development of rural athletes in the Valley of 1000 hills. We sent Liezel to Durban for a catch-up with this Giant Aqua Oppblåsbar Water Park amazing…
Added on 2012/09/14
“I LOVE MY JOB….”
Mpilo Zondi – athlete of the Future….
‘CHANGE A LIFE’ SPORTS DAY:
Twelve of my CAL Zulus and I hosted the Change a Life Inter-Schools X Country championships at Nagle on the other day.
Sport in its rawest form – Kids running barefoot as if their lives depended on it.
What a spectacular occasion….
Instead of the 14 Schools sending their 20 best runners, we reduced it to sending their 10 best. This was necessary due to the increased number of School’s participating, so as to give the kids a more memorable experience and allow us to keep a “handle on the occasion” – providing an all round great experience – DJ blasting Music, lunch afterwards, Cash Prizes to top 5 individuals in the girl & boy categories for Junior and High School. Then also an overall cash Prize going to the winning Junior and High School. A change from the “eat as much as you can” at the Spur (which was generously donated by Spur) & Movie.
African Time saw the kids line up, barefoot and raring to GO! Their faces resembling the innocent eagerness of a child about to receive a treat – oblivious to the heart thumping, lung burning deal that lay waiting ahead.
10 best from 14 Schools get to race at the CAL Inter Schools – Junior Start
Just before the start, my CAL Running League Coordinator John Ntuli said to me, “Mart, watch just how fast they run!” “I know how fast they can run,” I replied. “No,” said John with a big grin, “watch how fast they run now because there is money to be won!”
My Goodness, was he spot on – their little leg turnover was incredible. Both Junior 3km and Senior 7km routes are tough, each with a defining Hill climb. Some blew spectacularly, whilst others paced themselves to perfection. The USN Cytopower awaiting at the Finish was the Cherry on Top.
Tough Hill…. kids gave their all….
This occasion is something to experience and so I give you an open invitation to come and join us for the next Inter Schools X-Country Champs down in the Valley of a Thousand hills. Come enjoy the run or give a helping hand.
Nhlanhlayayebuze High School, coached by CAL Nhlanhla Cele, absolutely dominated the High Schools, placing 1st to 5th overall.
Sansikane Primary School, coached by CAL Bethwil Ngidi, won the Junior School Title.
A huge thanks to ’Change a Life’, USN & Hi-Tec for their ongoing support of my CAL academy, something which is very close to my Heart.
Change a Life Update contd….
The ‘Change a Life’ Academy has now turned its focus to Paddling, especially with that the Fish River Canoe Marathon and Dusi are looming up ahead. However, those that are training for the Triple Challenge, still spend a fair amount of time on their bikes (here a major overhaul of worn drives drive chains is necessary) – I am so very grateful to Kobie for donating her old bicycle, which will go to Sizwe (hoping he will do the Cape-Epic next year) and to Michiel for purchasing a new bike for my top cyclist, John Ntuli, (45th in the 2012 Absa Cape-Epic). You have no idea how excited these 2 young lads are…. thank you.
Now having completed the annual fund raiser , ‘High Five Cycle Tour’, up in the Northern Province, I am pleased to say that 4 of my CAL Zulus (John, Mkhonzeni, Sizwe & Bethwel) played an integral part in helping behind the scenes, waking up most mornings at 2am to get the necessary done…. Great work from Usn’s Trevor & Riaan – the ice cold RecoverMax and Protein Fuel 25 after a big day in the saddle were real winners, amongst all the other Usn treats provided – thanks guys.
Expresso TV shoot
Expresso (via Usn) host Liesel van de Westhuizen visited our home to get the inside scoop re my Change a Life Academy. It was aired on the 14th Sept, here is the YouTube link to the show.
She also interviewed John Ntuli & Kwanda Mhlophe, which will be aired in a separate time slot.
A huge thanks to USN, as this was great exposure for my CAL Academy and for their continued support of my ‘Change a Life’ Academy – with the popular Muscle Fuel, fondly called the ‘Milkshake’ and CytoPower the foundation of its success.
Canoe Nite Race
Many of my CAL Zulus did a 15km Canoe Nite race in ‘Maritzburg – Paddling on the Flat water of Campsdrift, the pace was explosive – The best results were: Lucas 10th, with Kwanda a close 12th and was 3rd u/23. CAL U16 paddler, Mthobisi was the 4th Junior (which is U18). Mpilo Zondi was the 1st U/14 and got a little cash prize.
Lucas says to me after the race – “I think it was Mpilo’s first prize money ever, in that he didn’t want to show us how much was in the envelope, I even asked him to open it but he was too shy. He is so very happy”
Jock Claasens Canoe Race – 16th Sept
This popular Canoe Race is on a forgiving part of the Umgeni River, just below Albert Falls Dam.
The start is chaotic, as Paddlers run 50m with canoes, jostling for position to begin racing downstream for 16km.
Results: Lucas-6th, Eric-7th, Kwanda-8th, Mhlonishwa-11th, Mmeli-13th, Nhlanhla-18th, Emmanuel-38th, Bethwel-51st, Mthobisi-59th U16.
Change a Life Inter-Schools X Country championships
Twelve of my CAL Zulus and I hosted the CAL Inter-Schools X Country Champs at Nagle on the weekend. What a spectacular occasion. Kids running as if their lives depended on it.
Instead of the 14 Schools sending their 20 best runners, we reduced it to sending their 10 best.
This was necessary due to the increased number of Schools participating, so as we could keep a “handle on the occasion” – providing an all round great experience – DJ blasting Music, lunch afterwards (thanks to Parklane Spar), Cash Prizes to top 5 individuals in the girl & boy categories for Junior and High School, going down to 5th position. Then also an overall cash Prize of R1000 going to the winning Junior and High School, R800 2nd & R600 3rd.
Nhlanhlayayebuze High School, coached by Nhlanhla Cele, absolutely dominated the High Schools, placing 1st to 5th overall.
Sansikane Primary School, coached by Bethwil Ngidi won the Junior School Title.
Fish River Canoe Marathon (1400 paddlers) – thanks Morne from Hi-Tec for so speedily sending my Zulus the Hi-Tec ‘Durango’ bootie – the ideal Aquatic shoe for this legendary Canoe Race which involves numerous portages around dangerous weirs. The CAL Zulus had a fantastic journey in all aspects – not only fun big water paddling, but also seeing a part of the country (Eastern Cape) which is quite desolate and poverty stricken – making the Dusi Valley look like an oasis.
Donate your Birthday campaign by Hi-Tec
This exciting venture by Hi-Tec, trying to raise added awareness and funds for the Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy continues….
Please visit this link: http://on.fb.me/QBxo80 to see how you could “Donate your Birthday”, starts at R90…. And for that you receive a customised CAL Buff.
This coming weekend the CAL Zulus are assisting their Lembethe Canoe Club’s hosting of the Dam 2 Dam Canoe Race. A race which helps raise funds for the Club and literally finishes in their back yard – at Nagle Dam.
On the weekend a strong Change a Life contingent took on the challenging Umpetha Canoe Race. A unique race in that the finish line is on top of a mountain.
Tricky Mussons Rapid….
Going into the 2015 Dusi, Change a Life’s mission is more on applying the “multiplier principle”, expanding its base, giving opportunity to younger paddlers. And with this in mind, the focus will be on the upcoming juniors paddlers.
Change a life Junior winner – Mthobisi Cele
The Umpetha Challenge afforded me the opportunity to observe our juniors up close in racing conditions. Taking numerous photos, I was able to analyse mistakes, poor choice of line down rapids and incorrect strategy when it comes to race tactics [pacing/surging to get close onto a more experienced paddlers tail in a tricky rapid/drinking sufficiently/paddling “softer” down a rapid so as to not throw yourself off balance if your paddle strikes a rock….etc ]
Young Change a Lifers learning from mistakes – paying their “School Fees”
I just wanted to say, it was a huge learning curve but most encouraging watching these juniors in action. Come the Dusi 2015, I think you will feel the same….:)
Albeit a local Kzn race, Change a Life achieved 7 out of the top 10 positions.
With Change a Life ambassador Eric Zondi, taking line honours.
Durban – The running arm of Martin Dreyer’s Computershare Change A Life Academy made a big impression at the recent 14km The Sandy beach run, presented by Thule, along the sand from Umhlanga to Suncoast as ten runners clinched top 20 places.
John Ntuli, who also coaches the RMB Change A Life Academy mountain bike team, stunned the race by finishing second while young team mate Sanele Maphumelo was right on his heels in third.
The race was A special one for many of the team as it was the first running event they’d taken part in outside of the Valley of a Thousand Hills while, for a few, it was also a first ever glimpse of the ocean.
“With the Change a Life runners still very much novices when it comes to taking part in the local racing scene, the buzz of excitement at the start of The Sandy made the already present ‘butterflies’ in our runners’ stomachs do flick flacks!” described Dreyer.
“Some of our Change a Life Zulus hadn’t ever seen the ocean before so what an experience running along the beach for 14km was for them, let alone for us to end up having all ten of our team members finish inside the top 20!
Started as a canoeing programme built on Dreyer’s sublime paddling career in which he won both the iconic Dusi and Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathons seven times respectively, the Change a Life operation has since branched out into running and mountain biking.
“We got the running side of things underway about four years ago and it has been a fascinating journey from then until now,” said Dreyer.
“Initially we identified nine schools in and around Nagle Dam and ,once we had the buy-in from the headmasters, we started mapping out courses on which we could host a weekly cross country race at each school.
“Our paddlers were the coordinators of the weekly races at the various schools and they would record the times of the top 50 finishers each week and so we started to identify talent at each school.
“At the end of each term we then hosted an inter-schools cross country race where the top ten runners from each school came together and competed for the winners’ prize of a team meal at Spur, followed by a movie afterwards.”
The programme’s popularity saw its reach extended to 18 schools in 2013 which brought about a new set of challenges.
“With there being more schools last year it was quite tough to organize 18 separate races every single week so this year we decided to host four centrally located races each week that the school runners can attend.”
It is from this schools programme that Dreyer’s 10-strong Change a Life team was born.
“Kwanda Mhlophe, one of our original paddlers and a very strong runner himself, has now become our running coordinator and he ensures the guys organize the various schools races, gets the running team training, etc.
Change a Life Kwanda Mhlophe – leading the CAL charge….
“Being between 16 and 20 years old, the team is still very young and very new to the racing scene. They’re developing with every race that they compete in though and hopefully in the not too distant future we can start seeing them compete in some of the bigger races.
“For now though the smaller weekend trail running events and colourful events such as The Sandy are helping them grow tremendously,” said Dreyer.
More info can be found at www.martindreyeracademy.com
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – CHANGE A LIFE ACADEMY
THE SANDY BEACH RUN, PRESENTED BY THULE
2.John Ntuli 55.40
3.Joe Maphumelo 56.10
5.Siyabonga Ngcongo 57.41
6.Noyo Ngubo 57.50
8.Mxolisi Zondi 58.15
10.Nathi Mdluli 58.42
13.Thobani Nzuza 59.43
17.Mthobisi Mzolo 1:00.44
18.Lungelo Mkhasibe 1:01.10
19.Kwanda Mhlophe 1:02.13
RMB Change a Life Mtb Team
With the prospect of great prize money, every ‘robber & his dog’ arrived at the renowned Mandela Capture Site, for the start of the inaugural Mandela Mtb Marathon. Close to zero temperatures and gale force winds, made for testing racing conditions.
Bongumusa chasing to catch the group ahead….
RMB CAL Mazwi Smimango
Newcomer to the team, Mazwi, had the ride of the day, ticking off the third requisite to officially become a RMB CAL Team member, by beating Jeannie.
RMB Change a Life John Ntuli….
Sthembiso started fast but couldn’t keep up with the Kargo Pro riders Travis Walker & Stuart Marais whom placed 1st & 3rd respectively), dropping back he finished a credible 7th overall, with John Ntuli just behind him in 9th. John was ahead at one stage but his shock locked and he lost valuable time over the rocky technical sections.
Maza is Mister consistency…. placing 17th.
Newcomer Schoolboy Siyanda Masango….
Sthembiso Masango – 7th
John Ntuli – 9th
Masa Dontso – 17th
Bongumusa Zikhali – 22nd
Mazwi Smimango – 24th
Mboneni Ngcobo – 27th
Jeannie Dreyer – 29th
Sipho Kupiso – 33rd
Siyanda Masango -37th
When Sibusiso Khuzwayo was a youngster growing up near Durban he used to ride his bike because the carefree days of youth allowed for this but more importantly, because he loved it. As time went on and he got older and “life” started to happen, his riding days became less and less until they were non – existent and it was only when the doctor told him that his blood pressure was getting high and he needed to exercise more that he rediscovered his joy of riding and over the past while has gotten back on the bike and feels a whole lot better for it.
“This is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life now because it’s good for me, it helps me control my weight and has allowed me to bring my blood pressure down and I just love it”, said Khuzwayo. He has ridden the Amashova and the Tour d”Urban in the past and on the 30th August he will tackle his first long distance MTB course when he rides the 42km route at the MTB Dash.
The advent of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash and Sibusiso’s love of the bike is a very happy coincidence as he is also the Municipal Manager for the uMgungundlovu District Municipality who are the overriding controlling body for the Mandela Day Marathon and its associated activities. He is a man that wholeheartedly embraces Nelson Mandela’s ethos of providing opportunities for all and this became evident when asked why a mountain bike event has been added to the Mandela Day event’s programme this year, saying “Madiba belongs to us all – to all walks of life. By bringing a MTB event into the programme it was another way to honour Madiba’s life and to open his legacy to other people apart from runners.
Sibusiso Khuzwayo, like many others on the 30th August will be riding his bike just because he loves it and wants to be part of something that is already touched by Madiba’s magic.
The boys from the “RMB Change a Life MTB team” on the other hand who were also at the Capture Site where the start and finish of the event will be checking out the course before the big day, are competing for very different reasons.
This is a professional team that is making waves in MTB circles with many talented riders within its ranks and are a product of a well organised and successful development programme and no one will be surprised if one or more of them climb onto the winner’s podium of the day of the race. Team leader John Ntuli was adamant that they were competing in the event to win it for the prestige and the prizes on offer and with all eight members of their group riding the 42km race, competition is bound to be fierce on the day across all the categories.
The Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash has a 21km and 42km race that has lots of prizemoney attached as well as a 10km family ride with the first race starting at 9am on the day. Entries are open for the event at www.roag.co.za and will close when the first 600 x entries have been received. General event information can also be found at www.kznmtb.co.za.
Change a life Paddling:
A ten strong Change a Life Team travelled down to the Berg Canoe Marathon, half of which was made up of the up and coming Juniors in the Change a Life Team. What a great opportunity for them to be on a road trip to the Wine region of South Africa. This Berg Canoe race was made so much tougher by the wet and extreme cold conditions paddlers had to endure. Thanks to Hi-Tec for couriering Herman base layers and Boreas wind breakers to the boys upon their arrival in Paarl. Eric finished Day 1 in the sort after top 10 but then had two unfortunate swims in the icy waters on Day 2 and struggled to recover from that, finishing 17th. However after four days Eric finished 13th overall. Similarly 2013 race winner Lance King had a swim at Daljosofat weir and subsequently cramped profusely, dropping back to 16th. All in all, a most encouraging performance from a young team, with final results of 8 Change a Life paddlers in the top 44. The highlight being Change a Life scooping 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall in the U18 Junior category.
Sent Lucas to a two day Development Coaching Summit which I attended as well and did a presentation on sustainable development.
As mentioned last month, a mentally disturbed person broke 8 Change a Life paddles in the equipment container for no apparent reason. I would like to order new paddles.
July has been quite a busy racing month with John and I racing the World Master Mtb Champs in Pmb. Undoubtedly the toughest75km one day Mtb race I have ever done, with 750m elevation gain in the first 12km for a warm up. John and I placed 9th & 6th in our respective age categories.
The following week, Bongumusa, John & Sipho cycled in the 45km Holla Trails Mtb Classic. A lot of single track made it most enjoyable. A great ride saw John place 2nd overall, with Bongumusa 3rd U 23 rider. To add value to his day’s training, John cycled 87km back to the Team House in the valley.
The RMB CAL Zulus were very excited to ride a new race called the Durban Stars. With big prize money, as expected the pros arrived on the day – Rourke Croeser (SA X-Country Champ) & Brendon Davids, which upped the ante. Sthembiso rode like a machine in the second bunch, coming 5th overall having been in a group 3rd to 6th. John came 7th & 2nd subvet, Mboneni 8th, Bongumsa 13th, newcomer Siyanda 24th.
The ten strong Change a Life Trail running team competed in the 8km & 17km Sportmans Warehouse Trail run in Pmb.
17km 3rd-Joe (CAL Run assistant), 4th-Mthobisi (CAL) and 5th-Noyo (CAL). In the 8km, juniors 1st-Thobani(CAL), 2nd-Siyabonga(CAL), 4th-Mxolisi(CAL), 5th-Phaka(CAL), 8th-Mvelo(CAL). Then in the 8km seniors, 1st-Kwanda (CAL), 2nd-Boyboy (CAL).
The next Trail took part in their backyard, the Crazy Store 1000 Hills Trail Run. Here CAL dominated the top positions, placing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the 10km and 20 km races. Receiving prize money for their efforts put huge smiles on their faces
RMB Change a Life Zulu Mtb Team
The month started with the popular Howick Mtb Classic. Technical single track and amazing scenery made the race most enjoyable. Best RMB Change a lifer was 6th placed Sthembiso Masango, closely followed by Mboneni Ngcobo. Next was Ndumiso Dontso, coming 11th. He has been a sensation with his exponential improvement over the last few months. Thereafter John Ntuli placed 13th, Sipho 14th and Bongumusa came 29th after having a mechanical.
The two day Dusi2c was the highlight of the month, where the RMB CAL Zulus had the opportunity to showcase their skills to Family and friends in the Valley of a 1000 Hills. The Dusi river was the directional backbone of the race and so had some interesting improvisation of getting from one side to the other.
YMCA Weir – not popular amongst Dusi paddlers….
Our strongest team of Mboneni & Sthembiso came unstuck 7km into Day 1, where Sthembiso crashed and buckled his wheel. They courageously soldiered on to finish 10th for the day. They had a great Day 2, finishing 4th.
RMB CAL Sthembiso Masango….
Dusi2c 2014 Prize winners….
John Ntuli & Ndumiso Dontso – 3rd First ever PODIUM for Development Riders in a Stage Race in South
Africa in overall standings
Sthembiso Masango & Mboneni Ngcobo – 7th
Sipho Kupiso & Bongumusa Zikhlai – 9th
RMB CALifers Bongumusa & Sipho….
Although I followed the race on Day 1, no spectators were allowed in the race Village at Mfula Store deep in the Valley of a 1000 Hills at Day 1 end – to keep numbers down and the rider bush experience at an optimum. So that made it impossible to follow their race on Day 2 until they reached Durban. So instead I used that morning to take part in the Hilton MTN National Series Mtb race where I sneaked a win in the VET category
Jeannie embraces the RMB CAL Mtb Team, trains with my Zulus when she can and wears the Team cycle top with pride, as can be seen in this lekker photo above, of her recce’ing the World Champs route 3 days before the big showdown.
Am so proud of her courageous 8th overall in the World Marathon Champs a few days ago. It was a brutally tough course but then that played right into her hands….
Jeannie was one of two South Africans in the top 10. First was SA Champ Robyn de Groot in 6th and Jeans in 8th overall. The next South African was Candice Neetlingh in 15th.
RMB Change a Life John Ntuli [30 to 35yr category] and I [45 to 50yr] raced in the Master World Champs the day before – referred to as the Rainbow Challenge. With the rain the night before, it was a mudfest. But whose complaining, it was the same for everyone. John and I placed 9th & 6th respectively in our age groups.
How privileged we were to take part in a World Champs on our doorstep.
Thank you RMB for your support of this grassroots Mtb Development Team, and Computershare, USN & Hi-Tec, continuing to change lives in the Valley of a 1000 Hills
Change a life Paddling:
The Change a Life paddlers have taken their paddle training to a higher level with the tough 240km Berg River Canoe Marathon only 12 days away. Juggling between the RMB CAL cyclists need of the CAL bus, we have used it to travel to Inanda Dam on weekends to grind out 4 to 5hr paddling sessions. The highlight of results this month has undoubtedly been K2 U16 sensations Dumisani Phetha & Mpilo Zondi, placing 2nd overall at the SA Marathon Champs in Gauteng – silver medal.
On the down side, a person broke 8 Change a Life paddlers in the equipment container for no apparent reason. He was caught a few days later trying to do it again. Not sure what to do as he is a mentally disturbed youngster. We used to lock the container, but then it would get broken into as they think there is now something valuable inside.
The ten strong Change a Life Trail running team has been travelling & competing flat out this month.
At the beginning of the month, the team ran the Maweni Trail run – getting 1st, 2nd & 4th in the 7km and 2nd , 5th, and 6th in the 14km.
Two weeks later they ran the scenic 14km Table Mnt Trail run in the Valley of a 1000 Hills. With stronger competition, the best guys did well to place 4th, 5th and 8th.
Tomorrow,CAL running league Coordinator, Kwanda Mhlophe, is taking the team to run the Sportsman Warehouse Trail run in PMB. With prize money up for grabs, the competition is sure to be tough. It will be fantastic if the Change a Life runners can place in the top. Unknown CAL female runner, Slindile Shabalala will surprise many .
Change a life Paddling:
KZN’s Premiere Multisport Race – Triple Challenge: Phenomenal victory for Change a Life John Ntuli in the highly competitive Multi-X event [20km Trail Run/52km Mtb/7km Trail Run], ahead of second place SA Champ Brand Du Plessis. Third was Change a Life Sizwe Mkhasibe. Sizwe impressed all by having the fastest run time.
CAL Nhlanhla Cele placed 3rd in the Multisport event [20km Trail Run/52km Mtb/20km Paddle], with 2013 Dusi Champ, Lance Kime taking line honours. CAL Lucas Mthalane placed a credible 5th overall.
KZN Sprint Champs – Sprints is a very specialist explosive short race, only 200m/500m/1000m in distance and it usually benefits the CAL youngsters who operate on raw talent as opposed to the older CAL paddlers who prefer to focus on the longer distance races like Dusi.
U16 CAL star, Mpilo Zondi raced like a true champ – In the K1 he placed 3rd 200m, 4th 500m K1. In the K2, paddling with CAL Dumisani Phetha, they placed 3rd 200m, 3rd 500m and 1st 1000m K2. He then raced the 5000m and came 2nd. From this great performance, he received his KZN Provincial colours.
KZN Marathon Champs: This event is more suited to the CAL paddlers than the Sprints The star CAL performers in the Marathon Champs were Change a Life Mhlonishwa Hlongwane, who obtained 2 silver and 1 Gold medal in the U23 age group. He is the happiest person because he beat Dusi Valley hero Michael Mbanjwa by 2 boat lengths in the K1 event. Mpilo Zondi & Dumisani Phetha raced to Gold in the U16 category.
Recent School holidays have been a little disruptive on our weekly runs, however the kids that are talented don’t disappoint – as the saying goes “the cream still rises to the top….
RMB Change a Life ZULU MTB Team
It was awesome to have the RMB Change a Life Zulus adding value to the Change a Life Paddlers’ onslaught on the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon. Having “local knowledge” of the intricate paths of the Valley, allowed the RMB CAL Zulus to pop up in remote places, giving their support on the tough portage sections .
Wartburg Mtb Classic – 65km
Last year this was the inaugural Mtb race for the RMB CAL team. I remember they were scattered over B, C & D batches. Fast forward to 2014, the entire team was A batched. The RMB CAL Zulus were highly excited and motivated to show off their fine form. It was a brilliant course, with tough steep hills, testing single track and a few pros to keep the pace honest.
The commentator and public witnessing the finish, were astounded when 3 RMB CAL Zulus crossed the line in top 10. Apart from Vela cramping severely in his lower back and being ambulanced to the finish, the guys rode exceptionally well. Hard work really does pay off !!
5th-John, 8t –Stembiso 10th–Mboneni, 16th–Bongumusa, 23rd-Martin, 34th-Sizwe, 46th-Masa, 56th-Sabelo, 68th-Sipho, 83rd-Siyanda.
Intaba Ridge Mtb Classic – 65km
With Joberg2c lurking on the horizon, the RMB Change a Life Zulus are always looking to “add value” to their long term performance – and what better way than to train hard the day before a local race.
With this in mind, the RMB CAL Zulus rode from the valley, to overnight at PMB Backpackers.
The following day they rode to the race. In muddy conditions, my Zulus raced as if their lives were at stake. The performance of the year so far was achieved, when Sthembiso stood tall on the podium in 3rd position overall, beaming from ear to ear. Mboneni 4th, Masa 8th , Bongumusa 19th . John Ntuli up near the front, unfortunately missed a marker and went off course.
The following week, the RMB CAL Zulus took part in the first of the SA Cup Series XCO at the infamous Cascades Mtb Park. The course [lap racing] was super technical with radical short sharp inclines, gearing up for the World UCI XCO in a few weeks. Admittedly I opted for one of the ‘chicken run’ options in my 4 lap Veterans race beforehand, but then had the luxury of watching the Elite & my Zulus racing.
With John Ntuli claiming a 3rd overall in the competitive Sub veteran category, he was well pleased, seeing that this short intense lap racing is not his speciality.
Stembiso placed 17th in the highly competitive Elite category, with Mboneni 8 positions behind him. I was pleased that there were no crashes in the Rock Gardens, a great experience for the RMB CAL Zulus.
Royal Drakensberg MTB Challenge
Last weekend the RMB Change a Life Zulu MTB team travelled up to the Drakensberg – mini training camp. On the Saturday before our race, we explored the infamous Berg & Bush territory, curtesy of race owner Farmer Gary Green. There was no holding back as we punched out a solid 4hr ride with a surprise 2km King of the Mnt right at the end. That night we stayed at a rustic, but comfortable Farm house on the shores of the Spionkop Dam.
The guys loved the fact that the number 1 KZN female cyclist, Jeannie Bomford, too wore RMB CAL kit.
With Joberg2c now the focus, it was good prep for my Zulus to stand on the start line with tired legs.
From the gun, there was a 6km climb and there seemed no respite on the gnarly rugged downhills as well. The most testing 50km Mtb race on the Kzn calendar, but also the most scenic too. Admittedly a niche race tucked away in the Berg, but one most worthy of doing. RMB CAL Zulus Sthembiso & Mboneni rode magnificently, standing proudly on the podium in 2nd and 3rd.
4th – Ndumiso Ndontso [phenomenal ride – recent addition to Team – 6 months]
6th – Bongumusa
7th – Martin
8th – Jeannie
20th – Vela
John Ntuli and Sizwe Mkhasibe stayed behind in order to pre ride this coming weekend’s Triple Challenge Mtb route. The Triple Challenge consists of a 20km Trail Run/50km Mtb/7km Trail Run. It is the premiere Multisport Race in KZN.