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How It All Began

In our home, mountain biking was Rudy’s sport/hobby. Mine was running – road running. Rudy had regularly been riding since 2013, and I tried it out with him a couple of times in 2014 but fell myself into oblivion so I vowed that I would never get back on a bike again.

Fast forward to May 2018, Rudy arrived home from work one evening and said: If you want to do a sport that we can do together, you’ll have to start riding as I can’t run with you. My response of course was: No chance, I’m not interested, I’ll keep running, and you keep riding. And he dropped the bomb: well you have four months to get bike fit, I’ve entered you into the Karoo2Coast with me in September. My first thoughts were, why would you do that, you know I hate riding, I don’t even have a bike, how am I supposed to get this done in 4 months, etc. etc.

My brother-in-law borrowed me his spare mountain bike – which was too big for me but at the time, was good enough to get the job done. I said to Rudy, I’d start riding but that I wanted some skills training this time as I didn’t want to keep falling and wanted to learn how to ride the bike properly. I was introduced to BreakAway Rides, did a couple of workshops with Katja, as well as weekly rides to learn as much as I could as soon as I could. The indoor trainer at home, Zwift and I became good friends to try and get bike fit as fast as possible.

Louis from Knipe Racing, who keeps our bikes in top shape, warned Rudy – are you sure you want your wife to start riding? You’ll create a monster, and she’ll end up riding more than you!

August 2018, my husband bought me my very 1st mountain bike, a 27.5inch Scott Spark. I was in 7th heaven and wanted to ride daily! The Karoo2Coast arrived, we had a fantastic weekend with friends, had a great ride, and I was pretty chuffed with the results for a 1st event after only being on the bike for four months!

The bug had bitten, and I wanted to ride at every opportunity (I still do), and I tried to enter every event there was, I loved the camaraderie, the vibe, the views and memories created along the way. I was addicted!

But I still didn’t feel bike fit, and although I was becoming more competent on the trails, I couldn’t keep up with some of my friends or with my husband for that matter. I didn’t like the fact that he had to push me up all the hills just so that I didn’t hold him back too much. I had come into contact with the Last Lioness, Hannele Steyn while riding with BreakAway Rides and she offered to help me with a fitness program. I followed the plan diligently, and on to January 2019, I was a different rider! I was getting stronger, and I was keeping up, I no longer needed that push up the hills and I loved every minute of it.

In the meantime, Rudy had won a draw at Mediclinic Louis Leipoldt which included a guaranteed entry into the 2019 ABSA Cape Epic. He won the same draw in 2018 but turned it down. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but when Mediclinic extended the offer again, I was adamant that Epic 2019 should happen. I now understood what mountain biking was all about, and I knew that he was more than capable, he had the physical strength, and he had the mental strength to take on this challenge. I think I was more excited than he was. I tried to do as much of his outdoor training with him, so I knew what preparation it took for him to take on this mammoth challenge.

In March 2019, Rudy and his partner took on the ABSA Cape Epic. I was a super proud wife every single day as I stood at the sideline watching how they conquered each stage. On day 1 of the Epic, I knew that I wanted to take on this challenge someday, and I wanted to do it with him. I saw many broken cyclists including Rudy and his partner that week, but at the end of the week when it was all done and dusted, one of the guys asked if I still wanted to take on the challenge after witnessing each stage. I said Yes, the sooner, the better!

As time went on, Louis’ words came back to haunt Rudy – I was riding daily, I entered every event I could, I read mountain biking magazines, I was researching on the internet, I wouldn’t walk past a cycling shop without checking out new kit or accessories, I was fixated on seeing who was on the trails when I drove past, feeling that pang of FOMO if I wasn’t on my bike, I was watching cycling on tv, heck I even watched the Tour de France this year (now that’s a shocker)! 😊

I began watching the UCI Men and Ladies, and I started following them on social media, they are huge inspirations to the average rider and novices like myself. There was one UCI Rider that really stood out for me, a female with a fantastic riding style, I watched her at a local race in Stellenbosch and then got to see her in action at the Epic and this lady became my daily mentor and inspiration without her even knowing. More to follow in the next blog………

But all in all, I loved the fact that I could ride with my husband – he has the patience of a saint, he reminds me of skills or techniques when I’m getting tired, he knows when I need to take a break or when I want to push harder, he reads me so well that we hardly have to talk, but it’s so good to know his at my side and that I can enjoy ‘his’ sport alongside him.

Till next time,

C&R

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