GET SAD­DLE SAVVY

PRE­PAR­ING FOR YOUR MTB RACE

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT & IM­AGES © SUP­PLIED }

MOUN­TAIN BIK­ING (MTB) IS ANY­THING BUT PLAIN SAIL­ING. BRAVING TOUGH TER­RAIN ON A NAR­ROW MOUN­TAIN­OUS TRAIL IS CHAL­LENG­ING AND RE­QUIRES GREAT SKILL AND PER­SE­VER­ANCE TO REACH THE FIN­ISH LINE. AS THE SPORT IS GROW­ING IN SOUTH AFRICA, ESPE­CIALLY AMONG YOUNG­STERS, HERE’S WHAT A YOUNG NOVICE RIDER NEEDS TO KNOW AHEAD OF THE FIRST RACE.

Cy­cling coach and owner of Pro-Cy­cling Coach­ing, Morne Bester, says de­ter­mi­na­tion, learn­ing how to move around in a pack, and proper nu­tri­tion are cru­cial. “With­out the will to do well, you won’t do well. Train reg­u­larly, eat well, be ded­i­cated to the sport and you’ll suc­ceed,” he says.

The Spur School’s MTB League is un­der­way and Bester, a pro­fes­sional cy­clist and win­ner of the Cape Town Cy­cle Tour in 2000, says MTB rac­ing is “tough on the body” and young rid­ers re­quire “tal­ent and fit­ness” to reach the fin­ish line in the Na­tional Fi­nal in Ma­galies­burg, Gauteng, in Oc­to­ber.

“It’s not an easy sport. It’s very stren­u­ous, but young rid­ers learn as they race – that’s the best way to build ex­pe­ri­ence and to per­form. Fre­quent rac­ing and con­stant ef­fort is what it takes. Any pro rider will tell you that,” he says.

Bester says there’s a sim­ple an­swer to be­com­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced rider: Learn how to ride op­ti­mally, stay within the group, but al­ways look for the op­por­tu­nity to pull ahead. “But equally im­por­tant, struc­ture those train­ing ses­sions well. Rid­ers need to know what to do and when to do it to help them per­form,” he says.

A rider’s train­ing pro­gramme should be rig­or­ous and in­clude a triple line-up, which com­prises of tempo, re­cov­ery, and hard qual­ity rides. Dur­ing re­cov­ery and tempo rides, rid­ers en­gage in slow and medium ef­fort on the bike, while hard qual­ity rides in­volve a “big­ger and harder ef­fort”. One day be­fore a race, rid­ers are ad­vised to en­gage in re­cov­ery rides to pre­pare the body op­ti­mally. Rest is also im­per­a­tive, and in the lead-up to a big race, at least one rest day should be in­cluded dur­ing the week be­fore.

Ben Puddu, Head of MTB at Paul Roos Gym­na­sium in Stel­len­bosch, says that MTB cy­cling is all about good bal­ance. “Our MTB team at Paul Roos com­prises at least 40 rid­ers that com­pete in the Spur School MTB League, and we coach them to in­cor­po­rate one day of rest in their five-day train­ing pro­gramme,” he says.

Hen­ning van Wyk, owner of Pedal­worx,a bike shop in Somerset West, says the bike plays a key role in your per­for­mance. “The qual­ity of the bike will de­ter­mine how smooth the race will be. And other equip­ment like a hel­met and rid­ing shoes will en­sure max­i­mum com­fort on race day, which rid­ers need in or­der to reach the fin­ish line suc­cess­fully,” he says.

High school pupils par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Spur Schools MTB League know that the com­pe­ti­tion is tight and you need ev­ery ad­van­tage. With 493 par­tic­i­pat­ing schools com­prised of over 10,500 entries tak­ing place over 46 re­gional events across nine prov­inces, the League is the big­gest high school cy­cling pro­gramme in South Africa, and the largest feeder sys­tem for moun­tain bik­ing in the coun­try.

For more in­for­ma­tion on when the next Spur Schools MTB League events are due to take place or how to en­ter visit www.spurmt­bleague.co.za or www.trail­tag.co.za for League school re­sults.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.