Capacity Building Programme Bearing Fruit

Apart from introducing young riders to the sport through the clinics programme and nurturing the talented riders in the higher performance element of the project, a significant pillar of the KZN Cycling Development programme is to undertake capacity building programmes across all the districts. This programme is structured so as to be able to provide training in the various “backend” elements of the sport to adults across the province so that the sport can be grown at all levels.

Introductory courses are run in elements such as coaching, mechanics, event safety, event management, officiating and club and event administration and over the past years, a large number of people have passed through the programmes and are active in the different fields.

This year, focus was also given to some “high end” courses to not only increase the overall capacity in the province, but also with the express aim of making people more employable in the different elements allied to the sport. A national commissaire course and also a team manager’s course was held earlier in the year, and a number of people from these courses have already been active at the different events in the province. These courses were supplemented by a “bike technicians course” at the end of 2019 and recently the first ever Trail Builders course being held with 15 x representatives from four of the KZN districts attending. The course was run by Tim Keep who was able to impart his knowledge and experience to the attendees – both in the lecture room and more importantly, in the practical sessions that made up part of the course. This all culminated with a new trail being designed and built at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg and the experience gained by all will stand them in good stead in being more employable with new skills in their home districts.

It’s no use running training programmes if people are not going to be able to use the skills learnt so it’s exciting that those that attended the bike technicians course have now been contracted to undertake the extensive bike maintenance programme that has started to roll out across the province. KZN Cycling has a large number of clinic and racing standard bikes in all 11 x districts that require continual maintenance, and as time goes on, through the normal rollout of the programme, these bikes and other linked equipment require more and more upkeep. The process has started this past week with all of the trained mechanics being on duty sorting out all the uMgungundlovu District bikes and equipment and over the next weeks, they will be going out to all the districts to carry out the necessary repairs and upkeep of the equipment.

As the programme builds, so too will all these elements increase.

New Year Update

Since the start of the New Year, it seems that things have been moving in fast forward around the development programme with all that has been going on of late. The district officers have been at the schools on a regular basis making sure that the clinics programme across all eleven districts are ongoing and more than 8000 x youngsters have gone through the programme since the beginning of January alone. Capacity building courses in King Cetshwayo, eThekwini and iLembe have all gone ahead and these will be followed soon by the courses in uMgungundlovu. The racing seasons have all started off and large groups from the respective development HP squads have all been competing with some superb results being achieved including various provincial championships titles and a number of podium positions across the board.

The development programme is ever changing and what started three years ago, is now a mature programme that is now being used as a template for all provinces in the country as well as other countries in the developing world. A good result for all that have been involved thus far.

KZN Road Cycling Championships

The 2020 KZN Provincial Road Championships was successfully staged by Johann Wykerd and his team supported by the KZN Road Commission in Wartburg on the weekend of 25th & 26th January. A good size field across all the varying age categories including a large contingent of KZN Cycling Development HP squad riders competed in the time trial and road race competitions on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The roads in the Wartburg area have been used on a number of different occasions over the years for major events including National and African Continental Road Championships and also the UCI Masters Road World Championships as far back as 2012, and the minimal traffic in the area allied to the rolling nature of the terrain always makes for great racing conditions – and yet challenging enough to ensure all riders are tested completely.

Saturday’s time trial saw races over 15km, 20km and 30km – the length varying according to the age categories – and despite a large proportion of the main men’s race top twenty results being filled by the older gents, it was the impetuous youngster, Travis Stedman, still a Junior rider, that won the day and was crowned as the Provincial Time Trial Champion. Frances Janse van Rensburg and Tiffany Keep, both U23 women took the top sports in the women’s event.

On day two, the various road race competitions took place in hot and windy conditions that put paid to many a rider’s chances and in the earlier races, the development squad performed exceptionally well with a clutch of medals attained, including a Championships title in the U17 boys race for Thabiso Zindela who had been narrowly beaten in the TT the day before. Tiffany Keep and Frances Janse van Rensburg were again the top two women on the day, but with their positions reversed with Tiffany coming out on top in the road race. In the main man’s race of the day, the KZN Road Team were well represented in the break of the day but again no one could keep up with Travis Stedman who rode exceptionally well to take the overall title as well as his Junior category. Henry Liebenberg (U23) was in second place overall and the winner of the U23 category with Luke Chambers rounding out the podium and winning the Elite category gold.

Another good provincial championships staged and all riders are looking forward to carrying their good form forward to the National Road Championships in Mpumalanga in February.

Bergville becomes the centre of attraction

The eyes of the South African cycling will focus on the small Drakensberg village of Bergville next week when the Drakensberg Extravaganza rolls into town for a sporting and cultural festival with the road cycling race which starts and finishes in Bergville on the 24th November being one of the sporting highlights of the 11-day festival.

This year the road riders have a choice of three distances from a short 15km fun ride, a 40km intermediate event up to a serious 84km test. The start and finish of all events is in Bergville with the 84km riders completing a loop around the picturesque Woodstock Dam. All three routes feature some stunning vistas and competitors will ride with the Drakensberg mountain range creating a massive backdrop to their efforts.

The long route, which has been reversed from 2018, includes some testing climbs and a flat final 25km which means the top riders are faced with a test of fitness and tactics as they aim for a share of the generous prize fund. The route has been carefully put together to ensure it is not so arduous that the backmarkers will not also enjoy their day in the saddle.

For more information and entry forms go to http://drakensbergextra.co.za/ or contact Michelle on 084 407 5566 or Kelvin on 082 446 9833. Online entries are via ROAG (www.roag.co.za) and entries close on Sunday.

End of Year Update

It has been a very busy period of the year in the development programme these past months. In October alone there have been 112 scheduled clinics held which 4742 children attended and this far more than 23 000 children having come through the development programme this year. As well as clinics, there have also been capacity building courses that have been held this last month with coaching, mechanics, officiating, event management and safety and security courses held. There has also been marshal training courses which has resulted in 230 new marshals being trained. Several district races have also been held across the whole province which allows the children to practice and show the new skills that they have learnt over the last couple of months and to also allow the children to have some friendly competition against their peers. As this year draws to a close and children start going on holiday so the schedule starts to slow down, and we can begin preparations in order to start in January again with a bang. 

A Busy Events Schedule

It’s been a busy few weeks for the development programme with riders competing all over the country in a variety of events and activities.

The BMX National Series rounds 9 & 10 as well as the National BMX Championships was staged in Gauteng on the 21st & 22nd September and KZN sent through a large contingent of riders including 14 x riders that have progressed through the KZN Cycling Development programme. The smaller size of berms and jumps lent itself to being better suited to younger riders however made the Elite races no less exciting and the KZN team achieved some excellent results with a few outstanding performances.

Following in his big brother’s footsteps with a clear natural talent for riding bicycles, Mongezi Madida who is the younger brother of Manqoba managed to achieve an SA 4 placing in the final which as a novice rider who only started riding BMX this year and racing in the Expert Class, was a fantastic achievement. Wandile Mbili from Ilembe also achieved an excellent result considering this was his first national event winning through to the finals and attaining a SA7 number. Tyler Thompson managed to retain his SA 1 title with clinical racing from start to finish and other good results from the development group came from Tate Barnard – SA3, Mvelo Ntombela – SA6, Sphelele Ntombela – SA7, Mongezi Madida – SA4, Anele Ndlovu SA3, Logan Lambert SA6, Manasseh Meintkies SA6, Jordan Smallbone SA6, Zaid Stofberg SA3 and Sisanda Ngcobo SA3.

The Hi Q Hoedspruit Youth Festival took place at the Swadini Resort in Limpopo from 22nd – 25th September with a large KZN squad of junior riders that took part to compete against riders from all of the provinces across the country.  The event consists of a mountain bike race, road race, hill climb, individual time-trial and criterium with points being accrued by all the riders throughout and allocated to the overall points to determine the winning teams at the end of the competition. Part of this year’s KZN team were four young men from the development programme that were selected to compete in the event, these being Chad Singh, Smagaliso Msomi, Thabiso Shange and Banele Khanyile .

Apart from the excellent performance of the KZN squad as a whole, the youngsters from the development squad rode extremely well and contributed along with all others to the dominance of the KZN team at the event. As the competition progressed, and as they got used to the conditions and the type of competitions each day, the young boys got stronger and stronger and started finishing higher up the results sheets which is good to see. The KZN team won the event overall dominating the score sheets racking up a total of 316 points to take the title with Gauteng a very distant 2nd place with 139 points and Mpumalanga in 3rd with 135 points.

Six young riders from the programme qualified for the national finals of the Spur Schools Series and Lihle Ngidi, Unathi Nxumalo Thabiso Zindela, Mnelisi Khomo, Lerato Mokela and Anele Khoza made the trip to the event. It is fantastic to see the two girls qualifying and is testament to their massive improvement and efforts this year and is a huge achievement for them as well as the boys on the list, especially Mnelisi who has given his all at every event. They all rode well with varying success at the event and did not disappoint on look out of place at all against the best school riders in the country.

While all the events were going on, the work of the development district officers continued this month and another 86 x training clinics were held across the country with another 4 144 learners being included in the programme. To date, a total of 18 166 youngsters have been through the clinics programme which is great news.

BMX National Series & National BMX Championships

The BMX National Series rounds 9 & 10 as well as the National BMX Championships was hosted by the Cradle BMX club in Gauteng on the 21st & 22nd September. KZN sent through a large contingent of riders including 14 x riders that have progressed through the KZN Cycling Development programme. This trip made for an exciting adventure for many of the youngsters involved with the track venue being situated in the Rhino & Lion Reserve and gave the riders and spectators alike a unique experience of racing BMX while in view of a variety of African wildlife. The track and facility was in excellent condition which made for exciting racing over the weekend. The smaller size of berms and jumps lent itself to being better suited to younger riders however made the Elite races no less exciting and the KZN team achieved some excellent results with a few outstanding performances.

Manqoba Madida won a thrilling final on Saturday for the National Age Group Series but was unlucky to finish 4th in SA Championships race on Sunday after a small mistake in the final despite winning all his qualifying races preceding the final. Following in his brother’s footsteps with a clear natural talent for riding bicycles, Mongezi Madida who is the younger brother of Manqoba managed to achieve an SA 4 placing in the final. To put things in perspective, he is a novice rider who only started riding BMX this year and raced against the Expert Class and well-seasoned riders who have been racing for years. All things considered, it was an amazing result and is an exciting prospect that has been unearthed and we look forward to seeing if he match and possibly better his big brother’s progress on the international scene. Wandile Mbili from Ilembe also achieved an excellent result considering this was his first national event (and first trip out of the Province actually) winning through to the finals and attaining a SA7 number. Tyler Thompson managed to retain his SA 1 title with clinical racing from start to finish. All in all, the KZN team performed exceptionally well throughout and it is extremely pleasing to see the young riders that have progressed through the development programme achieving some exceptional results with ten riders winning through to the finals and being awarded SA numbers.

The full honours list is below.

Tate Barnard – SA3

Mvelo Ntombela – SA6

Sphelele Ntombela – SA7

Mongezi Madida SA4

Anele Ndlovu SA3

Logan Lambert SA6

Manasseh Meintkies SA6

Jordan Smallbone SA6

Zaid Stofberg SA3

Sisanda Ngcobo SA3

Wandile Mbili SA7

Tyler Thomson SA1

Dylan Eggar Elite 2

Manqoba Madida – Elite 4

Hannah Stieble – SA4

Connor Terblanche Jnr Elite 5

Safire Baynesfield MTB Classic & Swadini Youth Road Tour

The top mountain riders from the KZN Cycling Development MTB HP squad took part in the Safire Baynesfield MTB Classic on Sunday 15th September and once again, they did themselves and the team proud with their performances. In the 65km race, Lihle Ngidi was again the standout rider on the day and came 2nd overall and 2nd in his age category, Unathi Nxumalo and Chad Singh also performed well in this long race. In the 45km race, Lerato Mokela and Anele Khoza performed exceptionally well to attain 2nd & 3rd places respectively in the Youth Female categories and in the 21km race, Thabiso Zindela took line honours in his age category. Apart from these standout performances, all the other riders competing did very well and these youngsters are no longer there to just make up the numbers at events and are performing fantastically well and showing real grit and determination. Their exponential growth each time they go out to race is wonderful to see.

The Swadini Youth Road Tour is taking place in Mpumalanga from 20th – 25th September and four young men from the development programme have been selected to compete in the event as part of the KZN Squad that will be competing against riders from all of the provinces across the country . Chad Singh, Smagaliso Msomi, Thabiso Shange and Banele Khanyile will be making the trip and this tour – with its concentrated racing every day – will be a huge challenge for them all but at the same time, will be a huge step up for them in their overall development and we look forward to seeing how they match up against the top young riders from across the country.