The Mandela Day Development Series took place on Saturday the 27th August 2016. The team was invited to host a Development Cycling Clinic in conjunction with the Mandela Day Marathon. 65 eager learners from 3 different schools got the opportunity to experience cycling for the first time.
They were so excited and happy to get the opportunity to partake in the event and be a part of the legacy of our country. Mandela Day takes place at the famous Nelson Mandela Capture Site and it is always very well supported. This event was even more special as it was Phakamane Radebe who ran the show from start to finish showing how progress is being made in our province to up skill and teach new young cycling enthusiasts what goes into the running of their own event. Phakamane has been working for KwaZulu-Natal Cycling on various events and it is great to see him taking charge. With 8 keen teachers also involved it is great to see the buy in from the local schools and the support they give to the learners in a new sport. We had kids from Lions River Primary School, Jabula Combination School and Crystal Springs Primary School. All these schools are in the midlands and within a close proximity of the capture site.
Although this event was not about racing and crowning champions it was about learning new skills on a bicycle, we had BMX Bikes and our MTB Single speeds for the kids to enjoy and that they really did. Most of the kids could not get enough and really rode as much as they could for as far and long as they could. We had a short course set up in full view of us so they could not go far but could do some laps of the course once they had gotten the hang of things.
It was great to give the kids this opportunity to learn a new skill and we will definitely be back into the area again to see how we can further assist them. A huge thank you goes out to KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation, Cycling South Africa, Giba Gorge MTB Park, Alec Lenferna and his team for making this event possible.
The event also provided more development opportunities in that we provided 48 entries into the main event, primarily in the 10km and 21km races but a few into the 42km race too, for development riders from Ladysmith, Hammarsdale and Durban. The vast bulk of these riders – those from Ladysmith and Hammarsdale – had been participants in the KZN Cycling Development Camp that we held here in Pmb during the July holidays and using the skills they learnt at that camp together with the opportunity to hone these skills and practise on the bikes that we provided to them at the end of that camp, they were then able to compete in the proper races on the weekend. The other riders are part of the Go!Durban Cycling Academy.
They all acquitted themselves well and in fact, we had three of the young riders from Ladysmith take 3rd, 5th & 6th place in the 10km race.