I was born in Durban, South Africa and moved to London in 2000.
When I lived in SA, the lifestyle I lead was very much outdoors focused. I was lucky to be able to Jet Ski and ride my dirt bike a lot of the time. I was also lucky enough to be able to race my quad motorcycle, an insanely fast Yamaha RZ350 Banshee which I competed with at National level when I could. This was my main passion, and took up a lot of my spare time - and cash!
When I made the decision to move to the UK, the weather was something I was not accustomed to, and at the very start of my years here I spent them in the pub. After months of living in pubs and moving only when necessary, I made the choice to become more active and shed the unwanted weight that I had gained, plus I was missing the adrenaline of racing my quad. So I looked into quad racing here but soon realised that it was just not going to happen. So, I bought a mountain bike, initially just to shed the weight.
I started riding with the guys from the local shop and after a short while the weight started to fall off. I heard about a local race, a Gorrick XC event, and decided to race it. I came dead last! I wasn’t having any of this and so started training a little more seriously. Things escalated and mountain biking became my new drug.
I had to get better. I steadily improved and improved until, in 2010 I entered the open National Marathon Champs. It was a brutal course and after the third of four laps, was really struggling. I was in the feed zone feeling very sorry for myself when the commissar, Kelvin, said to me that everyone had pulled out except for one guy who was still ahead of me. This was all the incentive I needed and I set off, reenergised, trying to catch him. I didn’t catch him but I did finish second, and that was the start of a more serious campaign of racing.
I enlisted the help of a coach who took me to my best result at British XCO Champs in 2012 when I finished ninth. In 2013, my first year as a Veteran, I changed coach to mix things up a bit. I was progressing well, then she mentioned to me that the World Master Champs were being held in South Africa and that I should go. The experience was amazing. The crowds that lined the course even in practice was like nothing I had ever experienced. Unfortunately that’s where my experience as a competitor ended as I crashed in practice and broke my elbow. I was gutted but inspired to experience it again at some point.
After the injury to my elbow it took some time to heal physically, but mentally it took longer.
Now, signing for a full fledge race team, I have all the motivation and drive I need to get back to my stronger days, and look forward to racing and training with a great bunch of similar minded people.
2017 is going to be great, I can’t wait!