Team dormakaba’s Robyn de Groot celebrates successful return to pro racing
Team dormakaba cyclist Robyn de Groot made a welcome return in her first professional event following the lockdown in South Africa with a win at the recent 60km Nissan Trailseeker Buffelsdrift Long Race in a time of 2:28:50.
“It was such a good feeling to prepare for a race, to feel excited about lining up at a start line, seeing so many familiar faces albeit behind masks, and of course to have that competitive drive that a race creates. It had been 27 weeks since the last time I raced which is the longest period I have ever been out of competition in my entire career. The energy, excitement, and drive to race at Trailseeker were really high,” she says.
Of course, de Groot did not have much time to relax during lockdown as she was committed to staying well-balanced in her training.
“I tried to keep myself in race shape as much as possible over the past several months. It was all about training smart and incorporating other modalities in my regime such as extra core and gym work, as well as running. As soon as the lockdown allowed for outdoor exercise I was really motivated to work hard and get back to the outside world. I worked very closely with my coach (Barry Austin) and approached training from more exciting angles to keep my motivation high.”
She says that despite many of her major race goals for 2020 being cancelled, such as the National XCM Championship and difficulties in trying to compete in Europe, her focus has turned to embracing the racing opportunities that are possible locally.
“When I saw that the Trailseeker was going to take place, it was enough motivation to keep going during these tough stages of the lockdown we are currently in. To ensure all health protocols were complied with, it was an earlier start than usual just to get through all the paperwork and the limited contact requirements.”
Fortunately, once the racing started it was like the pre-pandemic days providing all the riders with an exhilarating experience after such a long time without competitive racing.
De Groot will now turn to other upcoming local races and has also paid more attention to her own coaching business to help others with their training plans.
“One of the things I learned during the lockdown is to keep a positive attitude, to remain professional and serious, but also to know when it is okay to step back a little and find energy from life. I think the lockdown has given many of us a little reminder of the things that matter most to each of us. I see so many people now riding bicycles where I live on the Garden Route which is wonderful,” she says.
Shortly after her victory at Nissan Trailseeker Buffelsdrift, de Groot celebrated another win this time at the Pursuit Challenge #2, part of a series of timed challenges throughout the world, that took place a few days afterwards clocking a time of 1:46:21.