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Managing the opening

Robyn de Groot finding her rhythm in shortened cycling season

Team dormakaba cyclist Robyn de Groot has been hitting a purple patch of late coming fourth at the 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Turkey and celebrating local victories in the Nissan Trailseeker MTB event in Cullinan and, more recently, last weekend’s 947 Ride Joburg Mountain Bike Race 50km 2020.

These results are testament to the work she put in during the hard lockdown although she had no expectations given the long time spent away from competitive racing.

“I have been feeling good on the bike since the events have been taking place once the lockdown regulations allowed us to race. It certainly was a different way of training leading up to the early events,” she says.

By her own account, it has not been an easy year.

“I had to learn to accept the things that were out of my control and take charge of the things that were in my hands. There were a few difficult weeks where I battled with frustration and motivation. Fortunately, they were short-lived as I found ways to target mini-goals to keep me motivated and working on the various things an athlete must focus on.”

She says that the lockdown has made cyclists even more driven and eager to race with better turn outs at events that were often neglected or some cyclists simply choosing not to travel far distances to reach them.

“In that sense, the lockdown has been a good thing. It has also been good to see the professional cyclists supporting event organisers who needed to host races under strict COVID-19 protocols. As cyclists, we have all had our challenges regarding training and adapting. The season has now been compressed, but this has enabled us to participate more often.”

This has also meant de Groot has to keep focused as the season typically would have been finished by mid-October. Of course, part of this entails being aware of the need to factor in a break before the upcoming 2021 season which is expected to be a frenetic one.

She will still be competing in the Nissan Trailseeker MTB Series at the end of November and will then be racing with teammate Amy McDougall in the sani2c over December.