Becoming the Accidental Athlete.

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During the 2005 South African National Championships in Pretoria at the Union Buildings

I don’t really like calling myself an athlete because I haven’t been a dedicated one for a very long time and even when I used to be a serious athlete I was an accidental one. The reason for starting this blog is to map my attempt at returning to some kind of respectable form.

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At the Tshwane Outsurance Mayoral Ride in 2006

In 1999 when I turned twenty my diet consisted mostly of pies, Subway, pizza, beer and the odd cigarette. My exercising routine was non-existent and involved walking backwards and forwards between the couch and the fridge while watching Oprah. One day when I felt particularly adventurous I decided to walk to the video store rather than drive and halfway there I was mortified at how itchy my legs were and little did I know that the sudden increase in blood circulation was the reason for this strange sensation.   It was standing there next to the road with itchy legs in Cape Town that I decided I had to make some serious changes in my life. Sometimes I think pulling teeth would have been easier and I often fell asleep at night dreaming about pies and beer but I ended up losing 25kg over the next two years. I had also moved back to Pretoria during this time and bought my first yellow Giant road bike which was the start of my accidental journey into professional sport.

In 2000 I did a race with friends just outside Pretoria and if I remember correctly the race was sponsored by Rainbow Chickens or some other kind of chicken establishment. I don’t even remember exactly how the race panned out but I won and the prize was a frozen chicken. This was a bit of a dilemma as I had ridden 40km to the start of the race and could not really fit a frozen chicken in my shirt for the 40km journey home. The frozen chicken started me thinking that if I could win frozen poultry I could probably win some money if I tried. As I have always been a bit impulsive the decision to quit my job as a receptionist at a building contractor was not really that difficult. There was a day when work interfered with a race I planned to do and being me of course the logic decision was to quit my job.   When I broke the news to my parents my mortified mother just smiled and said she believed in me. I can’t even imagine what had to be going through her mind.

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At the start of the All Africa Games Time Trial in Abuja Nigeria.

If you asked any one person if they believe that an overweight, asthmatic smoker could become a professional cyclist not many would take those odds but alas. Between 2002 and 2010 when I retired I had many career highlights.

South African Elite Road Championships – Bronze

South African Elite Time Trial Championships – Silver & Bronze

South African Veteran 30-34 Road Championships – Gold

All Africa Games Road Cycling – Silver

All Africa Games Time Trial – Silver

Tour D Eden Cycle Tour – 5 Stage Wins & Overall Champion

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Attacking close to the finish of the Lost City Cycle Challenge. Finished second on the day.

Kremetart Cycle Tour – 2 Stage Wins & Overall Champion

Tzaneen Tour – 1 Stage Win & Overall Champion

Outsurance Mayoral Ride – 1st

Bakwena Cycle Challenge – 1st

When I turned thirty I had already considered retirement and after many years at a very high level the decision was not that difficult. It was then that I started running and looking back it was then that I started living.

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