The COVID-19 pandemic has brought professional cycling [and many other sporting codes] to a halt. In the coming days we will be featuring some of our ProTouch riders and our Teams support staff, to understand how their lives are continuing amidst the shutdown.
I have been in #lockdown, in South Africa for 16 days now – and, I have 20 more to go! This story is about my #LockdownExperience.
I am currently with my family, in my hometown of Kuilsriver – which is midway between Cape Town (25km) and the Winelands region – in South Africa. It’s 21 degrees celsius and mostly cloudy today, as we move through autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
Current regulations here in South Africa, are quite stringent following our President, Cyril Ramaphosa’s initial announcement of a complete lockdown for 21 days. This was called for, in an attempt to flatten the curve and, last Thursday a further 14-day lockdown was announced. Not being able to train on the roads, has forced me to change the way I keep fit and, maintain focus on my goals for 2020.
Prior to this pandemic hitting Southern Africa, I was to represent the South African National Team [along with my other ProTouch team mates Kent Main and Gustav Basson] at the Continental Championships from 23 – 29 March. I had my goals set on a podium. To earn some valuable UCI Points, for my team and my country.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
As the number one team in Africa, it is important that PROTOUCH continues to earn UCI points, to maintain our position and continue to receive invitations to the top Continental races around the world.
These points, also help to keep South Africa in the top cycling nation in Africa position. This helps South Africa to access additional invitations to World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games. As a professional athlete, these are the events that we dream about, and set our goals to participate in.
I HAVE HEARD THAT “YOU GROW THE MOST, WHEN YOU ARE CHALLENGED”.
Unfortunately, the Continental Champs were postponed, as a result of Covid-19.
This was really disappointing for me but, I then started to focus on my next block racing – planned in Asia from April – July 2020. But, as I saw one event after another being cancelled or postponed around the World, I realised the magnitude of this challenge we face.
All of our planned events – originally scheduled to the end of June 2020 – have been affected. So right now, we await advice of which of these events will be rescheduled – hopefully this will be soon. In the mean time, I am trying to keep my life healthy and balanced.
HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY FITNESS ?
Right now, I am focussing on maintaining my fitness. Everyday I am working on my base condition and power output, with some speed training in between. I am lucky enough to have some gym equipment at home: TACX Rollers; yoga mat; yoga ball; some 4kg dumbbells; Theraband resistance elastics; a 3kg medicine ball; and, my foam roller.
Today, I will be be doing a 3-hour training programme on my indoor trainer, using my Devel Project Team Bike. I will probably follow this with a one-hour core and stability workout. On other days, I typically do a strength-based programme, developed by ProTouch’s Biokineticist, Carla Patrocinio. The programme [which I would be happy to share with you] is designed to increase my type 1 muscle fibre, recovery and improved strength endurance. As a professional cyclist, these are really important training goals to achieve.
Q & A – WHAT DOES PROTOUCH HAVE IN COMMON, WITH THESE THREE WORLD TOUR TEAMS?
World Tour Teams: Astana, Cofidis and AG2R La Mondiale have something in common with our Continental Team. We all have the privilege of accessing Named Sports top class nutrition – hydrating and fuelling our engines as well as providing recovery support.
Today, I will be using their HydraFit, to complement my training programme – an exclusive blend of mineral salts, maltodextrin and vitamins – that has been specially created into a hypotonic electrolyte drink. This is the ideal solution to replace the mineral salts I have lost, during intense exercising. The magnesium and potassium also feeds my muscles and helps to reduce the effects of fatigue, sometimes experienced after speed training.
WHAT IS MOTIVATING ME RIGHT NOW?
My motivation for training right now, is to ensure that I am ready for the rest of the season, when it starts again.
As part of the #1 Team in Africa, we have some important goals this year [for our brand and our country] – I am passionate about still seeing our ProTouch Jersey and South African flag on podiums around the world.
It makes me sad sometimes, that I cannot see my team mates, friends and some members of my family face-to-face but, we have been staying in contact and using web-based video conferencing platforms to connect. As a team, we have been doing these weekly – it is awesome to catch up and, see what everyone is up to.
I am also very lucky to have access to a my life coach, performance coach, sports director and, team principals who, are all providing me with helpful advice and keeping me focussed over this time.
THE BEST ADVICE I HAVE RECEIVED:
It is important to remain positive and not get distracted by the things influencing my life, that are out of my control.
This is Part Two of My Story – follow me and my ProTouch Team on our social media channels to keep in touch and follow our journey as Africa’s #1 Continental Team.