Ever ready to take on the next descent is young KwaZulu-Natal local, Sabine “Beani” Thies, (riding for Greg Minnar cycles Pizzology craft café Foxhead South Africa). Thies says that for her, a Provincial doubled-up as a National doesn’t necessarily mean added pressure. “It just means that I will have to race harder because there will be girls and women from all over the country racing at one of our local provincials. It is always nice to see so many more girls coming to the downhill events,” she added.
Looking forward to the course venue, Thies said: “This course is challenging at a few parts but otherwise it is a fun, spectator-friendly track. It has one or two tricky rock gardens and nice flowing berms. I always like a bit of a challenging track that can test a person’s skills and capabilities. This track is one of the best I have ever ridden.”
Even though she is one of the youngest female members of the Downhill community, the 13-year-old is by no way threatened by her peers. In fact, she looks up to the other women and pushes herself each day to improve on the day before. “Racing against Elite Women makes me want to push myself harder each time I do a run. Getting onto the podium with Elite women shows me I am capable of racing against women older than myself,” she said.
Thies says that she likes to live by a simple philosophy: “Dream big, never give up, do your best, be kind, love your family, set a good example, give hugs away, love God, keep the faith and your goals will follow.”
She has demonstrated remarkable abilities not only on the Downhill scene, but in other mountain biking disciplines as well. “I am also racing the Provincial Enduro on Saturday the 26th, and I will be doing the Cross-country, Enduro, and Downhill races in Lesotho next weekend at the African Continental Champs. It’s too much fun!” she concluded.
Also riding in both disciplines this weekend is KZNMTB’s Downhill damsel, Kathryn Fourie. “In terms of the Enduro, Giba is always a really good venue as the stages are close together and centralised, but it's even more exciting this year as they're adding in new tracks and sections of single track. There are also a number of really cool built features that we all enjoy riding like drops and jumps, so it's so much fun to ride. But it's also easy to overcook things and get it wrong so you need to ride smoothly and consistently versus aggressively,” she said.
Fourie says that although the Downhill course is short, it can be brutal if concentration is lacking. “You need to really know your lines to keep moving fast. Nigel (Hicks) has added in a new rock garden for an interesting twist and really overhauled the finishing jump, which looks awesome!” she added.
Although this Provincial doubles up as a National, Fourie too doesn’t feel pressure from the status of the event. “My aim for the National Series was just to complete it and support the development of the female contingent. I rode the Cape Town National a few weeks back and had a very average race, so I've ticked that box already. If I do well enough at the two KZN events with national status, that may lift my points and position but to be honest I'm more focused on riding well and telling the story of female progression than my actual results,” she said.
Fourie ended by saying: “If you're conquering something that really challenged you before but you're not winning, that's better progress than winning but avoiding the thing that intimidated you before.”
Round two of the 2016 KZNMTB Provincial Enduro/DHI Series – presented by Greg Minnaar Cycles takes place at Giba Gorge MTB Park (near Pinetown) on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March respectively.
For more information, contact Rebecca van der Linde firstname.lastname@example.org.