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Friday, April 20, 2018

Articles

Hello all

As we have said previously, although we always tried to do as much as possible in the development cycling space over the last years while staging all the national and international events that we have here in KZN, the lack of funding has hampered us a bit in achieving lasting, broad based results. However, this scenario has changed significantly this past financial year when we entered into an agreement with the KZN Department of Sport & Recreation that would see the event programme being drawn to a conclusion with the 2017 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships and the bulk of the funding being allocated to setting up a sustainable development programme being staged under the auspices of KZN Cycling across all eleven districts in KZN.

The programme started in earnest in July 2017 when the funding was received and between then and the end of March 2018 which is the end of the financial year, a whole lot of great things were able to be achieved. A significant part of the project was put in place to ensure that the programme could be rolled out as smoothly and effectively as possible over the course of the year and with the aim of putting the building blocks in place for the upskilling of individuals in the different districts.

The following capacity building elements were successfully instituted:


- Creation of work opportunities for 13 x full time staff to ensure the programme’s success  
- Establishment of 9 x cycling hubs in 9 x different districts
- Bikes, helmets, spares and bike trailers purchased and supplied to service all 11 x districts

- Financial support provided to all hubs & various development clubs in each district
- Extensive activities carried out in all 11 x districts on an ongoing basis
- Training courses staged in variety of cycling support elements such as coaching, mechanics, officiating etc for 594 participants from all eleven districts including 132 disabled people
- UCI certification for 15 x commissaires and team managers
- 136 x marshals trained and certified to ensure continued work opportunities at KZN based events
- New permanent skills park constructed at Cascades MTB Park in Pmb  
- High performance training carried out in all disciplines for talented athletes

Support for athletes to attend national and international competitions including :

- Manqoba Madida sent to World Cycling Centre at UCI offices in Switzerland for advanced training

- Sithembiso Masango supported to attend 2017 UCI MTB Word Championships in Cairns, Australia as well as UCI Training camp in Cairo in the lead up to the African MTB Championships in April

-  Travis Goveia sent to UCI Commissaire course in Cairo

In terms of participation, the results were even more extensive with the highlights being as follows:

- 293 x development clinics staged across all 11 x districts with 16 278 learners
- Huge growth in supported development clubs with large numbers of children riding regularly on supplied equipment – about 700+ weekly

- Over 1000 x learners competing in the Crit Road Series

- More than 300 x learners competing in the Track Series
- Substantial growth in development riders competing at provincial events in all disciplines & performing exceptionally well
- Large numbers of KZN riders competing at national and international competitions and performing exceptionally well and winning medals
- 36 x competitive provincial and national events staged across all disciplines
- 34 x development events staged to allow riders to compete at all levels
- Riders identified through the programmes and put through ongoing high-performance training programmes
- KZN rider support in all disciplines to attend provincial and national events

Work that was done over the last months has certainly paid dividends recently with some excellent performances by the young development riders that have come through the ranks of the KZN Cycling development programme with some of these riders literally being taught how to handle a bike initially at a development clinic in the districts. As the clinics programme unfolded, some young riders were identified to take the next steps in the different disciplines and were passed on to the different KZN Cycling commissions for additional training. 


After the very successful BMX Exposure Program run by the KZN BMX Commission, we had the privilege of being able to include the best performing of these kids in the series to race in the 2018 SA National BMX Age Group Series event held at Giba Gorge recently. The riders from the KZN Development programme had the opportunity to race some of the fastest kids in the Novice Category from around the country and not only did they do exceptionally well gaining some good life experiences, many of them even attained podium positions and walked away with medals on the day!! We look forward to seeing how the kids progress in BMX Racing programme going forward.

Another great leap forward allied to the KZN Cycling Development programme took place at the end of the holidays when a group of young riders who have progressed through the system and via their performances at the KZN Cycling Youth Track Series were selected to be included as part of the KZN Track squad.


Thanks,
The KZN Cycling Development Team

 

 Newletter #2 

Introduction

Since the last edition of our newsletter, these past couple of months have been very busy for the KZN Cycling Development team with lots of clinics and many events that have taken place. This is all leading us to achieving our goal to get as many kids on bikes as possible and getting them to be able to compete as well. This is what has been going on…

Clinics

Throughout this time there have been many clinics that have taken place all throughout KZN. These clinics are where the kids learn new skills and develop the skills they already possess. Our goal is to get as many kids on bikes as possible and these clinics are helping us achieve this goal. The skills learnt in the clinics are then tested in races that all the kids partake in like the grassroots event held at Cascades MTB Park last November. November was another great month for the KZN Cycling development squad with 47 clinics and competitions taking place and 3 363 kids having gone through the programme. December and January was not far behind November despite the challenges with exams and school holidays with the clinics still proceeding in full swing and the programme is now back in full gear for the upcoming months. 

High Performance Training Camps

The KZN High Performance Training Camps took place in Pietermaritzburg in January at the end of the school holidays and this is where the kids took part in learning new skills in each discipline of cycling. The disciplines were track cycling, road cycling, BMX and mountain biking. The course took place over four days, focusing on one discipline a day. Each day brought with it new challenges and adventures for the kids. The participants were from all different districts throughout KZN and are those that have excelled in the previous clinics and racing programmes at district level. From these training camps we will see who will continue on with the high performance training in each specific discipline. There was a lot of promise shown by all kids throughout these training camps. 

Training Courses

There was a whole series of courses being staged as part of the KZN Cycling development programme with the aim of building capacity in each of the districts throughout the province. There are coaching courses, mechanics, administration, safety officer, event organisation and race officials courses which were run in December and January and for the first time, a contingent of disabled members have been included so as to provide skills to be able to train disabled athletes better.

The first course was held in December and it was a coaching course with 71 enthusiastic people in attendance. The second course was a mechanics course held by Rowan Johns, Rowan Johns is an exceptionally experienced mechanic and trainer and he was showing the representatives from the various districts on how to care for all types of equipment – and also providing a skill that could lead to employment for many. There was also a safety officer course and a KZN Cycling event officials course held on the same weekend. The programme for the southern KZN districts continued in January with an administration course run by Dellah Paul on Tuesday and an Event Organisers course on Wednesday being held in Howick. These two courses were in addition to those held at the end of last year, and a total of 266 people attended the six courses that were held in the various spheres of cycling in a bid to upskill adults so as to support the development of the sport in the province. 

The training course programme will continue in March concentrating on the northern KZN districts and another large contingent of people will be involved.

KZN Road Champs

Taking place on January 27th and 28th, not only was it pleasing to see a record entry into the event as a whole, but more importantly for the KZN Cycling Development project, it was exceptionally pleasing to be able to enter 53 x riders into the time trial competition and 59 x riders in the road races on Sunday across all age groups from U11 – U23. These are riders that have either progressed through the development programme to date, or who are part of Cycling Hub project or academies supported by the KZN Cycling Development project. 

All of the riders acquitted themselves well and while the event was a steep learning curve for some, many of the riders did exceptionally well with a number of podium finishes, a few near misses and a large number of top ten positions. 

Skills Park at Cascades

The skills park at Cascades MTB Park is the first of the new skills park that KZN Cycling Development plan on getting up. The objective of this facility is to allow all riders – whether they be new converts to the sport of mountain biking or whether they are experienced riders – to be able to improve their skills and bike handling abilities. Fifteen obstacles have been put in place which are representative of the kinds of obstacles that riders find on most MTB competition courses and are graded from simple to difficult thus allowing riders to learn the necessary skills before being expected to handle such obstacles during a competition.

This sort of skills park is an important tool for the development riders who have not all been exposed to competition in the past and allow KZN Cycling to be able to improve their abilities and to allow the riders’ confidence to grow before they are expected to take on technical competition venues.

This phase of this programme ends in March 2018 and the new one begins in April 2018 with the new financial year. There are many competitions and clinics that are going to be coming together in the new phase of this programme and there are new goals to achieve to better this programme. The youth track series finals are taking place on the 17th and 18th February 2018 and there are the road crit series events on the go at the moment with qualified riders from each of these due to take part in the Crit Road Series Final in Pietermaritzburg on the 17th March 2018.

Things are going exceptionally well at present and we are also looking forward to continued successes immensely.  

 NEWSLETTER #1

KZN CYCLING DEVELOPMENT 

  • Introduction

Things have started change in the cycling landscape here in KZN, and here is some info on what is now going on.

Hopefully you find this of interest.

For many years now, Pietermaritzburg and the province of Kwazulu – Natal has been recognised worldwide as a leader in the staging of major cycling events and since 2009, Pietermaritzburg has been recognised as Africa’s Bike City. In fact, the region is now recognised worldwide as having staged the most varied international events in history - a great accolade for the city and the region. After staging 10 x UCI World Cups, 6 x UCI World Championships and 3 x Continental Championships in various disciplines as well as a host of other major international road cycling events, it was decided that the focus of activities should switch to development programmes and the unearthing of new talent from the region of KZN for the future. Thus the KZN Cycling Development programme came into being and is being undertaken in conjunction with the KZN Department of Sport & Recreation who provide the vast bulk of the funding that allows for such activities to take place and also with Cycling South Africa.

Under the auspices of KZN Cycling, this development programme has been going on since April 2017 and is already yielding some fantastic results. We now have seven full time development officers contracted to the programme together with support staff in the form of drivers, an administrator, a media person and a full time mechanic as well as a logistics manager and training manager. We are also looking to expand the group and there will be a few more development officers joining up in the near future once they have been trained up and are deemed ready. The most significant change to the plans is the fact that the programme is being undertaken in all eleven districts throughout KZN – a massive undertaking but one that is being tackled with fervour.

Here’s a bit more about what’s been going on….

  • What, why, where, how, who and all the other things

There are a variety of core aims and ideals allied to the programme that we continually strive to achieve, amongst which are introducing kids to the sport and getting them to ride a bike more regularly, putting programmes in place that allow us to identify talented riders so that they can be fed into the KZN Cycling structures to start the upward competitive journey, upskilling people that want to be involved in the sport in all facets including officiating, coaching, mechanic training etc and then also ensuring that there is enough equipment and infrastructure out there for the sport to be practised on an ongoing basis.

Our development officers and support staff are tasked with running development programmes and clinics in all eleven districts in KZN, support the clubs and academies already in place and support the new District Cycling Hubs that we have established - of which there are nine. Hubs have as yet not been established in Ugu & Amajuba (but will be in the future), but the KZN Cycling Development officers run the activities in these district including all events and coaching clinics. Storage facilities have been arranged at each Hub and they have all been supplied with a large bike trailer as well as a minimum of 14 bikes with helmets and other supporting equipment such as first aid kits, water containers, cones etc.

Over and above the development bikes purchased, competition level bikes have also been purchased for MTB, BMX, Road & Track and these bikes are made available to kids from the districts that show promise and talent at the different provincial level events that they get taken to – it is not feasible for a youngster from uMkhanyakude as an example who is new to the sport to compete in a provincial series MTB event on a single speed Charger against riders who have been competing for years already on top of the line equipment.

  • Who’s at the sharp end…

Over the next while, we will be introducing you to all of the team members that are rolling out the project, and here is some info on a few of the people that are involved on a day to day basis.  

Phakamani Radebe – Development Officer

PK lives right next to the Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park and got involved in cycling around 2004 when Giba first opened and since then he’s never looked back. He enjoys cycling because it kept him away from the bad things happening around his neighbourhood when he was growing up and wants to be involved in this programme so as to get more kids onto bikes so they can have a healthy childhood and an opportunity to compete at the highest level in the various codes in cycling

 

 

John Cele – Mechanic

John is originally from the Port Shepstone area and he is in charge of the mechanical side of things for the project ensuring that all equipment is available at all times. He has attended UCI mechanics courses and is very excited to be able to share his knowledge with others. He has been riding and racing for years and started out in 2013 when he joined the team of the late legend, the Burry Stander Foundation team. It is his wish to see the young generation of today off the streets and doing what is good for them.

 

 

 

 

 Dumisani Ndzimakwe – Development Officer

Dumisani has been riding a bike since he was a school child and rode for exercise and always saw the bike as a better means of commuting than walking. He is based near Salt Rock in the Ilembe District and initially became involved with the Gxoba Isitibuli Academy and in 2017 created the Ushaka Rising Heroes Academy with the aim of working with local kids in the area and to instil a love of the bike to them. He wants to provide a healthy alternative to kids in the townships and to steer them away from getting involved in activities that will affect them physically and emotionally.

 

 

 

 

Tyrone Johns – Training Manager

TJ is a local boy from Kloof and got into cycling when he was 4 years old after getting a BMX bike for Christmas. 32 years later he is still in the industry having travelled the world riding a bicycle. On the way, he even picked up a UCI BMX Masters World Championships title a couple of years ago. For him, the benefit of the program is for the sport and not necessarily a specific discipline and the aim is to unite everyone and bring fresh new faces that have never otherwise had the opportunity to cycle into the fold with the understanding that the wider the talent pool, the more medals chances are created. TJ’s main focus in the programme is to ensure coaches, administrators, safety officers, event organisers, mechanics and race officials are trained up in each district so that they in turn can drive the sport in their regions on an ongoing basis.

 

 

  • What we’ve been doing so far…

The first priority of the programme has been to introduce the sport to young riders throughout the province and to achieve this, cycling clinics and development courses have been staged on a regular basis throughout KZN. The equipment provided to each hub is utilised for these activities and the KZN Cycling development officers, in conjunction with the relevant people in each district run these clinics. To date, over 140 clinics have been staged and more than 7000 youngsters have been on the programme. This is over and above the regular activities staged at various hubs throughout the province weekly and on an ongoing basis.

A whole series of events have been staged since April through each of the KZN Cycling Commissions including a variety of provincial and national MTB events, BMX race days and the Track Grand Prix. There have also been grassroots and inter – district race days staged, with the aim of these events is to bring together as many of the children that have been at the clinics so that they can race and put their skills learnt into practise as well as serving as talent identification opportunities so as to start supporting the riders to take part in other events.

A series of six track races and 12 road crit races has been designed and some of these race days have already taken place and these will continue into the new year.

The programme is well and truly up and running and going well. Some mistakes are being made and we are learning all the time and overcoming the challenges that are being thrown at us and we are obviously sometimes at the mercy of weather, but this is a programme that can and will work and will deliver great results going forward. It’s an exciting journey to be on and we will keep you updated on its progress.

The KZN Cycling Development Team 

GET IN TOUCH

KZN Mountain Bike Commission
PO Box 153, Merrivale, 3291
T 082 896 6864

F 033 387 6377

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