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COVID-19 mountain bike series ends

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
To the test: Cyclists were put to the test during the three-week long series PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
The inaugural COVID-19 Mountain Bike (MTB) Sprint series that has been running for the past three weekends, has come to an end. Lebopo Mompe is its winner.

Race organiser, Gobona Mantle said the event was meant to resuscitate cycling after a dry spell due to the national lockdown.

She also said most of the riders have not been active, although some were able to do indoor training.

“The competition was difficult at the start due to lack of action for three months. Cycling events were either cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. We had the first event during the weekend of July 4, which was a Mountain Bike (MTB) and single track from Gaborone North to Kopong,” she said.

The next event was a road race with three loops at Rasesa. The other race was at Wharic Park followed by another one in Kopong. The last part of the series was this weekend, which saw riders battling it out along Notwane-Ramotswa road.

“Some riders depend on cycling for income so this was a way of giving them a chance to earn something. We did not have categories for juniors and elite competed together. We combined the performance of MTB and road race,” Mantle said.

The overall winner was Lebopo Mompe who clocked 06:07:51 for all the six events. Shawn Bruwer finished in the second position with a time of 06: 11:03. Aleck Musariri was third with a time of 06:36:04. Comine Bruwer was the women’s event winner, with a time of 08:59:08.

Winner Mompe said he had an opportunity to train and improve his performance during lockdown.

“My coach, Mark Wolff encouraged me to train hard. In order to improve, I had to get out of my comfort zone and that is exactly what I did. It was two months of consistent training and consistency was key,” he told Mmegi Sport.

Mompe said he had an opportunity to compete virtually with other bikers from all over

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the world.

Mompe stated that he competed in Category B and Category A was for professionals and continental champions.

“I am talking of 30 minutes to an hour of straight racing without rest. Those bikers were attacking like a physical race. In one race, I got position 30 out of 180 bikers. After that I did time trial, which was meant to check if I had improved my Functional Threshold Power (FTP),” he said.

Mompe said before the lockdown his FTP was at 230 watts and after the test it was at 270 watts.

He said when he learnt about the COVID-19 Series, he wanted to try out what he had been doing, in a real race.

“The first race was MTB and the following day we did a road race. I finished in the top 10. I was the highest ranked junior. The second race was MTB and the second day on the road race I felt uncomfortable,” he said.

Mompe said the route was hilly and felt challenged because all along he was not a climber. He went on to win King of The Hill.

“In the last race I was competing against Bruwer. He was leading me with 53 seconds, so I felt I could close the gap. Bruwer finished second with 52:09 and I finished in 49:47 in Notwane,” he said.  Mompe was leading by 5:25:00 and Bruwer was second with 5:01:00. He felt that was not a comfortable lead heading into the final lap, which was Boatle-Mmankgodi, 44km race.

Mompe said he was riding at 50km/hr and realised that he was going too fast and resorted to heavy gears.

“I finished strongly and as I stopped peddling my legs were twitching. I found out that I had won the series,” he said.



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