Cyclists representing the Khayelitsha-based Academy impressed as all their riders finished the race, with their pro-team crossing the line among the top 20 finishers.
Experienced campaigners Luthando Kaka and Siyabonga Somciza recorded inspiring times of 2h35min and 2h42min respectively.
Velokhaya manager Sipho Mona said their largest group, which was made up of 85 cyclists, rode for fun rather than chasing time. Despite that, they finished the race well on time.
It was also a way of some of them getting the much-needed experience ahead of the rest of the year.
And, many of their cyclists didn’t have much rest after the race as they had to get onto the road again, preparing for a number of upcoming events.
One of those riders is Mthetheleli Boya, who will to take part in this weekend’s Cape Epic.
“Mthetheleli recently got a scholarship at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology (CPUT) and his participation in this event is part of that arrangement. That’s what we are about at Velokhaya and that arrangement falls in line with our goal of using a bicycle as an educational tool. We know he, like many others before, is going to represent us well,” said Mona.
As if that is not enough, their BMX team is also hard at work at the oval preparing for the first leg of the three-legged national championships, in Durban, later this month.
BMX is one of the academy’s three main programmes together with Mass Participation and Road Competitive programme. Mass Participation involves getting all members of the community – irrespective of skill and experience – to take part in the academy’s different programmes.
Despite not having enough preparation, in terms of actual BMX races, Mona said they were confident the BMX team, which consists of 12 riders, will reproduce the form that saw them winning 11 medals in last years national championships
“That’s the difference between Cape Town and Johannesburg or Durban, there are very few races here and, as a result, cyclists are forced to travel upcountry in order to get competitive. Having said that, however, this lack of competition didn’t really affect our riders because they still do well in national competitions. I have to say the fact that we have the Oval is working to our advantage,” he said.
Mona has a point; the newly-revamped Velokhaya BMX Oval is a state-of-the-art purpose built facility, where their youngsters go through their paces under watchful eyes of their coaches.
The completion of that facility, late last year, saw the highly-ambitious Velokhaya realising their dream of becoming more than just a cycling academy.
The brick and mortar structure replaced the aging containers that served as their home for many years. It boasts a cyber centre, a library, and a media room as well a gym and much more.