Inspiring future cyclists by Dashing

05 November 2021 | Sports

With 1 month to go for the longest single-stage mountain bike race in Namibia, local cyclists are getting ready to make their mark.
From Friday, 10 December to Saturday, 11 December 2021, cyclists from all over the world will race 393km from the Grove Mall in Windhoek to Swakopmund's Platz am Meer.
One participating team is the the NCCS Development Team, and they are very excited to take part in this annual event. The group comprises 11 members, including two managers, team principal Ebben Iita, and sport director Jacob Kiyola. The members of the four-man team are Jan Montshioa, Philleno Sebona, Zarvier Papo and Markernzy Eiseb, while Gustav Basson and Junior de Koe make up the two-man team.
Kiyola says their participation in the race is not about the destination, but the journey.
“This is one of the biggest races on the Namibia cycling calendar. It's great exposure for the team on both national and international levels, and we cannot miss such an opportunity.” He adds that it is one of the most exciting and challenging competitions in the country and has grown tremendously over the years.
The race runs through the Khomas Hochland and the Namib Desert to the Atlantic coast. The adventure not only takes stamina and will-power to compete and complete the race, but it is also about exploring the breathtaking desert environment filled with cactus, grasses, and shrubs, as well as steep and incredible downhill runs.
The team is up for the test, as they have been training regularly. They cover an approximate distance of 50km off-road daily and about 150km over weekends in and around Windhoek. In spite of such a daunting task ahead for the team, the sport director is confident that they can make it to the finish line.
About their future plans, Kiyola said that participating internationally in events such as the Union Cycliste Internationale in South Africa, as well as other competitions on the African continent, is the way to move forward. “We plan to become the first Namibian UCI continental team,” he said confidently.

More than a sport code
He said cycling is not only a sport code, it is also good for the heart, which means good health. In terms of the environment, cycling involves no carbon emission, which is a way to protect the environment and society at large. In addition, it’s a better transportation system. As part of the way forward to make this sport code a success, Kiyola is determined that cycling needs the vision and optimism to accomplish a goal. In a message of encouragement to the youth, Kiyola urged them to take up cycling from a young age.
In a message to future participants in the competition, Kiyola said: “Know what you want and go for it! The 393km from Windhoek to Swakopmund sounds impossible, but you can do it.”
The NCCS Development Team wants to do more for the community, but lack of funding is a challenge. The team has recruited a few riders from 14 years to 16 years from Katutura and rural areas. Through this initiative, they provide training and develop cycling skills from a grass root level till professional level.
Speaking at the official launch of the Dash, Richard Meeks of Nedbank Namibia said that 2021 is a year for the history books with regards to achievements in Namibia's sports fraternity. “Each year we've been thrilled to see so many participants, as well as their friends and family who travel to Swakopmund to support them. We are confident that the race has a significant influence on the economy of Swakopmund, and that it provides an ideal opportunity to promote Namibia as a fascinating tourist destination.”

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