Current XCO Elite Women’s Champion, Cherie Redecker has enjoyed the pride felt from wearing the National Championship jersey over the past year, and hopes to keep it in her possession for the next season when she tackles the 2016 South African National Mountain bike Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 16-17 July.
“It has been an honour racing in the SA Champs stripes. The pressure of being the defending Champ is something I am not used to but I know I can defend it,” she said.
The OMX Pro MTB Team rider hasn’t had the easiest week of preparation, having fallen ill in Lenzerheide over the past week, but has been focusing on healing and rest. “It is all part of racing and you need to work with what comes your way and not stress about what you can’t control,” she added.
Redecker took part in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Enduro Championships recently, which helped her take the pressure off, but kept the focus on the enjoyment of cycling. “Each year has been an improvement and I feel I still haven’t reached my full potential,” she said.
Living in KwaZulu-Natal and close to Cascades MTB Park has been great for Redecker and has helped her work on her fears, which she wouldn’t usually have time to work on when just there for a race. “Now that I have gotten over those fears I feel my technical riding skills have improved,” she added.
Although there are perks of living close to the course, Redecker reiterated the unpredictability of cross-country racing. “Nick (Floros) has created a completely different course for SA Champs and having had time to practice it in advance has helped. Even though it is an advantage, the ladies race at World Champs showed anything can happen, even if you have a home-ground advantage,” she said.
Redecker chatted about the friendly competition between herself and teammate and 2014 National Champion, Mariske Strauss: “It’s been great being in a team with Mariske. I am so happy for her that she is back on form and having issue-free races. It makes me excited for SA Champs because we get to push the limits and create some exciting racing.”
The National Downhill Championships boasts a brand new track for Sunday’s event, much to the excitement of the riders. Race organisers also said that special mention needed to go out to Tim Bentley and other local downhill riders who made efforts in the assistance of the track build.