Cycle Nation Team Manager, Lincoln King will be bringing five riders from Gauteng-based development team, Proud Beginners, to take part in the KZN Summer Series for Men, which takes place in Pietermaritzburg on 25 and 26 March 2017.
The team will be lead by 2002 and 2006 National Road Champion, Jacques Fullard, who will mentor and captain the team. Fullard mentioned that he was looking forward to the opportunity to share his experience with the team, and give back to the sport that has given him so much.
King will also bring along Proud Beginners Cycling Team founding member, Kena Setshogoe. “I will take Kena along to shadow me as a manager. It will be great for him to get the experience, skills and knowledge about how elite teams operate,” he said.
King will be managing the Proud Beginners Team, and Setshogoe will be learning from him. “The idea is that we as Cycle Nation can do a knowledge and skills transfer by taking a new team and giving them an introduction into elite racing,” said King.
Setshogoe will join in and learn from convoy protocols, manager meetings and preparing the teams for races.
“We started Proud Beginners officially in November of 2015. Prior to that we all used to rider together informally,” said Setshogoe. “We managed to get a bunch of youngsters together to form an elite team. I say youngsters because they are in their early to mid-twenties with a fresh passion and determination for the sport,” he added.
Proud beginners have taken riders from the community under their wing, and have fully supported their cycling dreams. “We have registered and funded their Cycling SA licences, donated bikes, and have given them the full support that they need in order to pursue their passion,” he added.
The team to date has close to 70 members who ride on a regular basis.
When chatting about the KZN Summer Series for Men, Setshogoe said: “I feel that these youngsters are going to benefit so well from the Summer Series. They will gain great experience and have excellent exposure to a top-end, well-organised event.
“The guys will be learning all sorts of race tactics and strategies, and they are so inspired to be able to interact with the greater cycling community. We may not be the strongest guys out there, but I really feel that the only way for us to gauge our riding ability is to take part in races like this.”
Setshogoe said that he is proud of how far the brand has come in a short period of time. “We have gained some great mileage and had really good outcomes,” he said.
“We’re a very audible team – for lack of a better word,” he said. “We’re loud, interactive, and sing often on some of our rides. We are becoming known in the communities and Proud Beginners is definitely picking up speed,” said Setshogoe.
Last year Proud Beginners organised their own mini tour where the team rode from Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg to take part in the Amashova race. “We raised awareness about and funds for a charity in Bethlehem in the process. We wanted to make this charity visible and hoped to get others to engage as well,” he added.
The team has recently selected a new executive committee, of which Setshogoe is a part of, and said that they are all very excited. “We are looking forward to getting people more excited about cycling, and more excited about Proud Beginners,” he said.
Setshogoe ended by talking about the dreams and aspirations of the team: “We have massive goals and ambitions, and are hoping to one day be able to host an actual race. We really want to see the development happen. They are such passionate riders in the team already. Last year we had a young individual who had never been on a road bike before. We put him on one, and after a month or two of training, he managed a time close to three hours and 20 minutes at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, so the passion is there. We are hoping to one day see some of our guys racing for professional teams.”
The KZN Summer Series for Men will comprise of two separate races (with individual prize money) which make up a series, meaning that entrants will need to take part in both races in order to earn points towards overall prizes.