Durban – Two time champion Lynette Burger Pieterse is poised to make a popular comeback to the aQuellé Tour Durban just months after taking a break from competitive road cycling around the birth of her first child.
The bubbly 34 year-old Activate Demacon star made a striking statement about competitive cycling and motherhood by winning the Cape Town Cycle Tour last month against a strong field, signalling her return to top form and her ability to balance her commitments to her family and her goals as an elite road racer.
"I honestly didn't think I would be able to make a return to elite racing as easily as I have," says Burger Pieterse. "I was so surprised to see my numbers get back up there so quickly."
Burger Pieterse believes the layoff and change to her family commitments has forced her to make a positive change to her training regime.
"With a little one in the house you just don't have that much time available to train.
"You have to use that time that you have so the emphasis moves to quality rather than quantity of training. You learn to make the most of the time that you do have.
"I am also enjoying my training more and generally I feel a lot more relaxed," she adds.
The impact of her recent changes was evident in her win at the Cape Town Cycle Tour, a race where she has been bridesmaid more than she cares top remember.
"My son takes up so much of my time that I don't have time to get stressed or nervous!" says the Boksburg based Burger Pieterse.
"It was an emotional win for a lot of different reasons. Although it was a shorter race, it was raced really hard right from the start with probably more climbing than in a normal format and the wind was also blowing quite hard on the day."
Prior to her Cape Town Cycle Tour success, Burger Pieterse’s first race back after taking a break for the birth of their son Dale was a social outing on a tandem at the Amashova which turned out to be a rude awakening for the new mother.
"I didn't think it would be really possible to go back to racing being a mom, but it has been so exciting to be able to get back to good form and enjoy being a mother at the same time," says Burger Pieterse.
"For me it is important to set goals in order to achieve anything."
She has set a clear goal of winning the 94.7 later in the year – the one major classic title to have eluded her during her stellar career.
She also admits that the level of women's racing has risen appreciably this year, toughening the task.
"I genuinely felt that the level dropped a bit last year but it has picked up a lot again this year!
"There is more racing now and it is harder racing.”
Burger Pieterse comes into the 2015 aQuellé Tour Durban with a four strong team that will include An-Li Pretorius Kachelhoffer, Heidi Dalton and Durban based Pia Fuller that is determined to dominate the race throughout and secure the women's title.
For the upcountry rider, the aQuellé Tour Durban is an annual highlight with its balmy Autumn weather and 105km course that has been kind to her in previous years.
"I love it! The whole trip has always felt like a holiday for us, and I like then course a lot. There aren’t that many climbs but enough hills to split things up nicely," says Burger Pieterse.
More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za.