All cycling paths led to Serowe this past weekend for the annual Morupule GM’s Cycle Challenge where teenagers stole the show by scooping most of the overall top finishes. The challenge, held at Boiteko Junction along Orapa road, was divided into three distance categories from 30 km to 58, and 100 km.
The race, taking place on Sunday October 26 and featuring multitudes of cyclists from around the country, kicked off from Boiteko Junction along the Orapa road past Paje and Khama Rhino Sanctuary and back.
The first batch of cyclists to leave was the 100 km racers followed by 58km and 30 km respectively at five minute intervals. Finishing first was 17 year old Form Four student Thuso Letlhare from Serowe taking full advantage of home soil. He was competing in the 30 km race.
“It was tough for the first kilometre because I had to ride against the strong wind,” he told The Telegraph. “But after 10 km I managed to break away from the rest of the group and maintained the gap. He said his runner up, Khumo Ramontshonyana tried to catch up but Letlhare held onto the lead and finished first.
The teenager said he had been cycling for 3 years. “I started off with a mountain bike before buying a second hand sports bicycle,” Letlhare said. The 17 year old member of Morupule Cycling Club said he now had four wins under his belt and wants to go onto longer distance races like 80 km.
His runner up, 15-year-old Ramontshonyana, also enjoyed the race despite complaining about the wind. He only started cycling competitively this year (2015). On the women’s 30 km race, Clare Botha (Team Motloutse) was victorious although she had problems with the wind. Botha, a mother, said she had (until 2015) raced only some years back. She said the races such as the GM’s challenge provided a good opportunity for local cyclists and communities to get fit while also giving back to the less fortunate. Botha’s runner up, Chichi Tshipang, said she almost had to contend with muscle cramps along the way. Tshipang said she had always been interested in racing from her school days.
The 58 km men’s race also saw a teenager, 16-year-old Dimpho Masi finish first on the time of 1:52:01 ahead of another 16-year-old Arnold Kokwane of Jonmol Cycing Club. “It was a tough race and if you did not have the legs for it you wouldn’t have survived,” Masi told The Telegraph. “My number two (Kokwane) was breathing down my neck all the way but it was only when we were left with only 10 km that I managed to open a bigger gap and maintained it to the finishing point.” Fifteen year old Jip Vader won the overall women’s 58 km race with 2:05:56. The Tsela Riders club teenager was however still not happy with her performance. “I didn’t do well today,” she said.
Vader said she loves cycling so much she wouldn’t mind going professional. Favourite, Bernado Ayuso of Bernado Ayuso Development team shook of the disappointment of losing in Selibe Phikwe recently to win the 100 km in 2:48:17. The Gabane based cyclist has been racing for ten years now. “I have participated in 82 races so far this year (2015),” he told The Telegraph. His proudest moment in cycling to date was winning a stage on the Tour of Palancia in Europe. Nineteen year old Setlhomo Masepe of Botrail Cycling Club (Mahalapye) came second. I knew it would be difficult to finish first with Bernado (Ayuso) also taking part,” he said. Anouk Van Der Geest won the women’s 100 km race. The charity event raced more than P400, 000.