Mortification over his time when he first attempted The Herald Volkswagen Cycle Tour, motivated Duane Nel from Port Elizabeth to enter again – and he hasn’t stopped since!
On Sunday, February 1, he will be under starter’s orders for his 20th consecutive attempt at the event, which is now in its 24th year.
Nel said he was “volunteered” by his company to enter the race when he was “in his twenties”.
He had to borrow a bicycle, which he described as a “real crock”. “I had no cycling experience whatsoever,” he said yesterday.
“I clocked a full six hours and four minutes and decided there and then that I had to come back to redeem myself. I was determined to sort this (bad time) out!”
At the time the family only had one car, which his wife, Jenni-Lee, used to get to work. He cycled the 24km round trip to his job every day, come rain or sunshine.
“This was the only training I did for many years, but it seems to have done the trick, because my time kept improving.”
Nel said he only started to take cycling “a bit more seriously” about six years ago, although he posted his best time for The Herald VW Cycle Tour in 1994 when he broke the mythical three-hour mark by two minutes.
“It has always been my favourite race and I absolutely refuse to miss it. I am really looking forward to this year’s.”
His middle daughter, Kirsty (16), will be cycling with her dad for the third time this year, while Chanel-Joy (10) – who recently won her age group in the Lorraine cycle race – will probably enter one of the kiddies’ events.
Nel’s wife and their eldest daughter, Jessica, each joined him once, but they much prefer to stand on the side of the road and cheer on the rest of the family. “As luck would have it, our house in Miramar is on the route and every year the whole family gathers on the front lawn to encourage the riders,” he said.
The Herald VW Cycle Tour weekend starts with four mountain bike events on Saturday, January 31, from the Addo Polo Club. These are the newly introduced 85km feature race, the 65km Vodacom Challenge, the 42km Family Fun Ride and the CHOC Kiddies’ Challenge.
Also on the Saturday, The Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment Complex will host the MTR Smit 30km Family Fun Ride and the Reach for a Dream Kiddies’ Challenge.
The grand finale – the 105km The Herald VW Cycle Tour – and the 75km Schools and Open Challenge take place the next day from The Boardwalk.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Avusa (The Herald)