The annual Cycle4Diabetes relay saw riders from around the country come together to raise awareness for the disease.
Former road cyclist Zanele Tshoko was part of what, for her, was a personal three-day journey from Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg.
“It was a special and important event for me to be a part of,” said Tshoko, who has friends and family living with diabetes.
The 600km event saw four teams of four riders – each affected by diabetes in some way – line up in Sandton, Gauteng, for the start.
Tshoko, who races for the Team Bestmed-ASG outfit, was joined by her manager Owen Botha, Gerhard Moolman and his son Marco, a Type 1 Diabetic.
Dr Jacques van Staden took charge of the C4D team while Mogomotsi Mashigo was in control at City of Johannesburg. Former national star Luthando Kaka led the Rand Water riders.
Tshoko said it was the first time that she took on an endurance challenge of this nature and, despite facing some challenges, hoped to be back.
The opening stage, which finished at Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, saw riders take to the road under a baking sun and Tshoko said the heat made it a struggle early on.
A setting sun finally bought relief of cooler temperatures, before it was back to business the following day.
Day two saw a combined effort to Dundee, with the last leg taking them to Pietermaritzburg.
“The final day was hard,” said Tshoko. “I was tired after 50km, but pushed myself and it was amazing to get to the finish line and to know that I was riding for a good cause.
“It was inspiring to go to the communities and to educate them. One thing that I learnt is that you are never too young to get diabetes – the disease doesn’t choose age.”
Having completed the event, she acknowledged the disease was not an easy thing to manage, but by staying healthy, exercising, taking medicine and following medical advice, it could be manageable.