Former professional road cyclist, Nic White, raced to his first ever South African title last weekend when he came out on top after a late start to win the 2013 South African Singlespeed Mountain Bike Championships, held near Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal.
The 39-year-old White, who now heads up the retail management at Cycle Lab’s Fourways store and who mentors talented young riders in the Toyota Supercycling Club system and the Europcar racing team, clocked a time of 1 hour and 46 minutes to claim the title in one of cycling’s most idiosyncratic disciplines.
Singlespeed racing goes against the grain of conventional bicycle racing on many levels with participants shunning the usual range of 24-30 gears and opting for the simplicity of a single gear.
The hosting of the 2012 Singlespeed World Championships in Winterton KwaZulu-Natal gave South Africans a fast track into this quirky parallel universe, which was honoured with much enthusiasm at the 2013 Nationals…
“I started almost last. The Le Mans style start takes you away from your bicycle, but while you’re on the other side of the sports field posing for a big group photo with fellow participants, the race marshalls are moving bicycles around and even hiding some to create start-line chaos,” explained White.
“I think they figured I might be a contender because they hid my bike well and it took me ages to find it. By the time I did, most of the field was on the race route and with a lot of forest singletrack, which makes overtaking very difficult, I had my work cut out for me,” smiled White. – Release Centre