Former national road cyclist Zanele Tshoko tried her hand at endurance riding for the first time recently – all for the Cycle4Diabetes relay.
The Bestmed-ASG rider took part in the annual three-day ride, which took place over a distance of 600km between Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg, to raise awareness for the disease.
She rode with manager Owen Botha, Gerhard Moolman and his son Marco, a Type 1 Diabetic, as they tackled the first leg, from Sandton in Gauteng to Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, in sweltering conditions.
The day was divided into three parts and four teams of four riders – each affected by diabetes in some way – took part in the event and were involved in five activations on the route.
High temperatures for the first leg, which took riders from Sandton in Gauteng to Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, made for tough conditions.
The C4D and Rand Water joined forces to take control of the lunch session while Bestmed-ASG and City of Johannesburg completed the leg.
Tshoko said the heat made it a struggle early on, but things improved as sunset approached and temperatures finally started to drop.
The following day 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.”
She said it was the first time that she took on an endurance challenge of this nature and hoped to be back.
“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.”
Tshoko said it was a special and important event for her to be a part of as she too had family and friends living with the disease.