Talented teenager Frances Janse van Rensburg will begin a new chapter in her career when she moves up to the U23/elite ranks in the new season.
The 18-year-old, who formed part of the national junior women’s squad at this year’s UCI Road World Championships, said she felt “super excited” about the transition but also somewhat nervous.
“I know it’s definitely not going to be easy but I’m looking forward to kicking off a whole new chapter in my career, starting at the bottom again and slowly working my way up.”
Janse van Rensburg said she had her off-season after returning from world champs and had been busy building up towards next year, spending a lot of time on the bike and also doing strength training.
“Mentally, I’m getting motivated by planning my season and racing for next year, and setting out some goals.
“I’m super excited to be able to race some races I couldn’t do as a junior and to compete against the elites whilst learning and pushing my limits without putting too much pressure on myself for results.
“I’m quite nervous to race the longer distances though, especially in MTB races, but I’m sure I’ll grow into it.”
Janse van Rensburg, who won the U19 road race and time-trial at this year’s junior and youth national champs, said her main goal would be to grow and learn.
“It’s definitely quite a big step up from junior to U23/elite, so I’m not putting too much pressure on myself for any specific results, etc.
“Although my focus will be a bit more on road racing I will definitely do lots of MTB races too – XCO [Cross-Country Olympic] and XCM [Cross-Country Marathon].
“There are quite a few exciting things and racing plans happening, but I’m not going to spill it all just yet,” said Janse van Rensburg, who will continue riding for Head Bikes/Positive Sports Solutions on the road and Absolute Motion on the mountain bike.
A year ago was the first time she raced on a road bike after always promising herself she would never do it, and since then her life has changed dramatically.
“This year exceeded my expectations in many ways. I achieved most of my goals and learnt and grew through the ones I didn’t.
“Although it was a crazy and busy year filled with ups and downs it was also by far the most amazing one yet with so many blessings, great memories, adventures and good times on and off the bike.”
She said since she started road racing it had given her a whole new level of motivation and new goals to work towards.
“It pushed me to new heights and made me a better athlete and person, I believe.
“Career-wise, some results that I managed to pull off on my road bike opened new doors for me in terms of sponsors and gave me some amazing opportunities.”
Janse van Rensburg said one of the biggest highlights of the past year was winning the national road and time-trial champs.
“Also the whole road world champs experience in Yorkshire.
“It was also a highlight for me to see my improvement in XCO racing and the whole new confidence level I raced with compared to last year.”
She did a lot of racing this year and although she “absolutely loved it”, she felt it could be mentally and physically draining at times to be at the top of one’s game for every race.
“It started to take a bit of a toll on me at some points, but I reminded myself why I started, where I want to get in this sport and why I love it.
“That reset my mind and focus again and helped me to keep working hard towards my goals and dreams. I love riding my bike more than ever.”
Janse van Rensburg said she had learnt a lot this year, but there was one thing that stood out for her.
“If there’s one thing I learnt it is that we can do anything we put our minds to. If we do it with God nothing is impossible. We just have to believe.”