A fit Andrew Hill is patiently awaiting the green light from government to resume the mountain bike season, which has been locked down since March.
“I think the racing itself will be changed. There will probably be smaller batches of riders moving off, which makes sense. Also maybe starting with buffs or masks.
“The whole social aspect of being at the finish with all the spectators will not be the same. The pro of racing was always having that interaction at the end and being at the race village.”
He added that it would be interesting to see the changes and what the new normal would look like.
“It will be a game changer, but we’ll get through it.”
Apart from having had to adjust his goals due to race postponements or cancellations, the situation has also forced him to re-evaluate his approach to the sport.
“It does change the mindset that you have about racing in terms of the enjoyment factor. You’ll really appreciate getting onto the bike and competing again.”
Although the sporting community had been dealt several body blows this season, he felt there was a positive to be found in everything.
“We just have to keep working, stay fit and, as soon as we get the green light, transition into racing with more intensity,” said Hill, who displayed plenty of the latter when he dominated the four-day PE Plett alongside Stuart Marais earlier this season.
The Kamberg-based rider, who has been smashing the trails in and around the Drakensberg area, felt the lockdown had been mentally and emotionally taxing for everyone.
“As sportsmen it’s been really hard for everyone, but cyclists to a lesser degree as we could get onto indoor trainers during the initial stages.
“I do feel for the swimmers, paddlers, runners and other athletes who couldn’t carry on doing their sport.”
He added that he’d like to believe that there would be some racing soon.
“I’d like to finish the year with a couple of local one-day races, but it all also depends on travelling.”
Before he gets onto the real trails, he is set to tackle the 40km virtual Tour Durban mountain bike event on July 25.
Organisers will broadcast a “rider’s view” visuals of the course on Facebook to which participants can ride along to on rollers or stationary bikes.
“Obviously it’s not an ideal situation to be in for the organisers and you’d want to have people there experiencing the event and trails.
“It’s a sad thing, but still good for their charity the Domino Foundation, to which the R50 entry fee goes towards.”
There were however some benefits to the event taking the virtual route, he said.
“We still get to support them and there will be a general sense of community and understanding as to what is going on. It’s definitely a good way of doing it.”
He said the idea of the format was to have more people on bikes, following the route and experiencing the race.
“I think it will be interesting and enjoyable to look at the route and see what we missed out on this year.”