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Hillcrest Primary leading the school’s charge at 2022 Tour Durban

After they showed up in their numbers for the 2021 aQuellé Tour Durban MTB races, powered by CycleLab, the team from Hillcrest Primary School will be back again over the weekend of 10-11 September and are challenging other schools to get involved.

As the country emerges from the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic there is a major push to reignite schools cycling and the KZN Schools Committee are looking to more schools into getting their riders out for the Tour Durban race, using Hillcrest Primary as an example that it can be done.

“KZN Schools Committee has been working to get schools cycling back up and running,” said Rose Owen from the KZN Schools Cycling Committee.

“We have had a season opener and our first lap race event had an opportunity to add a special XCO lite event to the KZN Mountain Biking XCO Championship at Cascades. We are looking forward to our next lap event in August.

“On the back of this we have had an exciting discussion with the Tour Durban organisers and the KZN Schools Cycling Committee is looking forward to working with them to include a schools aspect to the event.

“We are hoping to continue to grow Schools Cycling and an event like Tour Durban is a great way to keep the momentum going – we are looking forward to seeing many more of our school kids from across KZN participating at events.”

A dedicated group of parents made the day possible in 2021, and for the KZN Schools Committee they are hoping that this can spill over into other schools where the parents and children ride. For Owen, having parents and children together bonding over an event like the Tour Durban is a highlight.

“Kids secretly love spending time with their parents, even if they roll their eyes at us at first!” she laughed.

“At the end of the day, the fun they have being out on an adventure with you is their best day. It doesn’t have to be a big race event; in fact, the most fun has been packing way too many sweets in our pockets and taking it as an adventure.

“As a parent setting ‘bite size targets for distances’ and making stops, like at water tables and insisting on stopping to sample the goodies at the water tables, gives them a chance to rest without feeling like they are doing badly.

“Also taking pictures and encouraging them to just enjoy it.”

Owen and her team at the KZN Schools Cycling Committee are hoping that more schools get involved in this year’s race and contribute to the support for the Domino Foundation – the event’s sole benefactor.

“The best way to get involved is to put out a call to parents and kids to see who is keen to ride, and then get going.

“Hillcrest Primary School had two interested parents; they spoke to the Sports Department and got started. From there it grew.

“We are super lucky to have a really supportive group of parents, and they all chipped in, some rode with us to help supervise the kids, and others made sure we had a ‘dedicated area’ at the event where kids and parents could congregate. It was a great day out.

“If a school has an interested parent or coach that would like to grow their Mountain biking or cycling they are welcome to contact the Schools Committee for assistance.

“Hopefully we will see more schools at events like the Tour Durban,” Owen added.