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Sport
Rising star in Schools MTB League aims for the Cape Epic

Just four years ago mountain biking (MTB) was simply an exciting hobby for 18-year-old Mia de Villiers, she only jumped onto the saddle sporadically, and seldom took the sport seriously.

Fast-track just a few years and she’s a budding MTB rider and a Spur Schools MTB League Rising Star.

“I started riding with my dad, just as a passtime. It was fun and I enjoyed it, especially when I had some free time after netball,” De Villiers says.

But before long, MTB went from being a hobby to a sport she grew to love so much that she has fast become an avid rider with an “absolute passion” for the sport and a participant of the country’s largest cycling programme – the Spur Schools MTB League.

In 2016 De Villiers scooped first place in the Western Cape leg of the race and fifth in the national final that same year.

“Those were unbelievable achievements that I am still incredibly proud of,” she says.

This matric pupil at Paarl Girls’ High School in the Western Cape has big dreams, and one of them is to participate in the Absa Cape Epic.

To date this up-and-coming champion has already earned the Western Cape XCO champs title in 2016 and scooped third place at the 2017 SA XCO Champs series.

She says: “I truly believe that if you can dream it, you can do it. It just takes hard work and a bit of sacrifice, which involves early mornings to train, and packing in some extra hours of study time later in the day. The reward is great, so it’s all worth it.”

But there’s a lot of work to be done for the 2018 league season, which officially kicked-off in May, and De Villiers is already packing-in a rigorous 6-day a week training programme to ensure she stays fit and on top of her game.

“Last year was very difficult, I took a nasty fall and broke my wrist and I was forced to park my bike for a long time. But the accident taught me resilience and to never give up on my dream, which is to one day participate in the Absa Cape Epic,” she says.

Of her rising star status, De Villiers says she is most proud and adds that it demonstrates that young girls really can enjoy and excel at MTB. She hopes to qualify for the final in Magaliesburg in October as well as obtain her Western Cape marathon colours.

“I am passionate about MTB and look forward to exploring all the sport has to offer under the guidance of my coach, Alex Kruger,” De Villiers says. “I believe that there are great things on the horizon, I just need to work hard.”

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