Cyclist Martin prepares for Cairo2Cape challenge

HARARE - Zimbabwe road cyclist Dave Martin is struggling for fitness and sharpness ahead of the gruelling Cairo2Cape race which starts in Egypt and ends in Cape Town, next month.

Martin, who is also the president of the Zimbabwe Road Cycling Association, has predicted a tough challenge in Egypt.

“With just 38 days to go, things are starting to get a little bit crazy; more time on the bike and less time on anything else. I don’t think I fully comprehended what I was taking on when I signed up for the challenge, I should know that world records are not easily attained,” Martin told the Daily News yesterday.

“Training has not gone quite according to plan and I can definitely say that this challenge is not going to be easy.

“Having got flu towards the end of July, I missed 10 days of training. On return, I seriously struggled to make a 100km ride and only managed to get 360km done in the week, but at least I was back on the bike.”

The local representative’s preparations only took shape after engaging Zimbabwe Africa Games’ cycling representative Helen Mitchell.

Mitchell stretched Martin to the limit on the bike, in the process instilling some sense of belief in her senior that it can be done.

“I picked up training again with Helen Mitchell, a young lady I train who won the Africa Continental Championships in February this year.

She is going to race in the All Africa Games in Congo and then on to USA for the World Championships,” he added.

“I was seriously hanging onto her wheel each session and I am so proud of the progress she has made.

“The first week training with Helen I could barely manage the sessions and Cairo2Cape seemed impossible.

“But I have hung in there and broken the training down into smaller achievable goals. Week one I just wanted to manage what Helen was doing and this saw a total of 350km.”

In the second week, Martin clocked 100km daily and added another 100km at the weekend to bring the tally of 865km on the bike.

“I managed to plus a bit extra but the pace with Helen left me broken at the end of each stage,” he quipped.

“I managed 150km each day this week and finished it with my first 300km ride. I now have to manage 303km every day for 34 days. The 300km took just under 10 hours and the week total reached 1 194km, a total of 40 hours but still can’t keep up with Helen though,”

Martin is aiming to cycle 200km daily and 300km on Saturday and Sunday.

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