In the saddle with Oval North’s Porter

KEAGAN MITCHELL

A busy time on the saddle awaits Oval North star cyclist Yulrick Porter, 17, as he gears up to take part in Saturday’s Discovery Duathlon, in Cape Town, and the Tour d’ Plain a week later.

Billed as the biggest community cycling event, the second edition of Tour d’Plain, will start at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital and finish at the Strandfontein Pavilion, on Sunday May 1.

If last year’s event, which attracted a fairly sizeable number of participants, is anything to thing to go by, then cycling fans should brace for a bumper race.

Yulrick, a Grade 12 pupil, says he looks forward to the race because it will allow him to focus on certain aspects of his technique as it is less demanding than this week’s duathlon.

“It also won’t be gruelling and, as such, could yield fast times among the competitive cyclists like myself. I also hope to show the younger riders the ropes and to motivate them. I believe we are all there to help each other,” he said.

However, before lining up at Lentegeur, the youngster first has to take care of Saturday’s duathlon, which involves a 5km run, a 20km cycle and another 2.5km run.

Yulrick said the event won’t be easy but believes running the 5000m at the inter-schools athletics competition earlier this year, would help him to reach his goal of crossing thie finish line first in the under-19 schools’ section.

“I am preparing well for it. I am doing a lot of sprints and also running along Beach Road in Strandfontein. After school and weekends I am on my bike,” he said.

Last month, Yulrick was the first rider from the Nedbank Sports Trust’s school cycling programme to complete the Cape Town Cycle Tour in 2hrs57mins.

He believes his motivation throughout the race was his training partner, Grant Holloway, a former pupil at Oval North and a graduate of the school’s cycling programme.

Yulrick said he and Grant were in different groups when the race started, which allowed him to get a head start. However, he said, Grant’s group caught up with him 10 minutes into the race.

Yulrick said things heated up as they approached Chapman’s Peak, with everyone in the group pushing hard.

“I started to cramp near the finish and I kept on pushing because I knew I could sort it out when I got to the end,” he said.

Oval North cycling coach, Nazeem Jacobs said Yulrick has developed a lot since he first started cycling.

“I remember when Yulrick started out how he struggled on the road but never gave up,” Jacobs said.

* There’ll be a number of road closures along the route from 5am until 1pm on Sunday May 1. Among these are sections of Highlands Drive, AZ Berman, Spine Road, Mew Way and Baden Powel Drive. The two-day cycle fest will include an indoor exhibition, live stage performances by top South African artists, food stalls, kid’s entertainment, carnival rides, great fun for the entire family and prizes to be won valued at more than R300 000. Call 021 376 0217 084 526 9006 or 079 928 9077 or visit www.tourdplain.co.za if you would like to book a stall.