The members of Team Bestmed are absolute champs in competitive cycling (even if we say so ourselves!). We caught up with Chris van Rooyen to learn more about what the team has been up to thus far in 2021, their preparation and wins at the South African National Road Championships, and their donation of old kit to a development team of school children.

  1. What has 2021 looked like for Team Bestmed thus far? Have you competed in any virtual, road or off-road races?

Our focus for the first quarter has been the SA Championships held in Swellendam from 18 to 20 March. We went to Clarens for a team training camp a month ago in preparation. Team members have also taken part in virtual races and challenges on ZWIFT to maintain and increase their fitness and performance.

  1. How did the team prepare for the SA Champs?

We trained 12 to15 hours per week. This equates to a minimum of 1 500km of riding and 15 000m of climbing a month.

Team members also eat well-balanced meals and try to get enough sleep to be able to recover well.

Riders also make use of sports massages and recovery boots to get rid of lactic acid that builds up during excessive training.

  1. What were your expectations at the SA Champs?

The SA Champs is always about what happens on the day and the riders who attend all have a chance. We trained extremely hard and gave our best performance.

All our riders who participated were there to help the team to win or podium in their categories. We have six riders who have won titles in the individual time trial and three who have won the road race in the previous championships. Experience is on our side and it helps on the day.

Our competition is fierce, so it was highly competitive. The Swellendam routes are difficult with few recovery sections.

  1. What exciting news can you share about the SA Champs and Team Bestmed?

As I said, earlier, it’s about what happens on the day. We are extremely proud of Kent Kirkwood, who won the 45+ men’s category; Lionel Scholtz for winning in the para category for the second year in a row; Thys Oosthuizen for taking bronze in the 40+ men’s category; and Dirk Nel for his 5th position in the 55+ men’s category.

We are exceptionally proud of the team and our riders who participated and contributed to make it happen. We are also very grateful to our sponsors and supporters.

  1. What did you learn in 2020 that you will apply in 2021, regarding training and/or racing (especially virtual races)?

The world of cycling has changed completely over the past 12 months. Virtual racing and indoor riding have become part of cycling and our team’s training regime. It is excellent for specific efforts such as 10- to 20-minute intervals at a certain wattage. Zwift racing is extremely intense, difficult and normally completed within an hour, which offers riders a great workout.

  1. Please tell us more about your donation of old kit to a development team of school children.

Team Bestmed has had a long relationship with Alex Cooper and Anriette Schoeman, who run the Laerskool Lorraine Cycling Development programme that also includes other rural schools in PE. We ask our team members to donate their previous years’ kit so that we can help our future cycling stars. Team Bestmed is a race team and not a cycling club, so the team kit is not available to the public. By donating our previous years’ kit, we are helping them.