WORDS BY TSHEPISO SEHLOHO:
The Coronation Double Century (CDC) is all about what dreams are made of – dreams shared by twelve cyclists faced with conquering a grueling 202km of pedaling through the hilly terrain in the Swellendam region of the Western Cape.
It all started when Paul from Ride2Live announced to the team that Coronation would be sponsoring a development team once again in 2018, after a successful 2017 ride which saw 7 cyclists participate in a team.
Just as in the previous year, the 2018 team would ride under the name ‘Coronation Ride2Live’, which is a team consisting exclusively of development riders. In 2018 however, there were positive changes as now a team of 12 was assembled – comprising of cyclists from Gauteng and the Western Cape. In no particular order, the team consisted of : Tshepiso Sehloho (Captain), Hendrick Mashamaite, Quentin Jewatzchewitz, Thabang Mothlothlong, Thabo Mahlakaro, Kabelo Mokgolobotho, Kenneth Ncube, Vusi Marenene, Yibanathi Ncedana, Peter Phala, Mzu Fayo and Christopher Sehlangu.
The Gauteng cyclists left their province on the 22ndof November 2018 and arrived the following day at Swellendam, while the Western Cape based cyclists (2) departed on the 23rdof November 2018. The team arrived to a warm reception from Wendy and Chelsea of the Coronation crew, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the administration matters of the team were well taken care of. With both sides of the team finally together, they were welcomed with a hearty dinner at a restaurant where members had a variety of food options to choose from.
After dinner, the team got together to fit their brand new cycling kit, which was of the best quality. The team was supplied with breakfast and proper nutrition before the start of the race which helped to put us in shape for the demanding distance which we were about to cover. We got to the start in the morning and took pictures with Wendy, which was one of the highlights of the day.
For some, this was a first experience, while for others it was a repeat of the addictive pain from the uphill battle that seems enjoyable enough to be conquered yet again. The team gathered on the penultimate day to strategize on how they want things to unfold, with the most popular goal amongst the them being to finish the ride with all 12 cyclists crossing the finish line – it is as they say, “start with the end in mind”.
The support given by Coronation were impeccable, especially considering that they had to take care of two teams at the same time.
The challenging race went well and everything managed to go according to plan. The team is also proud that while remaining loyal to the goal of finishing the race with all the team members, they produced better results than the year before. In 2017 the team finished the race in the time of 07:04:39, while in 2018 the race was completed within 06:36:31, earning them the Charles Milner medal. This was a sign of true team work and camaraderie. After the race, members of the team had a few words of appreciation and jubilation to say to the Coronation team and about the experience itself.
Tshepiso (London)– “This was my second Coronation DC race in two years and this year (2018) I was honoured with the title of being the captain of the team. As I had taken on cycling less than two years prior, I had expected a tough time leading a group of such talented cyclists with years and years of experience behind them. Instead, I received support and whole hearted cooperation, especially from the guys who have been in the field for a long time. It was one of the best and most rewarding things I have ever had to do, to lead this wonderful team.
It was also great working hand in hand with the Coronation crew of Wendy, Paul [Ride2Live] and Chelsea. The hospitality we received from them was amazing. Granted, 202km is no child’s play, but with all the support we received from the Coronation team, we would take on the daunting task any time. Thank you very much Coronation, you are indeed making dreams come true, in the process, the trust is indeed earned.”
Yibanathi– “Trust, loyalty, respect, oneness, friendship and the atmosphere for me in the team. Being the youngest in the team, I came with the expectation that I will be picked on, but the team as a whole showed great respect to one another. Many thanks to the team, it indeed earned my trust.”
Vusi– “Friday, the day before the race, we sat as a team and prepared for the mental challenges that are part of the ride. We where treated with care and love by our sponsors, Coronation, and the dinner we were received with was exceptional. We had an early night sleep in preparation of the race the next day. The first half of the race went well while during the second half, we just rode with a good tempo to keep everyone together. We reached the first feeding zone with all the members still feeling good, then we went on to finished the race as a team. Once again, to the Coronation team, thank you for a wonderful dinner, we were just so happy for the overall time improvement we pulled out this year (2018).”
Peter – “We as a team started the race well although along the way we had few challenges. But, no matter what transpired, we stood together as a team and our goal of completing the race together was reached. We could’ve completed with a better finishing time but like soldiers in a war, we couldn’t leave any casualties behind.”
Hendrick– “Coronation was very supportive, from race entries, to transport, food, supplements and accommodation. Camaraderie, the journey as a whole and ‘captain, my captain’. He was there for us from the word go, he did a wonderful job.”
Quentin– “This was the most organized and well planned cycle race ever, to the finest detail. A team event that builds character, promotes friendships and motivates individuals. The race goes through a nice route, with beautiful scenery and tough climbs that challenges every cyclist, which ultimately is good for team building.
This was the best event I have ever taken part in; we received the best support and assistance, including cycling outfits, supplements and accommodation. Coronation also assisted in bringing the whole team from Gauteng down to the Western Cape. Paul, Wendy and Chelsea went above and beyond what was expected. Everything was done for us as a team. I have never experienced anything like this before. This is an event that I will recommend to all cyclists.”
Thabo– “Everything about Coronation was fabulous, we were treated like kings.”
Mzu– “I have ridden quite a number of DCs with different teams. I have prepared well for races while sometimes I haven’t. One thing that makes this race stand out is the amount of teamwork required, everyone always has something to contribute, whether they know it or not at the beginning – be it fitness to pull longer or jokes and/or words of encouragement to keep us going when the legs give up.
Regardless how much a team has prepared, the one thing that beats them all is the feeling you get as a rider as you get closer to the feed zone. These stops don’t only fuel the energy levels, but the mind as well. This is one thing that most teams overlook as part of the preparation.
This year I got the privilege of being part of one of the ‘Coronation Ride2live’ team. I got to experience a level of treatment that was beyond one of a VIP. I’m talking before, during and after the gruelling 202km race.
I got to experience how it is to be properly fuelled during a race. Every time we got to the stops, we all smiled and left energised – That was priceless. There is nothing you need more than hope in the last stop. We got that from the support personnel and I would like them to know how much we appreciate all their efforts.
Thank you to the organisers, the greatest captain of the team who knew when to lead and when to let the team do its own thing, the teammates and everyone who allowed me to be part of the team. It’s funny how I got such a treatment even though I was added with less than a week to the race, but that’s a story for another day. I hope to be part of the team again.”
All the team members expressed their heartfelt appreciation on the effort and support by Coronation in ensuring that the ‘Ride2live’ team takes part in the Coronation race. The team is always training and ensuring that they improve as individual cyclists and also as a collective such that when the opportunity arises again for them to take part in the CDC, they are well prepared and ready to take on the challenge with no hesitation.
RIDE2LIVE also caught up with Neville Chester (Senior Portfolio Manager at Coronation) :
“Coronation was so impressed with the performance and dedication of the development team in 2017 that supporting their participation in CDC 2018 was an easy decision. And our belief in them was not disappointed as they demonstrated teamwork, commitment and a positive attitude through a very grueling race. It’s a privilege for us to be associated with this group of talented cyclists who definitely have a bright future. Their individual stories of overcoming adversity has been a true inspiration to us, and is testament to the fact that anything is possible with a clear goal and the perseverance to see it through.”
Neville Chester – Senior Portfolio Manager at Coronation Fund Managers