Born 26 Dec 1979, grew up in Plett, surfed a lot as you do in Plett. I Raced BMX as a 5 year old, loved two wheels so much I never got off them. I progressed from a BMX (which was the best skills development) to an observe trials bike and proceeded to do events and shows with my first sponsor, Knysna Cycle Worx back in 1992-96
I was given a “Mountain Bike” by my father to ride to school with in 1993, it was ok but very cheap. I told my father I didn’t like it, so like any good father, he told me that if I wanted a better bike that I would have to buy for myself! I sold this “mountain bike” to another school boy. I washed cars, delivered news papers and took a job at the local Ice Cream Parlour on beach front to save enough money to buy a snazzy second hand BikeTech California from Knysna Cycle Worx. I paid R800 for the bike, back then that was so much money they delivered the bike to me in Plett. As Angela dropped the bike off for me, my father arrived home to see this bike. He thought it was beautiful, and asked how much it cost. I told him, he flipped out and gave me a hiding I will never forget! After 20 min or so, my father sheepishly approached me and asked me to forgive him. I was confused by this, but he told me that he had ridden this bike around the block and could’t believe how light and nicely everything worked and so on, and was proud of me! MTBing was now here to stay!
In 1997 I shipped out to Cape Town, I by this stage had a DH rig and a trail bike. ( back then 1 bike = both) I met up with a few really cool Cycle messengers and we became instant friends because of a bike.
By 1998 I was working in the best MTB shop in town, Hopkins Cycle Inn. It was an education to say the least. But I got racing DH with the best in the country, but found myself falling and getting badly hurt so often, my doctor told me to change sports before I ran out of skin! Not being one to back down, I bought an XC bike and started racing provincials. I was hooked, i trained and raced my heart out.
In 2001 I was picked up by GT for sponsorship along side Dr Jeroen Swart (who at this stage had already represented SA overseas for XC and was top of the heap in Elite XC), Shan Wilson who even back then was old and fast (nothing has changed) and another youngster Jacques Rossouw! We went to every XC event we could and built our strength as a team. After a season, I was 5th Nationally as an U/23! Jacques was 2nd U/23 and Brandon Stewart was tops. Jeroen was knocking around 2nd in Elite and Shan was 4th! Great season! I got signed a second year and found myself during 2002 riding so hard that I was 2nd to my team mate. I was officially the 2nd fasted U/23 in the country and also beating a lot of the Elites in the process. BAD NEWS came in at the end of the season at the George National, which counted as a Provincial simultaneously. Because you have to be 22 to be counted as an Under 23, there was a glitch at registration! My racing License, which was approved and given to me by SA Cycling, said I was registered as U/23! My age in 2002 however made me 23! This was a huge problem as all my race points were allocated to U/23 stats and they didn’t count! If I wanted to put those points towards “Elite Category” I would be 8th for the season. Not good enough to earn my SA colors. You can imagine how bummed I was. The problem was, I wasn’t licensed as an Elite, so they couldn’t put my points toward the Elite category anyway! Disaster! Due to their clerical error, they let me race but I never earned my SA colours! I was very bummed about this, and stopped racing for a year out of spite. I soon pulled up my socks and sorted my head out. I started The Epic Bike Shop with my wife, and we started building custom bikes and concentrated on mechanical work. Something that was lacking was riding, and we started our own provisional race team. We ended up with a age category winner in each category, Elite Men 2, Sub Vet Men 1, Vet Men 1, Sub Vet Ladies 1 and Vet Ladies 1 and finally Junior Men 1. It was my way back into racing.
After a few years in the bike trade, I found my higher calling and became a UCI Level 2 Cycling Coach. I left the bike shop completely and decided that helping others get so much joy out of riding as I do, was the way forward. I also wished to help others not get stuck with red tape, and rules as I did. Seeing a rider improve, however small, is my greatest pleasure.