Team dormakaba cyclist Robyn de Groot is wrapping up her preparations in Turkey for this weekend’s 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships taking place in Sakarya, her first international race since the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.
“My coach has been fantastic during the lockdown facilitating creative ideas and helping me manage the weeks where I started losing motivation. I had written off any international racing for this year due to the travel ban and potential difficulties in getting a Schengen Visa,” says de Groot
She admits she would have liked to have raced in Europe for a few months in the build-up to this weekend’s event, but that was simply not possible. And with a recent Government Gazette suggesting federations would be unable to select international teams, her focus turned to 2021 for the World Championships.
“I have been fortunate that my local races have been going well. So, when the organisers of the World Champs offered me a spot to race three weeks ago, after careful consideration I accepted and looking forward to an exciting event,” says de Groot.
While she is yet to see the course, she will be spending the next few days familiarising herself with conditions in Turkey.
“I just want to race to the best of my abilities and push my body and mind. A lot will depend on conditions on race day, but I aim to finish in the top five. With the entry list expected to be released in the next few days, I anticipate there will be many strong athletes keen on racing. We have all had challenging conditions to overcome with the pandemic, so I expect the competition to be intense this weekend.”
Even though this will be de Groot’s first international race in some time, she will keep a positive outlook.
“I try not to channel any nervous energy into stress, but rather use it as a positive tension. This makes me feel positive energy and excitement to race.”
Following the race, de Groot will still be competing in the Nissan Trailseeker MTB Series in South Africa and will be racing with teammate Amy McDougall in the sani2c over December.