The second round of the 2015 SA Stihl MTB DHI Cup takes place at Cascades MTB Park, in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 5 April. With the right race attitude, and a phenomenal support base, the three-time National Champion and National Cup Series winner, Tiaan Odendaal, is all systems go for this event, and ready to do great things in the future.
Odendaal has always been a keen rider from a young age. “I rode with my mom as a small boy in a few road races and played around in the field behind our house with friends on my BMX,” he said.
One day, whilst riding around at Cascades MTB Park, he came across World Champion Greg Minnaar. At the time, Odendaal didn’t know who Minnaar was, but he was interested in the gear he had on and the bike that he was riding. The pair began chatting. “I attended a training camp that was presented by him, and by watching the KZN DHI guys, I taught myself a lot,” he said.
To date, he has won both the National Championship as well as the National MTB Downhill Series for the last three consecutive years – the first year as a Junior, and the next two in the Elite Men’s category. Not to mention his performance over last weekend’s KZN Provincial Cup, where he took wins in both the Enduro and DHI disciplines on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
In the first round of the 2015 Stihl SA DHI Cup Series at Contermanskloof in the Western Cape in February, Odendaal came in third place behind Stefan Garlicki (first) and Andrew Neethling (second). When asked about his feelings about round two, he said: “I have a great support team and am ready and excited for round 2.”
When chatting about the Pietermaritzburg course, he had this to say: “The World Cup/Championship track is versatile with a bit of everything that suits a fit rider well as there is a bit of pedalling.” The infamous World Cup track is set to attract a mass of spectators as it forms part of the PMB MTB Festival over the same weekend.
Odendaal thoroughly makes the most of life, by balancing play and work in order to fund his cycling dream. “I love fishing and riding my motorbike, but mostly I work taking on track building and part time jobs to earn money for supporting my cycling as I don’t have a sponsor,” he said.
Odendaal’s love and respect for his mother is not easy to hide. He is constantly thanking her on social media platforms, mentioning that without her he would not be where he is today. When asked about which team or he rides for, he said “Nobody, I ride for my mom haha.”
Last year he traveled and competed in Europe, but this year, his focus is local: “Due to my financial position I am not able to ride overseas this year so I am focusing on the local SA events,” he said.
Only time will tell which direction this champion heads off to next.
Online pre-entries for the 2015 Stihl SA DHI Cup are open. To enter the event, click here: https://csams.cyclingsa.com/online-entries.aspx?eventid=3943. Entries close at midnight on Tuesday 31 March 2015. Late entries will be accepted with a nominal charge of R50 at registration on the day.
For more information about the 2015 Stihl SA MTB Cup Series event, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-sa-mtb-cup-series
For more information about the 2015 PMB MTB Festival, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-pmb-mtb-festival