Cyclists are scaling new heights during lockdown, and this weekend South African pro-road racing cyclist, Willie Smit, leads a group of fellow cyclists zig-zagging a virtual vertical Alpine route. This virtual challenge, Alpe du Zwift, is an ascent of 1036m, reached via 21 hairpin bends, past beautiful changing terrain.
The cyclists aim to ride this route eight times, completing 240km, all while pedalling on Tacx indoor cycling trainers from the convenience of their homes. Virtual reality has helped keep many athletes motivated to stay active and competitive during lockdown as a result of Covid-19.
27-year-old Smit, currently living and training in Spain, overcame a traumatic childhood, illness and injury and has often had to dig deep to prove himself in the tough world of professional cycling.
Last month he completed a 1000km Zwift ride, covering the virtual distance in 37 hours, some of it done in the dark in aid of raising funds for development cycling via the South African Cycling Federation.
For his latest event, Smit will be joined by well-known South African cyclists including Ashleigh Moolman and Jay Thompson, Cycling SA’s president and Team Garmin MTB. The ride sets off at 5.30am this Saturday, 9 May, and will be tracked online by Smit via his YouTube channel.
“I want to help pave the way for future stars,” says Smit who is working with a company in Paarl in the Western Cape to drive development of track, road and MTB cycling. To follow Willie Smit and fellow riders this weekend, please visit his YouTube live stream page: