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  1. RMB Change a Life MTB Academy ace John Ntuli claimed a career defining win at the recent 1070km The Munga mountain bike race from Bloemfontein to Wellington. Photo: Erik Vermeulen. Gracious and humble by nature, Ntuli’s uncanny knack of adapting into a relentless, determined competitor when put under race conditions has fittingly seen the man from KZN’s Valley of a Thousand Hills develop the nickname of ‘Ngwenya’ – isiZulu for crocodile.And call on every ounce of crocodile instinct he had within him Ntuli was forced to do as he redefined his mental and physical boundaries en route to claiming victory in 69 hours and ten minutes. “John's Zulu nickname is Ngwenya, the Crocodile, because he is resilient, tough & powerful. How apt that name now is,” tweeted academy founder and Dusi Canoe Marathon legend Martin Dreyer. Having successfully fought off not only his fellow dogged challengers but treacherous conditions and the event’s mind-numbing distance as well, the result goes to the very top of the pile of achievements for the already highly decorated competitor. “I’ve won a couple of races in my career but this is the biggest race I have ever won!” said Ntuli. “The Munga was such a difficult race because it was so long, it was very hot and dusty, we had to deal with headwinds and side winds all the time and we were in pain throughout, so it really is a rewarding result for me!” he added. With victories in the latest Triple Challenge and recent Maqhwe Mfula multisport races as well having successfully tackled the 369km Desert Dash in Namibia in 2014, Ntuli drew confidence from both his training and strategy prior to Wednesday, 2 December’s race start. All the preparation in the world couldn’t have readied Ntuli for what he was in for though, with the overall experience one that will stay with the RMB Change a Life star forever. “My hands, my arms and my bum were so sore! “I tried everything to get rid of the pain; I took my arm warmers off – and then my shirt as well – and sat on them but nothing helped! John Ntuli's win in the recent 1070km The Munga mountain bike race from Bloemfontein to Wellington further underlined the ethos of Martin Dreyer's RMB Change a Life MTB Academy. Photo: Erik Vermeulen “With about 270km to go I seriously thought about pulling out because I was so sore but eventually I told myself that everyone else was going through the same pain as I was and so I just had to keep going.“I stood and sat, stood and sat all the way to the finish line! “When I finished I was so happy but so tired that when I got off my bike I was just swaying backwards and forwards,” explained Ntuli. Lying second behind Chris van Zyl after the first twenty-four hours of racing, Ntuli went through the halfway point in the lead with Tim Deane after thirty and a half hours. Later relegated to second place, Ntuli surged past race leader Grant Usher whilst heading through the Breede River Valley late on Friday night and ultimately crossed the finish line at Diemersfontein Wine & Country Estate in the Cape Winelands first, over four hours ahead of his nearest chaser. The achievement signifies both Ntuli’s remarkable individual talent and the impact Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy has had on the lives of its members. “Martin (Dreyer) is so experienced and has given me such great advice and support that really helped me win this race and the Change a Life Academy has changed so much in my life as well and I’m very grateful to him for that!” said Ntuli categorically.
  2. John Ntuli’s historic victory at the inaugural 1070km The Munga mountain bike race from Bloemfontein to Wellington on Saturday has reaffirmed his status as one of the finest endurance athletes in the country and further underlining a core ethos behind the RMB Change a Life MTB Academy. Click here to view the article
  3. Ntuli captained the Change a Life Academy Mountain Bike Team until March this year, when he attained his own personal sponsorship from Merchant. “This will be my second time doing the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash,” he said. Merchants' John Ntuli (third from the right) and Change a Life Academy's Mazwi Msimango (centre) are ready for the 2016 edition of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, which takes place at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site (R103) KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday 27 August 2016 Speaking about the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, Ntuli said: “This race is a very important race for me. It’s important because it shows that South Africa is free, and we get to race under the Mandela name. It’s just brilliant. It is extremely important in my life.” Ntuli, who has succeeded in not only mountain biking but in many multi-sport events too, is referred to by his peers and Dreyer as “Ngwenya” (crocodile) because of his sheer toughness and resilience. “Mountain biking is my career and my life now. I do it full time, and train six days a week. I train mostly on weekdays and race on weekends, but if there’s no races, I still train,” he said. “I am looking forward to the MTB Dash and I am just going to show up and try my best,” he concluded. RMB Change a Life Academy’s Mazwi Msimango from Inchanga said: “I have been with the team for two-and-a half-years now, if I’m not mistaken.” Msimango began riding only three years ago. “I just began riding normally and then I joined a team and I started training properly. I then got a good bike to race on. I started racing my bike in August of 2014,” he said. 24-year-old Msimango chatted about his dream of being able to take part in the MTB Dash: “This is really good for me. It was always a wish of mine to be able to ride a bicycle and to race with other people – it’s a great experience and a really good achievement. If I wasn’t in the Academy, these opportunities would not be available to me as mountain biking is too expensive, and traveling to races and equipment costs money. So for me – this is such a good thing because I’m achieving a lot and experiencing a lot. I talk to people and learn about their experiences and their thoughts – we share everything, and it’s really good.” The start and finish of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash is at the well-known Nelson Mandela Capture Site in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands – a reminder of the struggles endured by our former president and leader. Online pre-entries for the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash are open, and close on Wednesday 24 August. Late entries will be accepted at registration, which is at Olympia Hall, Royal Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg from 11:00-17:00 on Friday 26 August, and at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site from 06:00-07:30 on race day, Saturday 27 August. Race Start Time Pre Entry Fee Late Entry Fee 10km Fun Ride 08:30 R 80,00 R 100,00 21km MTB Intermediate 08:15 R 100,00 R 120,00 42km MTB Classic 08:00 R 130,00 R 150,00 For information on the 2016 Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, visit the official website – http://www.mandelamarathon.co.za/ For more information on KZN MTB Commission, visit – http://www.kznmtb.co.za/ For the online event entries, visit the ROAG website – http://www.roag.co.za/eventinfo.aspx?EventID=1735
  4. The RMB Change a Life Academy, founded by Martin Dreyer, has seen success from its athletes in many disciplines of sport, including mountain biking. Many members of the Change a Life mountain bike family have thrived in their own skill sets on the bike, including Merchant rider, John Ntuli, who will take on the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on Saturday 27 August. The mountain bike event forms part of the greater Mandela Day Marathon sports festival over the weekend of 27-28 August. Click here to view the article
  5. With a sound buffer going into Sunday the Team TIB duo of Andrew Hill and Tyronne White maintained that gap to take the overall title at the end of the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The benefit of having a healthy lead meant that Team TIB's Hill and White were not required to push the pace, and after the group broke down to two pairs early on the leaders had to make sure that they did not lose touch of the Team Safire outfit of Warren Price and Trevor Rowe. “Today was going to be a day that was going to suit Trevor and Warren because of their strengths on the flats,” first-time winner Tyronne White commented. “We didn’t have to make the pace so we wanted to be a little conservative to avoid making any mistakes. “We rode a good tempo and it was great to ride with them [Team Safire], it was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the route – it ended up being a really nice day for riding!” White was a bit concerned about his fitness levels following a break from riding to enjoy his honeymoon however he suggested that the second stage was going to be a lot easier on the body. “Today was a lot better, there is not as much climbing so I didn’t have to suffer as much but I can’t wait to get fit and back to racing level so I don’t have to sit behind Andrew as much!” he chuckled. Hill, who has won every edition of the BSi Steel dusi2c, has seen the race grow from strength-to-strength and ranks the 2016 edition of the race up there as one of his favourite instalments of the event. “The race has definitely improved every year and having guys like the Durban Green Corridor involved cutting and setting up the trails really just helps the race step up every year. “With all factors considered I would definitely say that this year’s race ranks up there with one of the best I have raced,” Hill mentioned. Hill claimed his fourth title in 2016 but White returns home with his first and the North Coast resident is happy that the planets finally aligned allowing him and Hill to take on the two-day adventure together. “It is awesome to get a win on my first dusi2c and especially with Andrew who has won so many and we have always wanted to do the race together but unfortunately the opportunity never arose so it was great that this year we managed to team up for the race and get the win,” a satisfied White added. At the start of the stage the Team Safire pair of Trevor Rowe and Warren Price had to make the pace if they were to overturn the deficit however they were unable to shrug off the eventual winners Team TIB and had to settle for second place overall after the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Team Safire were always going to be up against it coming into the final stage and with such a sharp, flat stage the chance to get away from the leaders never arose however the Price and Rowe duo held on to their second place comfortably. Having to hold off a strong charge from the chasing pairs the RMB Change a Life 1 pair of Ndumiso Dontso and Sipho Kupiso rounded out the podium on the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The final spot on the podium was a fight between two of the RMB Change a Life Academy teams with their Number One team of Ndumiso Dontso and Sipho Kupiso starting the stage in third place as Bongmusa Zikhali and Siyanda Masango started Sunday in fourth place. After a slight mechanical error on the start line on Saturday, which cost them five minutes at the end of the stage, Merchants’ Jeannie Dreyer and John Ntuli rode the complete race to take the overall title in the mixed category from overnight leaders Sani Racing’s Andrew Houston and Bianca Haw. “John and I chatted this morning at breakfast about how we were going to go about today and I said that we should just see how the day goes instead of setting our minds on chasing down Andrew and Bianca. With a five minute deficit to overturn the Merchants duo of John Ntuli and Jeannie Dreyer put the hammer down to overhaul the overnight mixed leaders to claim the mixed category title the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media “We knew that today was going to be difficult because of the pace of the stage and five minutes is a lot of time but when we got passed Bianca and Andy we just knew we had to put our heads down and go as hard as we could! “The day went according to plan today but the legs did blow! That was the plan, though, go until you blow!” she joked afterwards. Ntuli echoed Dreyer when talking about the effort that they had to put in on Sunday to overturn the advantage that Houston and Haw had built up after the first stage of the race. “Jeannie and I raced really well today and I am really happy that we were able to make up the time on the leading mixed team. “Jeannie was incredibly strong and I felt good which helped us a lot in chasing down the leaders – I’m really happy with the result!” an elated Ntuli commented. Another exciting day of racing saw riders navigate their way from the overnight stop at Mfula Store to Blue Lagoon in Durban for the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media The 2Fast2Furious pair of Wesley and Candice Parker-Dennison managed to hold on to their third place in the mixed category after starting the final stanza of the race with a lead of just under a minute. The Highway Bakkie duo of Brenda Potts and Sarah van Heerden finished the race as the leading ladies pair following the two days of racing. Beverley Blake (front) and Gary Geldenhuis taking on one of the many river crossings during the second and final stage of the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media For more information go to www.dusi2c.co.za SUMMARY OF RESULTS – BSi Steel dusi2c Stage Two (Mfula Store to Blue Lagoon) Overall 1.Team TIB (Andrew Hill/Tyronne White) 02:14.48 04:47.22 2.Team Safire (Warren Price/Trevor Rowe) 02:14.49 04:50.27 3.RMB Change a Life 1 (Ndumiso Dontso/Sipho Kupiso) 02:22.52 05:02.37 4.The Underdogs (Klaas Meintjies/Christiaan van Dyk) 02:25.21 05:09.33 5.RMB Change a Life 3 (Bongmusa Zikhali/Siyanda Masango) 02:37.15 05:19.47 6.Merchants (Jeannie Dreyer/John Ntuli) 02:29.44 05:22.47 7.Sani Racing (Andrew Houston/Bianca Haw) 02:37.39 05:25.31 8.Hidden Hunger (Douglas Drysdale/Sean Henderson) 02:29.51 05:28.36 9.RMB Change a Life 2 (Mboneni Ngcobo/Mazwi Smimango) 02:22.51 05:32.17 10.2Fast2Furious (Wesley Parker-Dennison/Candice Parker-Dennison) 02:42.23 05:49.02 Mixed 1.Merchants (Jeannie Dreyer/John Ntuli) 02:29.44 05:22.47 2.Sani Racing (Andrew Houston/Bianca Haw) 02:37.39 05:25.31 3.2Fast2Furious (Wesley Parker-Dennison/Candice Parker-Dennison) 03.06.39 Women 1.Highway Bakkie (Brenda Potts/Sarah van Heerden) 02:51.09 06:08.15
  6. Having built up a healthy buffer after stage one, Andrew Hill and Tyronne White maintained their dominance with another stage win and the overall BSi Steel dusi2c title on Sunday while the Jeannie Dreyer and John Ntuli combination was the strongest mixed combination over the two days of racing. Click here to view the article
  7. Ntuli and Dreyer raced to third place in the mixed category at the 2013 sani2c before claiming the category’s crown at the Berg & Bush two years ago and it is their understanding of and respect for one another that they believe again will stand them in good stead ahead of this year’s dusi2c duel. Now racing for Merchants - a Dimension Data subsidiary - Jeannie Dreyer is relishing the opportunity to race with John Ntuli again at the 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c on 11 and 12 June. Darren Goddard/ Gameplan Media “John is just such a gentleman, even when he’s competing, and he treats me even better than my own husband, Martin, does!” joked Dreyer. “John takes extra special care of me when we’re racing, always letting me hang in his pocket or ride on his wheel when I need to and is just such a great team mate to have.” “Jeannie is a very strong rider and she has taught me a lot when we’ve ridden together as a team in the past,” added an equally respectful Ntuli. “I have learnt a lot from her about how to treat my partner when I’m racing a stage race with a woman, because racing with a woman is very different to racing with a man.” “A woman’s strength is not quite the same as a man’s and so you can’t push her beyond her limit or else they will hit the wall.” While expected to be at the sharp end of the Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon adventure, the race also carries greater significance for the newly sponsored Merchants athletes as the occasion represents their maiden appearance as a combination for the Dimension Data subsidiary. John Ntuli (right) will enjoy the special occasion that the BSi Steel dusi2c is for him when he and team mate Jeannie Dreyer (left) take on this year's race on 11 and 12 June as the pair represent Merchants' Managing Director, George Todd's (centre) company for the first time as a combination. Supplied/ Gameplan Media “We are keen to do the dusi2c together and it will be important for us to push ourselves during the race because we want to represent Merchants well in our first race as a mixed combination for them and to start things positively,” explained Ntuli. For Ntuli, a former member of Dreyer’s husband’s RMB Change a Life MTB Academy and Valley of a Thousand Hills resident, the race is also a sentimental one as he races through his own community while the event holds a special place in Dreyer’s heart as well. “dusi2c is a very unique race for me with us starting at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg, crossing over the river into the Valley of a Thousand Hills and then going right past my doorstep!,” explains Ntuli. “It is very special racing in front of my friends and family!” “I love the Valley and have spent lots of time in it, especially having lived very close to Table Mountain when Martin and I first moved to Pietermaritzburg,” added Dreyer. “The footpaths and cattle tracks make for some incredible riding and the few hills that the race does have are great.” Despite having been dropped by his wife after racing onto the bottom step of the podium of last year’s BSi Steel dusi2c, ‘Dusi Duke’ Martin Dreyer is looking forward to seeing the Merchants pair working together once more and challenging Team Sani’s Bianca Haw and Andrew Houston, who also confirmed their participation this week. “John and Jeannie are definitely podium contenders in the mixed category and I’m sure will have a great race together!” said the seven time Dusi Canoe Marathon winner and avid mountain bike enthusiast. “Bianca and Andrew won the mixed title last year and will be tough contenders again this year, especially with Bianca being a professional, sponsored athlete and a great up-and-coming cross country rider. “John is a fantastic competitor too though and Jeannie is seriously tough so it will be an interesting two days of racing next weekend,” he added. The 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c mountain bike race takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Durban's Blue Lagoon on 11 and 12 June. For more information visit www.dusi2c.co.za.
  8. It has been two years since John Ntuli and Jeannie Dreyer last tackled one of the country’s wealth of mountain bike stage races but fittingly it is this year’s BSi Steel dusi2c from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on 11 and 12 June that will reunite the pair once again. Click here to view the article
  9. What a ride! It is not just the culmination of five frenetic days of racing, but of years of planning and dreaming. Often we attribute the genesis of an idea to a single moment in time, or a specific event. But that's not the case with the Munga. Days, weeks spent on the bike on lonely trails, misty mornings, high up in forgotten country, wondering, sometimes doubting, but in the end believing. My excitement was not just for John Ntuli from the #Change A Life Academy who came over the line first, 9 hours after my predicted winning time, but also for the two Wim’s who rolled in 90 mins before the five day cut-off. John was the recipient of the “Directors Cut’ entry, the person who most personified what the Munga stands for. So for him to win the inaugural race was incredibly thrilling. I shared in their plight, the anguish, the toil in the midday sun, scorching wind, and endless bumpy roads. To see them leave each day in the early hours and push through every type of pain confirmed once again how indomitable the human spirit is. When given the right mix of compelling ingredients, and motivating moments, people will dig deeper than ever before. They will find something else, a little bit more, somewhere, and keep going. This is what the Munga ultimately is about. To the 32 riders who made it to the end, I salute you! You personify the best that is human. You stand as a beacon to the discouraged that anything is possible. In you, random people found new heroes. In a strange kind of way, your journey might just have been the spark to begin their own.Thank you for digging deep! Alex Harris
  10. It’s done. The morning after the inaugural Munga, I am feeling exhausted, somewhat relieved but thrilled! Click here to view the article
  11. The inaugural Maqhwe Mfula Challenge took place in Change a Life territory, in the heart of the Valley of a Thousand Hills. This tough multi-disciplined event includes a 25km trail run, 55km mountain biking and a choice between a further 8km trail run or 8km paddle. RMB Change a Life Academy star John Ntuli proved his sporting prowess as he powered his way to a win at the inaugural Maqhwe Mfula Adventure Challenge that incorporated a 25km trail run, a 55km mountain bike leg and a final eight kilometre run. Kevin Sawyer/ Gameplan Media. Dreyer’s academy displayed its pedigree when RMB Change a Life’s John Ntuli overcame hot and testing conditions to cross the finish line first in the Maqwhe Mfula run/cycle/run Adventure. “Winning the Adventure was great!” said Ntuli. “It’s awesome having a race like this so close to home and although it was really hot, it wasn’t an issue for me as I am training in conditions like that as I prepare for the 1000km Munga MTB race in December.” Ntuli, an experienced multisport campaigner having raced duathlon for Change a Life before the mountain biking team was formed, had a hiccup on his way to winning however his strength and a well thought out plan saw him through. Keeping a steady, consistent pace was crucial and Ntuli managed to find that balance early on in his race. “I chatted to Martin (Dreyer) before the race and we knew that pacing my race was going to be crucial, especially with the temperatures predicted to rise. So when the runners in the team category sped ahead, I stuck to my game plan, conserving and let them go. “The bike was always going to be my strongest discipline so I made sure that I was feeling good for that and I knew that if I went behind on the run I could make up the time on the bike. “I got a bit lost during the mountain bike leg and got frustrated. When I came into the transition I expected to have guys ahead of me but I was told that I was still in the lead which was a nice surprise! “I just put my head down from there and dug deep to the finish line,” the former KwaZulu-Natal Duathlon champion said. Computershare Change a Life star Nhlanhla Cele showed his diverse skills as he won the first ever Maqhwe Mfula Challenge which consisted of a 25km trail run, a 55km mountain bike ride and an eight kilometre paddle over the past weekend in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Kevin Sawyer/ Gameplan Media The RMB CAL Zulu’s continued to shine in the Maqhwe Mfula Adventure as Sizwe Mkhasibe finished second behind Ntuli, his performance highlighted by a gutsy final run after he was battling with cramp during his first 25km effort. Not to be out done by Ntuli, Change a Life paddler and 2015 Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon champion, Nhlanhla Cele, dominated throughout the Maqhwe Mfula Challenge – which substituted the final run with an 8km paddle. With the biggest smile beaming across his face, he crossed the finish line unopposed in first place. The Computershare Change a Life Zulu’s were also amongst the results of Sunday’s Umpetha Challenge, the first seeding race of the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon. The challenging season opener, which finishes on the top of the infamous Campbell’s Farm portage, is a great early Dusi form indicator and with CAL Zulu’s in seven of the top ten pairs, many of the academy will be feeling positive about their early season form. It was a great early season showing from Change a Life's Banetse Nkhoesa, who is teaming up with CAL ambassador and 2014 Dusi champion Sbonelo Khwela, as he got his first big win at the Umpetha Challenge, setting him up for a strong showing during the rest of the pre-Dusi season. The unlikely pair of CAL veteran and coach, Lucas Mthalane and CAL junior Mpilo Zondi managed an impressive third place overall. CAL’s Mthobisi Cele teamed up with Alan Houston to win the Under 23 category, closely followed by the impressive CAL crew of Mmeli Cele and Khumbulani Nzimande in second while CAL juniors Msawenkosi Mtolo and Thabani Msiya were full value as they wrapped up the U18 category. To add to the academy's performances, Sthembiso Masango and Mboneni Ngcobo rode themselves into a top ten finish at the recent FNB Wines2Whales over 1000 kilometres away in the Western Cape. The pair competed against some of the strongest professional riding pairs in the country and finished seventh in the final stage of the race, giving them an all-important top ten finish in the general classification. The other RMB CAL Zulu crew of Bongumusa Zikhali and Mazwi Smimango also managed to get themselves a respectable finish as they ended just inside the top 20 with a nineteenth place overall. “What an incredible few days of performances!” beamed Dreyer. “It just goes to shows how hard work really pays off!”
  12. Whether it be on foot, on a bike or in a canoe the various Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy (CAL) branches made their presence felt throughout KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape with some fantastic results this past weekend. Click here to view the article
  13. MTB captain John Ntuli was the fastest Change a Life Zulu to cover the 65km course as he powered home in fifth position overall, just four and a half minutes behind winner and pro rider Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance). Sixth place Sthembiso Masango was just a further eleven seconds adrift and Bongumusa Zikhali rounded out the top 10 while Ndumiso Dontso (14th) and Sipho Khupiso (15th) aided in the academy’s sublime team effort. These results come off the back of their strong showing at the first clash of the season, the Subaru MTB Classic at Cedara College, where Ntuli (3rd), Masango (4th), Khupiso (8th) and Dontso (10th) again secured top ten finishes. Sipho Kupiso is one of the many RMB Change a Life MTB Academy riders to have put his hand up early on in the 2015 mountain biking season as the Valley of a Thousand Hills setup looks to make a big impression again this year. // Photo credit: Supplied/ Gameplan Media. “I was extremely impressed with the way the guys handled themselves over the festive break, not eating too much Christmas cake,” explained academy founder Martin Dreyer. “They had been allowed to relax and recharge over December but they obviously kept ticking over as they returned to training in great shape!” “They have been hard at work in training and are super motivated to take their fitness to higher levels. It’s great to see the RMB CAL Zulus producing great results so early in the season!” he added. Ntuli’s run of form has been a slightly more extended one than the rest of his team mates after he charged to a hard-fought fifth place in the 369km FNB Desert Dash in Namibia – the longest single day mountain bike event in the world – in mid-December. “John (Ntuli) rode a phenomenal race at the Desert Dash!” said Dreyer. “The race starts at three o’clock in the afternoon and goes through the night so that participants avoid the majority of the desert’s heat.” “John positioned himself well and was third coming out of the final water point with forty-five kilometres to go when he missed a right turn in the early hours and ended up going four or five kilometres too far." “John turned back however two other riders had already gone past and he finished fifth. “Post-race he was understandably disappointed however that’s behind him now and it has been great to see him bounce back at the past two races where he has been our top rider in the RMB CAL Zulu camp!” While marathon racing is what comes naturally to Dreyer’s charges due to the natural playground of big hills and contoured paths that the Valley offers, 2015 will see a slight shift in focus for the RMB Change a Life setup. “This year we’re also looking to try our hand at some cross country riding as the technical, skilled nature of that type of racing will almost certainly contribute positively towards the overall riding performance of our riders.” “It has also been fantastic to have the support of Patrick Morewood this year! “Our top eight riders will all be on his PYGA 650B carbon machines, which we’re really excited about and having Patrick’s knowledge and advice has been a great asset, as he is a true bike scientist!” smiles Dreyer. As the Change a Life setup has grown so too has the level of riders within it, something Dreyer is also eager to address this year. “We trained a lot as a group last year but with varying levels of rider’s abilities, we’re breaking up into smaller groups of similar abilities and hopefully this will see the guys continue to push themselves even further.” This exciting grass roots development project would also not be possible without financial backing and in Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the Change a Life MTB Academy has tremendous support. “It’s great to have the support of RMB! We’ve developed a fantastic relationship with RMB, so much so that on numerous occasions RMB have hosted their cycling clients down into the Valley of 1000 Hills to experience mountain biking in its purest form with the RMB CAL Zulus!” said Dreyer. “Having a sponsor who believes in your cause takes away one of the major hurdles of operating a non-profit setup and for that we are extremely grateful for RMB’s generosity!”
  14. Sunday’s Illovo Wartburg Classic was another successful day in the saddle for the RMB Change a Life MTB Academy as no fewer than three top ten finishers and five of the top 15 bore the colours of the Valley of a Thousand Hills setup. Click here to view the article
  15. Many of KwaZulu-Natal’s top local mountain biking talent will be in action this weekend when they tackle Saturday’s Illovo Wartburg Classic, the opening leg of the 2015 edition of the prestigious Quattro ROAG Series. Click here to view the article
  16. The Wartburg clash sees the series welcome back a number of its top 2014 performers such as triple defending champion Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance), while Tyronne White (Thule), John Ntuli (RMB Change a Life) and 2014 Junior Girls Champion Frankie du Toit (Time Freight) have too thrown their names into the hat ahead of the much anticipated series opener this Saturday 28 February. With a hat-trick of Quattro ROAG Series titles to his name, TIB Insurances Andrew Hill will be back to begin the defence of his title at the 2015 Illovo Wartburg Classic on Saturday, 28 February. // Photo: Supplied/ Gameplan Media. Hill, who has had a busy build-up to the start of the Quattro ROAG Series, will be hoping that he can get himself off to the best possible start in 2015, despite appreciating he will have his work cut out for him with a stiff field expected this weekend. “No matter where you race in KZN there will be a good field,” the TIB Insurance rider said. “There is so much depth in mountain biking in the province that I expect a lot of good riders to have an eye on this weekend’s Wartburg Classic and it is a credit to ROAG that through the ROAG Series, they are able to get top riders out to take part in all of their events.” The year started in earnest for Hill who was overseas competing in the Middle East and then headed home to take part in a few more races before heading into the major part of his preparation for the Old Mutual joburg2c. “I raced in a stage race in Oman recently but managed to get hurt during the race so came home and had to take some time off. I am coming off the injury now though and I’ve raced in a few races locally as I start building up. Having claimed a number of national and continental road titles during the early part of the year, Time Freight's Frankie du Toit will look to start her MTB season and defence of the Junior Girls title at the 2015 Quattro ROAG Series off on a good note at the Illovo Wartburg Classic on Saturday, 28 February. // Photo: Supplied/ Gameplan Media. “The preparation has been good so far and it is a long season ahead for me with a lot of focus going towards the joburg2c this year so I am looking forward to this weekend!” a focused Hill mentioned.The defending Quattro ROAG Series Champion missed out on the Wartburg leg of the 2014 series but rode the track in 2013 and has some fond memories of the race which resulted in a win for him. “In 2013 the course was a really good one and I enjoyed it a lot so I am sure that it will be just as fun this year and the race being a 65km marathon is something that will suit me more. “A lot of the younger guys are more cross country orientated so for a guy like me who concentrates more on my marathon and ultra-marathon racing, the longer distance is definitely going to be a slight advantage. “Everyone’s so strong though so it is going to be tough either way!” a wary Hill added. The Quattro ROAG Series has been an important part of Hill’s season in the past few years and he explains that ROAG have been greatly influential in growing the sport throughout the province and hopes that they will be able to make the sport more popular through their series. “The quality of the fields that are at each event are a testament to ROAG and the quality of the races that are put on throughout the series and you know that no matter where you go the racing is going to be tough! “ROAG has given riders around the province really good exposure for a long time and the series is something that I try and make part of my season every year. “With three titles to my name I think that my name is entrenched in the series which is a huge privilege and hopefully I can continue to do well in the series’ events again this year” Hill explained gratefully. The 2015 Quattro ROAG Series is a nine leg series that sees all of KZN’s top mountain bikers doing battle for the coveted title and the winner’s cheque of R22 000 for both the male and female overall winners. More information can be found at www.roagseries.co.za.
  17. From a modest hut in Valley of a Thousand Hills has emerged a new force in KwaZulu-Natal mountain biking as RMB Change a Life Academy continue to produce results that not only make their founder Martin Dreyer proud but have also galvanised the local community to get behind these young and inspiring men. Click here to view the article
  18. RMB Change a Life Academy mountain biking star John Ntuli backed up his record BSi Steel dusi2c third place - which he clinched with partner Ndumiso Dontso - with an impressive top ten finish in the recent 60km Illovo Marathon, the feature race of the 2014 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge. // Photo credit: Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media Dreyer, no stranger to the Valley of a Thousand Hills having won both the iconic Dusi Canoe Marathon and the Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon seven times respectively, singled out the recent BSi Steel dusi2c as a vital event in growing the academy as well as receiving the recognition the riders deserve following a lot of hard work and dedication. "The Dusi valley is always special for me, personally, because it is a place where I got a little bit of recognition as a paddler,” the Dusi Duke mentioned. “More importantly from the academy's point of view though, it is also special because the RMB Change a Life team operates in the Valley of a Thousand Hills with the team house being down there, so in the dusi2c the guys are basically riding on their own trails and in their own backyard.” "This makes it so close to home and during the dusi2c the guys' parents were out there, seeing this race progress through the valley and that just made them believe in what the academy members are doing because the race gives their efforts a sense of reality within the community. "The locals see such a big race with huge amounts of cyclists and that adds great impetus to the project.” The combination of RMB Change a Life team coach John Ntuli and youngster Ndumiso Dontso who made history when they became the first black pair to claim a podium in a stage race in South Africa when they finished in third place overall at this year’s two-day event from Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon, Durban. "It is just fantastic to get a podium; you get a lot more recognition than if you are in fourth place and you're treated to some prize money! "It is a competitive stage race over two days and it is great for the academy, for the valley and even for the whole country to see these riders coming through the ranks. "We also finished with a total of three teams in the top 10 which is lovely and it gives everyone a warm feeling when they walk away from the race but it also makes the sponsors exceptionally proud,” a satisfied Dreyer commented. John Ntuli is the most experienced rider on the Change a Life team and he and Dreyer have been together for over four years which has allowed Dreyer to observe Ntuli’s career blossom from a solid multi-sport athlete into a renowned mountain biker. "John Ntuli definitely leads by example and has been an absolute pleasure to mentor. "He started more from a multi-sport point of view and he and I did the Cape Epic together in 2012 and finished 54th overall, so he was due to get some good results on the bike and is now reaping the benefits of a lot of hard work and discipline with his training. "Some of the younger guys are now giving John a proper working over if the ride is not too long, between 40 and 60 kilometres and it's great to see the youngsters starting to make their way through the ranks as well. "The guys look up to John as a role model though and when they see him performing, they know that they can do the same,” Dreyer mentioned. Dreyer maintains that the social skills that his riders pick up during stage events such as the BSi Steel dusi2c are vital in helping them to develop relationships outside of their community and mingle with people that they would normally never associate with. "There is a lot more to stage racing. It is not all about racing, like it is with one day races. The dusi2c and other stage races are also about interacting with the other competitors in the race village at night. “The BSi Steel dusi2c provides that exact chance! "Guys from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and guys who own multi-million rand companies all come together in an environment where everyone is equal and you sit at the same table and eat the same food. "Part of my vision for the RMB Change a Life Academy is to get my academy guys to guide people through the Valley of a Thousand Hills and the interaction required during these stage races means their social skills improve tremendously as well,” Dreyer concluded. Sunday's 60km Illovo Marathon, the feature race of the 2014 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge, once again provided the RMB Change a Life Academy with a chance to shine and it was Ntuli who stood out amongst the pack as he registered a memorable ninth place finish amidst a classy elite men's field. Ntuli produced a solid ride to finish inside the top 10 in a race that was eventually won by Kargo Pro MTB team ace and current South African Cross Country champion Rourke Croeser with Trek South Africa's Brendon Davids in hot pursuit and FedGroup ITEC's Max Knox in a close third. More info can be found at www.martindreyeracademy.com.
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