The Namibia Cleaning Chemical Solutions (NSSC) Development Cycling Team is gearing up for the annual Nedbank Desert Dash, set to commence in Windhoek on 10 December 2021.
The mountain bike race is the longest single-stage race in Namibia and beyond, and will see cyclists from over the world taking on the gruelling 393km from the Grove Mall in Windhoek to Swakopmund’s Platz am Meer.
The NCCS four-man team comprises Jan Montshioa, Philleno Sebona, Zarvier Papo and Markernzy Eiseb, while Gustav Basson and Junior de Koe make up the two-man team.
Jacob Kiyola, the NCCS sport director, said their participation in the race is not about the destination but the journey.
“This is one of the biggest races on the Namibia cycling calendar. It’s great exposure for the team on both national and international levels, and we cannot miss such an opportunity,” he said.
The race runs through the Khomas Hochland and the Namib Desert to the Atlantic coast. The adventure does not only take stamina and willpower to compete and complete the race, but it is also about exploring the breath-taking desert environment filled with cactus, grasses and shrubs, as well as steep and incredible downhill runs.
The NCCS team is up for the test, as they have been training regularly, covering an approximate distance of 50km off-road daily and about 150km over weekends in and around Windhoek. In spite of such a daunting task ahead for the team, the sport director is confident they can make it to the finish line.
About their future plans, Kiyola said participating internationally in events such as the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in South Africa, and other competitions on the African continent is the way to move forward.
“We plan to become the first Namibian UCI continental team,” he said confidently.
He said cycling is not only a sport code; it is also good for the heart, which means good health. In terms of the environment, cycling involves no carbon emission, which is a way to protect the environment and society at
In addition, it’s a better transportation system. As part of the way forward to make this sport code a success, Kiyola is determined that cycling needs the vision and optimism to accomplish a goal. In a message of encouragement to the youth, Kiyola urged them to take up cycling from a young age.
In a message to future participants in the competition, Kiyola said: “Know what you want, and go for it! The 393 km from Windhoek to Swakopmund sounds impossible, but you can do it”.
The NCCS Development Team wants to
do more for the community, but lack of funding is a challenge. The team has recruited a few riders between 14 years to 16 years from Katutura and rural areas. Through
this initiative, they provide training and develop cycling skills from a grass root level until the professional level.
To date, Nedbank Namibia has invested more than N$7 million in the Desert Dash.
Nedbank’s commitment to promoting sport started in 1986 when the very first competitive cycling race in Namibia was hosted with just over 80 participants.
Now the largest cycling event on the Namibian sporting calendar, the Nedbank Cycle Challenge – also known as the ‘Greatest Ride Under the Sun’ – attracts over a thousand cyclists annually in all of its facets.