Cross-country ace

2013-10-22 00:00

AN unassuming character, Alan Hatherly is most comfortable when in the saddle of his mountain bike, where he is making big inroads on the international scene.

He’s been racing for 12 years, starting with BMX, then doing downhill and, for the past nine years, cross-country.

“It’s something I am determined to succeed at and have no problem making the sacrifices to get to the top,” said Alan. “I know what I want and work at it all the time. No weekend partying and going out for me, but rather quality rest and preparation for forthcoming races.”

Alan was selected for the South African team to ride at the recent UCI Mountain Bike World Champs in Pieter­maritzburg, finishing 15th in the U18 category for the cross-country race. “This was huge for me, to ride against almost 100 riders from around the world. A top 20 finish was beyond expectation and I was the third 17-year-old to finish,” he said.

Earlier this year, Alan was in Italy to ride at a round of the World Cross-Country Championships. It was an experience that opened his eyes to the status of the sport overseas.

“It was my first time riding overseas and I am definitely better for the experience,” he said. “The course has a reputation for being the hardest in the international arena and I can vouch for that. It was incredibly steep, best described as straight up, straight down.”

Alan trains six days a week, fitting his routine into his day after school. “It’s what we call the base season now, where all the major events for the year are finished and it’s time to build up for next year.

“I do gym work and participate at motocross and enduro riding, which strengthens the upper body. My goal is to be selected for the junior Olympics in China next year and my dream is to be part of an international team and ride overseas.”

It’s not only on the dirt that Alan excels. Last Sunday, he took on his first Amashova, having a go at the main 106 km race.

“I was up with a breakaway group until 22 km, just after Fox Hill, when I got a puncture,” he said. “I sorted that out, but was way off the pace. I still gave it my best until the 66 km mark, near Hillcrest Hospital, when I had another puncture.

“I had only taken one spare tube so that was my race. I couldn’t go on, but will be back. I enjoyed racing on the road and found it more team orientated.”

Alan also won the 45 km Hill to Hill race from Cato Ridge to Shongweni this year after numerous attempts. “I’ve had plenty of bad luck in the past, but have finally got the monkey off my back this time around,” he said.

Focus and determination is paying off for this young cyclist. With a mature head on his shoulders, he knows what he wants. “It’s about sacrificing to succeed and putting in the work,” he said.

Name: Alan Hatherly

School: Hillcrest High School

Grade: 11

Age: 17

Sport: Cycling, Mountain Biking

Achievements: SA Team for UCI Mountain Bike World Champs; selected for KZN from age six;

Italy in 2013 for a round of the World Cross-Country Champs; seven-time SA Cross-Country Champion in age group

Hatherly Lifestyle

Enjoys wakeboarding at Inanda Dam.

Is keen on motorbikes and wants to ride next year’s Roof of Africa.

Is an X-Box fan.

Favourite game is GTA V.

Loves seafood.

Doesn’t play a musical instrument but enjoys electronic, teenage music.

Likes movies, particularly those on motorcycling and bike riding.

Hatherly Moments

Most memorable was finishing 15th at the World Cup in PMB and being the 2013 SA Junior Cross-Country mountain bike champion.

Scariest moment was breaking his jaw when doing downhill riding. Lost 10 kg in a week and was on a liquid diet for four weeks.

Role model is the late, great Burry Stander.

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