Munga victory, life-changing feat

2015-12-15 06:00
RMB Change a Life MTB Academy ace John Ntuli claims a career-defining win at the recent 1 070km The Munga mountain bike race from Bloemfontein to Wellington. Photo: supplied

RMB Change a Life MTB Academy ace John Ntuli claims a career-defining win at the recent 1 070km The Munga mountain bike race from Bloemfontein to Wellington. Photo: supplied

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JOHN Ntuli’s historic victory at the inaugural 1 070km 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 underlines a core ethos behind the RMB Change a Life MTB Academy.
Gracious and humble, Ntuli’s knack of adapting to a relentless, determined competitor when put under race conditions, has fittingly seen the man from KZN’s Valley of a 1000 Hills develop the nickname Ngwenya – Zulu 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 69:10.
“John's Zulu nickname is Ngwenya, the Crocodile, because he is resilient, tough and 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.”
With victories in the latest Triple Challenge and recent Maqhwe Mfula multisport races as well successfully tackling the 369km Desert Dash in Namibia in 2014, Ntuli drew confidence from both his training and strategy prior to the Wednesday, 2 December 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.
“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 happy, but so tired that when I got off my bike I was swaying backwards and forwards,” said Ntuli.
- Supplied

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