Just four-years ago mountain biking was simply an exciting hobby for 18-year old Mia de Villiers. She only jumped onto the saddle sporadically, and seldom took the sport seriously. Fast-track just a few years and she’s a budding MTB rider and a Spur Schools MTB League Rising Star.
“I started riding with my dad, just as a pass time. It was fun and I enjoyed it, especially when I had some free time after netball,” Mia says. But before long, MTB went from being a hobby to a sport she grew to love so much that she has fast become an avid rider with an “absolute passion” for the sport and a participant of the country’s largest cycling programme – the Spur Schools MTB League. In 2016 Mia scooped first place in the Western Cape leg of the race and 5th place in the national final.
Mia, a matric pupil at Paarl Girls’ High School has big dreams, and one of them is to participate in the Absa Cape Epic. To-date Mia has earned the Western Cape XCO champs title in 2016 and third place at the 2017 SA XCO Champs series.
“I truly believe that if you can dream it, you can do it. It just takes hard work and a bit of sacrifice, which involves early mornings to train, and packing in some extra hours of study time later in the day. The reward is great, so it’s all worth it,” Mia says.
But there’s a lot of work to be done for the 2018 League season, and Mia’s already packing-in a rigorous 6-day a week training programme to ensure she stays fit and on top of her game. “Last year was very difficult, I took a nasty fall and broke my wrist and I was forced to park my bike for a long time. But the accident taught me resilience and to never give up on my dream,” she says.
Mia says she is most proud and adds that it demonstrates that young girls really can enjoy and excel at MTB. At this year’s Spur Schools MTB League, Mia hopes to qualify for the final in Magaliesburg in October, as well as obtain her Western Cape marathon colours.
Ever since Mia started to participate in the MTB League, she has worked hard on getting the school involved in the league and now there are quite a few riders from her school participating.