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Going to the Games – Redecker revved for a great year

redecker

By Mark Etheridge

Last year was tough going for SA mountain biker Cherie Redecker –  in more ways than one!Not only was she getting used to slotting in to life in Germany with husband Heiko, but she had no slot on a professional team.

This year though sees her in a far happier place, having being signed up by the German-based Head Ciclo XC team. And making her even happier is the fact that she’s part of Team South Africa for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

She’s one of two women’s mountain bikers, the other being Mariske Strauss, who competed for SA at the last Games in Glasgow, four years ago.

‘Last season was a challenging but rewarding year, racing as a privateer,’ she tells Team SA. ‘I didn’t expect the move to Germany to be so hard.

‘Nonetheless I had one of my best seasons to date, especially at the European races. With a podium (third) overall at the MTB Bundesliga Series, a second place finish at the Bundesliga race in Gedern, and a 32nd at the World Cup in Albstadt.

‘Through my racing as a privateer I was lucky to meet Thomas Schröder from Head Ciclo XC Team early in the 2017 season. Even though he could not offer me a spot on the team for that year, he still helped Heiko and myself at races. Building a friendship and knowing how well Thomas runs the team, it was only natural to join the team for 2018.

‘HCXC are an experienced team that has a lot of emphasis on team spirit. The other riders are Silas Graf and Nina Benz in the U23 category and Emma Blömeke in the Junior Category. The main focus for the team will be the Bundesliga Series, World Cups for the U23 & Elites riders and the junior series for Emma.’

Redecker, who will turn 29, just after the Gold Coast games is upbeat, and rightly so.

‘Joining a team for the season has given me a new sense of focus and drive. With the help from my coach, John Wakefield and Next Level Fitness, I feel this has been my best pre-season training to date.

‘Now I’m excited to come back to South Africa and race the World Cup in Stellenbosch. I have many great memories racing and training on the Coetzenburg mountain, and the best memory is taking the South African XCO Championship title there in 2015.

‘Of course the South African Championship title is high on the list for this year as well as the World Championships in Lenzerheide and Commonwealth Games.

‘I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Heiko and I took up the adventure and moved to Germany. One of the biggest challenges is not being able to communicate properly in German, although that will change overtime.

‘It’s compulsory for me to take part in the German Integration language course which should end in June with me passing the B1 exam and an orientation course. The course does mean I’m unable to do some training in warmer weather and I’ll miss some races that I was hoping to do but in the end it is finding a balance and making everything work. Being more settled in Germany and being part of the Head Ciclo XC Team, I have a good feeling for the racing season.

For his part, Schröder said: ‘With Cherie the team gained a great personality. It is an absolute win-win situation for everyone, especially for the younger riders who will profit from her experience. With the support of the team we want to provide Cherie with the surroundings she requires to fulfill her potential. The values of our new athlete are shared by the team 100%.’

‘Of course we would love to have the South African champions jersey back on Cherie’s shoulders and therefore in the team. She’s definitely got what it takes to get the ‘stripes’ back.’

Picture of Redecker in 2017 racing action courtesy of Michele Mondini


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