Retired Honeydew cyclist encounters the Liberty Waterberg


Three years after his official retirement, ex-professional cyclist, Neil MacDonald, got back on the saddle alongside his brother, Ewan, in the Liberty Waterberg Encounter mountain bike race.

MacDonald, whose professional cycling career spanned a lengthy 15 years, said he looked forward to the challenge presented by the 172km three-day, multi-stage event near Bela-Bela which ran from 9 to 11 June. He was not disappointed as he said it was an excellent experience with awesome trails, excellent food and great company.

Neil and Ewan MacDonald are all smiles after the 172km race. Photo: Supplied

The Honeydew resident admitted that he had lost some of his form since retiring.

“It’s amazing how much you lose, but the competitive spirit is still there. When the wheel gets on the start line, you’re going to do what you can,” he said.

MacDonald added that it was the first time he had participated in an event where it was not about the time or result, it was purely for the enjoyment and having the opportunity to ride alongside his brother in his brother’s first multi-stage event. The race was a family affair as their father was part of their support crew. MacDonald added they did have a good finish on stage two, which they were ‘quite chuffed’ with.

MacDonald had done a number of multi-stage events in his career but he said the Waterberg Encounter was not for the fainthearted, as there were lots of rocky sections, small steep climbs, thick sand and superb single track sections.

His motivation for returning to the competitive scene was that he was given a complimentary entry by Wealth Solutions Capital, where he is employed as a full-time financial planner.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Liberty for the entry and Jamie Taylor from The Office Guru for supplying us with a vehicle and team kit,” MacDonald said.

He was not sure if he would compete again soon but it did give him the urge to possibly compete at a higher level if the opportunity arose.

ALSO READ: Pro cyclist Neil MacDonald retires after 15 years 

Amy Ingram

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