Cherise Taylor (USN) topped off a dream month of November for her by winning the women’s race in today’s Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge. In day in which plenty of South African cycling history was made, Taylor certainly played her part. She became the first female cyclist to win both the road and mountain bike events that form part of the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge weekend.
Robyn de Groot (MTN-Energade) finished second in the women’s road race with Marissa van der Merwe (MTN-Energade) in third.
Getting back to Taylor and the month of November; on her birthday, which was on the 6th of November, she got the surprised of her life when Burry Stander, South Africa’s top mountain biker, asked her if she would marry him.
“I think Burry was not sure what to buy me for my birthday so he bought me an engagement ring. Jokes aside, it was actually so romantic how Burry went about doing everything before he asked the big question.”
Taylor had no hesitation in agreeing to become the future Mrs Stander. Both Stander and Taylor made it clear that there are no immediate wedding plans. Their first priority is to try and qualify for the 2011 Olympic Games in London. They both represented South Africa at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Winning the Cycle Challenge is a big highlight in Taylor’s career. “I have been trying to win it for such a long time, but in each of the previous races I botched things at a crucial moment. Today, in the final few kilometres, it all boiled down to perfect timing. Fortunately, for a change, I managed to do everything right.
“If you had asked me before the race how I felt about winning I would have said I don’t think it’s going to be my day. At the start my legs were feeling dead.
“The first serious climb was also not good for my confidence but luckily, as the race progressed, I got stronger.
“This Cycle Challenge was definitely one of the most exciting because there were constant attacks. Everybody was trying to make the racing and that I believe it was a great advertisement for women’s cycling.
As to winning the mountain bike race, Taylor just laughed. ”I really didn’t expect to win. I entered because Burry was also was competing and I only wanted to enjoy myself.”
For further information on the Cycle Challenge and its subsidiary events log onto www.highveld.co.za