Rising mountain biker

Tristan De Lange is a young Namibian biker who is fast becoming a household name.

17 July 2017 | Sports

At the age of 20, Tristan de Lange is a rising star in the Namibian world of cycling.

The 2015 Junior South Africa Cup champion is well on his way to following in the footsteps of professional cyclists like Dan Craven.

Driven by the desire to rise above expectations and to make a name in cycling circles, De Lange wakes up each morning at 04:00 to cycle.

This activity accords him a healthy lifestyle and takes him to places he has never been before.

But his success did not just come overnight.

His father Aiden de Lange inspired him to take up cycling at the tender age of six and at 12 he took part in his first competitive race.

In 2013, he took part in his first major competition, the African Continental Championships as an under-16 cyclist, which he won.

The second-year financial accounting student at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa grew up in Windhoek, where he learned how to ride his bicycle and has since created many cycling memories.

“Ever since I began to ride competitively, keeping in shape plays a big role in my day to day life.

“Normally, before the sun rises, I'm out on my bike to catch the fresh, early morning breeze. That is what I would say is my favourite aspect of riding and training - fresh air, silence in the mountains, and a hot cup of coffee to end the day.”

His love for cycling drives him to promote the sport as much as he can but, stays clear of pushing friends into doing something they do not feel comfortable doing.

De Lange feels it is better to spend his energy on his goals.

His effort earned him a spot at the Junior World Championships held in Norway in August 2014.

The young De Lange also went further to win the Namibian National XCO Championships as well as the U-23 African Continental XCO Championships.

Looking forward, he plans to take part in the recently revived Tour de Windhoek cycling competition.

“Most of my big race results were achieved on the mountain bike as this is my focal discipline. Road biking, however, does play a major role in season preparation as well as keeping things interesting.

“I believe that road biking will pick up in both number of participants as well as level of competition, something which Namibia can never have too much of,” he said.

“The race is very demanding which will make it exciting. There are big names coming in to race in the competition. At the moment I do not know what to expect from myself yet but, I will find out closer to the racing date.”

Even though he currently lives in South Africa because of his studies, De Lange has Namibia at heart and hopes cycling will find a warm spot in everyone's heart.

“What needs to happen in Namibia to improve the culture of cycling is to make every one aware of the benefits it provides.

Roads should also be made cyclist friendly,” he stressed.

“My ambition is to share the love of riding and to help grow the sport in Namibia as well as raise the level of competition in the country.”

Despite the fact that he is pursuing a career in finance, De Lange said riding bikes will always play a leading role in his life.

“Cycling has taught me many lessons.

“What is important to remember is the cliché which says one should always have fun.

“That is what I put emphasis on when promoting the sport in Namibia.

“I will always be a rider before anything else,” he said in conclusion.

Limba Mupetami

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