Lynette Burger is the captain of South Africa’s number one road cycling team; the Demacon Ladies. We sat down with her to get to know her a bit better and to find out what her advice to young female cyclists is.
How did you get into cycling?
I only started cycling after high school when I studied Hotel and Catering and moved back to my parents in Randfontein. My friends there got me into spinning classes and started talking to me about riding a road bike and doing races. I then bought my friend’s bike, did my first 54km race with takkies and took third place in the ladies division. Well, the rest is history and now, many years later with lots of race wins and titles, I’m still riding my bike and loving it!
What advice would you give young female cyclists?
You’re never too young to start this sport. Also, remember that it will take a couple of years to get good, so be patient and think of the bigger picture. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Who is your hero and why? Either cycling-related or not.
My late grandmother. She was – and spiritually still is – one of the people that I can look up to. Nothing was ever too much for her, she treated everyone with respect and offered help no matter what. She always had a smile on her face and boy oh boy she could “boogy” (dance). She passed away at the age of 93 but will be in my life forever. She was a great wife to my grandfather and seeing them still holding hands at that age made me smile and showed us what true love is.
What do you love most about cycling?
My freedom! Even though it’s a difficult sport and you have to train hard, I see the sun come up almost every morning (well, not in winter as I get home after my training and it’s still dark), it’s just me on the bike letting go of anger, stress etc. Also, the social aspect of it – you’re always with friends and family.
Where is your favourite place to cycle and why?
I love the Mpumalanga Nelspruit/Graskop area, it’s out of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg and you’re so close to nature. There are great roads to ride and it’s close enough to make a weekend getaway with family and friends.
Bust one cycling myth.
Carbo-loading! You don’t need all those carbs before an event, it more about what you eat the weeks leading up to the event rather than a day or two before. Even though pizza is my dinner the night before a race, ha ha!
What is your greatest strength off the bike?
I am hardworking and dedicated to my family and my work.
What is your greatest weakness off the bike?
Coffee (loads)! Most definitely dark chocolate and – believe it or not – samosas!
What’s your advice on handling stress and pressure?
Deep breath in an out. I have a load of stress working two jobs, being a parent and then still racing seriously, so my bike most definitely helps me. Also, small things like having a coffee by myself to re-look and re-focus on the more important things in life and making the best with what I have.
Tell us something we don’t already know about you!
I love cooking, baking and beach holidays!