Marelize Horn, 19, the Namibian woman who rode her bicycle into rugby posts in a video that went viral in March, completed a 5km cycle race in Irene, Gauteng, over the weekend, but not without hitting the dirt a few times
“I was really stressed,” Horn told News24 on Monday. “I didn’t want to fall down in the first 200 metres in front of everybody!”
Horn rode the “Jacaranda FM & Tracker Off the Beat ‘n Track” mountain bike trail on Saturday by invitation of the radio station.
“I was up at 04:00 already. The adrenaline and anxiety were overwhelming.”
Though she made it through the first 200m without falling down, her luck soon ran out.
Fell ‘a few times’
“I fell down a few times. The path was quite narrow. In fact, my hips were wider than the path! So I hit a few bumps in the rode, or rocks lying in it, and fell off a few times.
“Each time I tried to fall in such a way as to not damage my new bike…”
Horn was given a sponsored bicycle a day before the event and was quite nervous about riding it.
“At one point along the path there were quite a number of trees. There are no trees in Namibia, so I was taken by surprise when there was a tree in front of me all of a sudden. All I could think was to ‘klap’ the tree out of the way! But that didn’t work – the next moment I was lying in a puddle of mud…
But I got up, and after that, I rode like a boss! I was changing gears and everything.
Horn says she faced many challenges, but the experience was definitely worth it.
“The first kilometre was horrible, I felt like my lung was going to fall out…
Treated like royalty
“But I didn’t come to finish – I came to win!”
Though she didn’t win, she completed the 5km leg of the race and proudly took receipt of her race medal.
Horn says she was treated “like royalty”.
“I was flown [to South Africa] in business class on British Airways. It was unbelievable – a definite first for me!
“They serve you coffee in real cups, not those styrofoam cups, and you drink from real glasses and eat off real plates,” Horn said. “I took videos of everything…”
She was also given riding gear by sponsors, such as a helmet, riding vest and shorts.
“Riding shorts are really weird – it feels like you’re wearing a nappy,” Horn jokingly said.
After completing the race, Horn sought medical attention for back pain and some other bruises, but she had not sustained any serious injuries – despite her altercation with the tree.
Horn says she has no immediate plans to complete another race soon, but that she would definitely be up for it.
“It was an incredible experience. I’ll do it again any time.”