By Taruberekera Masara and Josiah Mucharowana in Pretoria
Zimbabwe’s eleventh Province ( Diaspora) continues to unearth gems in the sporting field,the latest being Pressmore Musundi an MTB rider who has hogged limelight in South Africa posting second seed ranking on African profiles (black).
Musundi who races under the Trialwolf Lions Club has been a revelation since he was thrust into the MTB world in 2016.
To date he has won several awards in local 947 Cycle Challenge races and participated at the elite Cape Epic race in 2019 where pulled an incredible outing.
Musundi like many Zimbabweans in South Africa,illegally skipped the border as a 14 year old from rural Chiredzi East,Chief Gudo area to find a job.
When he got to South Africa he got employed as a gardener by Lionel Stieler,who gave him a bike to ride to and from work. It was then that guys from Pretoria South Lions Club realized that his riding was somewhat special.
The club asked him to join with the goal of transforming him into a Pro.
While at the club he slowly clawed up from being an amateur into a trailblazer Pro earning him a an MTB contract with Trialwolf Lions Club.
Musundi joins TrialWolf Lions club
The 26-year-old’s outing raid in the Cradle of Humankind was an exhibition, one that will surely be remembered as the first time he announced himself to the world.
Musundi won a time trial and received a Momsen MTB that would spur him into MTB world of champions. Trialwolf Lions Club took the gamble and included him in their team.
There were shades of legendary Louis Armstrong – that feeling he was riding a race all of his own – and the parallels with the precocious American bike wizard were underlined just a couple of hours later when it was announced he’ll be heading straight for the Cape Epic with TrialWolf Lions club.
Musundi , according to Clint Guthrie of Pretoria South Lions Club from the word go was “something special”.
“He stood out for us from day one with great attitude,speed and humility” he said
Guthrie added that despite his natural ability as a mountain biker, the bike he used the Geneses TX10 26 inch mountain bike was a setback to his abilities.
It was then that the club would organize a time trial race on 30 October 2016 whose price was a winner takes away Momsen MTB,Musundi finished first and took the bike.
The mind of a champion: Cape Epic 2019
In hindsight, everything he was doing on the road was pointing to his exhibition at a grand platform.
The Cape Epic race of March 2019 was to be.
Musundi lined up at the Cape Epic mountain bike race as a novice at one of the most gruelling MTB races in the world.
The race had over 650 teams,with 18 000 participants.
He competed in the Cape Epic with team mate Shaun Oosthuizen,for 8 gruelling days the duo crossed the line at position 108 out of 650 teams and 64th overall out of 280 Men’s team.
“It was my career highlight an experience – one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,”
“I had only turned pro for about 18 months and had only done one race before on a single track- everything was new. But in the race l was strong,even stronger than my teammate who had experience” he said.
When Musundi took his first race under the Lions Club stable in June 2018 at the Nissan Trialseeker in Halzeldeen Pretoria plenty of people told him that his exploits would get him far.
This would further be proved on 19 November 2018 when he won a silver medal in the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge.
He put up record time at 2 hours 47 minutes,for 947 Cycle Challenge using a loaned 80s race bike.
In October 2018 Musundi competed against 18000 riders in a 94.7 Cycle Challenge crossing the finishing line as athlete 170 in the field which was a massive feat.
Musundi would take his exploits to the Bridgestone Route 66 MTB Experience in February 2019 crossing the line a bronze medalist.
The Bridgestone even became a qualifying race for Cape Epic race which was staged the following month,March where he rubbed shoulders with the world’s best.
Musundi has bemoaned the pandemic for disturbing the routine they had been enjoying.
He said after the pandemic lockdown his first race was tough,he crossed the line as 31st raider in the Nissan Trialseeker at Sondela,in October 2020.
“We struggled a lot with our fitness,we trained hard to get back in shape after months of lockdown, it was very tough” he said.
Covid 19 also saw the cancellation of the Cape Epic 2020 where he was pencilled to ride.
” I was on standby for the 2020 Cape Epic.l was very excited and l was at the airport the cancellation announcement was made,it was disappointing to hear” said Musundi.
Plans for the future
According Musundi the feats he has enjoyed so far are just a precursor to more.
“I want to push more,improve my cycling. I am doing well yes,but I can do better. For the Cape Epic l am setting top 50 target and for the next Nissan Trialseeker l can go beyond top 20 or even 10.
This is the story of “The Irrepressible Pressmore” as in the words of Regarbt Botes Mountain Bike Plus journalists and commentator.