12 Nov, 2014

Aiming at Mission: Vin Possible II


And this little boy’s chances have increased considerably now that he is one of the children at Botshabelo Children’s Home in Midrand, which has been carefully selected by Vin Deysel as his “Ride for a Purpose” charity.

“I wanted to ride for either a children’s charity or a mental illness charity,” explained Vin Deysel, “both those things are very close to me as I know a lot of people with depression or mental illness and children’s charities have always been very close to my heart.”

So 947 listeners were invited to nominate worthy charities and the response was overwhelming, with “hundreds of charity names” suggested. Using Vin Deysel’s criteria, the list was whittled down to a handful and, out of those names, his “Ride for a Purpose” was chosen.

“I think we tend to overlook the smaller children’s charities in this country. I specifically looked for a charity, which wasn’t a ‘fly-by-night’ but that doesn’t necessarily get a lot of support,” explained Vin Deysel.

Although he completed last year’s Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, Vin Deysel’s first association with this 94.7 kilometre-long event started in 2012.

“I took on the challenge without training or anything,” he said, “and got to the halfway point on Malibongwe and decided that I was finished.”

So, for the 2013 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, Vin Deysel created Mission: Vin Possible.

“I made it my mission to lose weight and obviously finish the race. I lost between 10 and 12 kilograms and, together with a whole bunch of mates, we trained specifically for the race,” explained Vin Deysel.

Vin Deysel’s training was pretty “hardcore”.

“We only made about 20 kilometres on the first training ride, but after a couple of weeks, we were doing 60 to 70 kilometre training rides,” he explained.

For Vin Deysel, the training paid off and he finished the race in a shade over four hours, together with his training partners and in spite of stopping no less than three times for media interviews and once for a bottle refill.

“It actually went pretty well,” explained Vin Deysel, “I expected a lot worse but actually it wasn’t that bad.”

Unlike many other cyclists competing in the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, Vin Deysel actually found the N14 wasn’t too bad either.

“The part that did kill me was Heartbreak Hill,” he mused, “it is a constant gradient uphill in the last five kilometres of the race.”

But Vin Deysel found the motivation to keep going from the crowds along the way.

“The cool thing that really spurs you on was the motivation from the side of the road. I never thought that would make such a big difference,” he smiled, “the supporters sit on the side of the road on race day for five or six hours, just cheering you on.”

Supporters definitely recognised Vin Deysel last year, as his kit was branded big and bold “Mission Vin Possible” with the words “Smile Dammit” embellished on his back.

His favourite part of the race, which is luckily still incorporated into the 2014 route, was the stretch through the city of Johannesburg.

“A lot of people don’t go into the city anymore because it is ‘dangerous’ but I don’t think that is necessarily true. There is a lot of upliftment happening in the city at the moment and I think that is really cool,” he explained, “we do have an amazingly beautiful city and riding over the Nelson Mandela Bridge is simply spectacular.”

“Last year, I did it for myself. My thing was I wanted to finish it for me. And, because of my 2012 experience, the last thing I wanted was to ride for someone else, and then letting them down by not being able to finish,” he explained.

So now, with the 2013 finisher’s medal safely in his hands, he has the confidence to Ride for a Purpose.

“Before I found out the route had changed,” he said, “I said I wanted to do a three and a half hour race.”

But this might prove difficult as the route has changed and, according to Vin Deysel, it is now very difficult to compare.

“It’s now a whole new ball game,” Vin Deysel explained, “and this makes it exciting because I don’t know the route but I have been told that the gradients of the uphills in the last 10 kilometres are hell.”

In his own words, Vin Deysel explained that his training “could be better”.

“I’ve had a rough few months and put on a bit of weight thanks to a lot of corporate functions. It’s been really busy because I am a disc jockey and I also work for a record label, so it does get hectic and I didn’t get a chance to exercise. But I have bought an indoor trainer and now spin in the evenings. I’m getting there, slowly but surely and I have found it is a lot easier because of muscle memory. So I just know I’ll be ready,” he explained.

But riders shouldn’t forget to have fun, according to Vin Deysel.

“The Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge is actually about having fun. So I will say that people need to get out there, on their bikes and ride it,” he said, “I am now enjoying cycling more and more since getting into cycling and others can enjoy it too, but they have to get out there.”

Although Vin Deysel plans to have fun during the 2014 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, he is definitely riding for a purpose.

“Botshabelo Children’s Home definitely struck a chord with me,” said Vin Deysel, “because it is for abandoned and orphaned babies and small children.”

Botshabelo Children’s Home, according to Vin Deysel, only take on 15 children because that means that those children will be given the best possible chance, instead of taking on 50 children without having the means to look after them properly.

“They’ve created a home for these children, who range from about a month old to three year olds, so we would like the funds raised for this charity to all go towards the babies’ needs. And that is why I would like donations to go directly to Botshabelo via the website That way I know it will be used for caregivers, toiletries, food and other necessities and not into someone’s back pocket as some charities seem to do,” concluded Vin Deysel.