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11 Dec, 2015

Riding all 29 Amashovas!

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Henk Duys (69) completed his 29th Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic this year.

While Team Abantu’s Nolan Hoffman and Team Activate Demacon’s Heidi Dalton fought it out with other elite riders to become winners in their respective categories at South Africa’s third biggest road cycling event, there was another amazing race happening.

This race wasn’t necessarily against other riders or even the clock, but it was against all the elements that might prevent someone from finishing the 106 kilometre Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic.

But 69-year-old Henk Duys, who completed the 29th Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic 2015 on Sunday, 18 October, managed to overcome all the challenges faced by cyclists and became the only person to have finished the event for the 29th year in a row since 1986.

Henk, who hails from Hillcrest, is listed as a green number rider and says that when he first decided to take part in the race, 29 years ago, he was overweight and living an unhealthy life, and needed to make a positive change.

“I have completed a number of cycling competitions over the years and have even been involved in cycling some of the stages of Le Tour de France in previous years. This year alone I have cycled close to 8 000 kilometres,” he said.

For Henk, every year of the Amashova gets better and, year on year, his aim is to beat his previous time - with this year being no exception.

“The ride is never an easy one and is demanding on one’s body, but if you have a team that you are able to ride with, like Westville Cycle Club/Mr Price who I am part of, it makes the ride more enjoyable and you are able to gain encouragement from likeminded sportsmen,” he added.

Boasting four children and 11 grandchildren, Henk was pleased to welcome his son, Michael, and grandson, Lucas, to the 35 kilometre race but hopes that one day they will ride alongside him in the 106 kilometre distance from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.

The Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic has proved to be a race that supports healthy living and fitness and since Henk’s participation in the first Amashova, he has lost a total of 22 kilograms and is fit and living a healthy life.