This Off-Road Enduro Motorcyclist Proves It’s Never Too Late To Follow Your Dreams

All it took was hard work and dedication.


Megan Flemmit |

It’s never too late to work towards your passion. Off-road enduro athlete, Piwe Zulu, is living proof of this. “I was a late bloomer in racing terms,” he explains.

Piwe had always been fascinated with the sport, having grown up around bikes. With each race he watched, his desire to join the competition became stronger. But the sport is an expensive one, and coming from Gamalakhe, a township in KwaZulu-Natal, Piwe didn’t have the money to fund his passion.

 

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Piwe wasn’t one to give up on his passion. He continued to train hard hoping that one day his efforts would be rewarded. His hard work didn’t go unnoticed. Last year, at the age of 33, he was offered a full-time sponsorship. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. “Being a professional rider has been a lifelong dream that finally became a reality for me last year and it would not have been possible without sponsors like Herbalife Nutrition as well as my mentors and training partners who believe in me,” says Piwe.

 

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From the start, Piwe tackled the racing circuit head on. He was determined to succeed. To do that he needed a holistic approach to his training. While he spent many hours in the saddle of his motorbike doing technical rides to keep his skill levels up, he also needed to work on his mental and physical stamina.

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“Mental fitness is so important so I surrounded myself with mature and skilled riders who play a big part in my attitude towards the challenge,” he explains.

To increase his physical fitness Piwe found his way to the gym. Here he focused on weight training and spinning to improve his strength and endurance. He also added CrossFit to his regime. “I know this is particularly helpful in extreme enduro races, the pace and combination of cardiovascular and weight lifting simulates that type of race.”

Training hard is one thing. But to fuel his body the right way, Piwe ensured he always ate properly. “Protein is important, and I find that eating a good breakfast is the best way to make sure I get the right amount each day,” he says. “Smoothies and shakes are my best-friend! Staying hydrated is equally important, so I drink lots of water and hydration mixes while training.”

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His training formula has paid off. During his two seasons he had multiple podium finishes for various races. Most recently he completed the Motul Roof of Africa. It’s one of the toughest enduro races on the calendar. “[One of] my greatest challenges was to complete the 2018 Motul Roof of Africa, and I am so chuffed about having achieved this,” he explains. “It was a super tough race, I actually went over my handle bars at one point and needed an hour to recover before getting back on the bike. But I didn’t quit, even though my body was sore I kept my mind strong and I managed to finish.”

 

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Piwe has come a long way since he first started riding professionally. “I didn’t think I would get as far as I have in the racing, so I am still blown away. I am loving every minute.” Beside being able to live out his dream, competing has taught him valuable life lessons. “[I’ve learned] to be humble and keep smiling no matter what life throws at me. That my mind needs to be just as strong as my body if I want to get places.”

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