Racer blog: Tiffany Keep – In the Zone


Just like that, we’re already halfway through 2019. June has been an action-packed month, full of racing and exploring new places. 

“In our cycling journey, it’s important to learn to celebrate the small victories – the stepping stones which help to propel us further towards our long-term goals. This month I got to relish the small victories after many hours of hard work and focus, as well as a few harsh learning curves along the way. 

My first race of June turned into a steep learning curve for me; after getting lost and missing out on what would have been a memorable victory at the 60km Karkloof Classic: in my opinion, one of the best marathon races in SA, containing some amazing singletrack and proper climbs to get there. Instead I had to suffice for a third place overall after my 6km detour, and chose to use the frustration to fuel the fire for the following XCO races.

Luckily for me, one of my good cycling friends, Cameron Wright, who just happens to be an ex-World Champ in XCO, has been out visiting South Africa for a while – being able to train with someone who is both faster and stronger than me was truly beneficial in the lead-up to the various races this month. 

The final two rounds of the SA XCO Series at Cascades, on a punchy, fast and technical track, were truly breakthrough performances for me. Finally, I was back where I knew I could be in an XCO race. I raced the short track on the Thursday leading up to the double-header rounds, and really enjoyed myself, finishing second lady overall. I think this discipline should be introduced into the national circuit in South Africa, in order to prep riders racing at Elite World Cup level, where short track is a standard. And besides, who doesn’t enjoy the experience of absolutely annihilating themselves in an all-out effort for twenty minutes at a time? 

Needless to say, Saturday’s XCO was one of my best – I just felt like I was in the zone and focused the whole race – all the pieces fell into place and I finished off 4th Elite Overall! On Sunday I suffered slightly from the previous day’s effort, but still managed to pull off a solid race, finishing 5th overall. All in all, a very successful weekend on the bike!

This month’s racing was rounded off with a scenic trip to Knysna with my team (Valley Electrical Titan Racing) where our team camp took place, tied in with racing the Knysna Oyster Festival on the weekend too. The racing went very well for me: managing back-to-back wins in both the 54km MTB event on Saturday, as well as the 116km Road Race on Sunday. More importantly, though, it was good to spend some time with my teammates (a great group of people), exploring a beautiful part of the country by bike and collecting some new content along the way! More to come on that soon, but for now, I’ve got some big goals to chase – the hustle never stops!” – Tiffany