CYCLING is not often considered when one thinks of slimming and trimming but it has re-energised and given a new lease on life to one Nelson Mandela Bay mom.
Until nine months ago, Elzabe Boschoff had never cycled in her life but now she is preparing for one of the most stringent tests in endurance – the Ironman SA triathlon and has, as an added extra, dropped three dress sizes as well as the dead weight of extra kilos along the way.
Boschoff co-wrote The Heart of An Ironman, South Africa with Dr Marietjie van der Merwe, an inspirational book on the ultra-marathon, which was released last year.
Rough is an apt word to describe her very first few months taking on the open road on her bike but she said her perseverance is finally starting to pay off.
"When I bought the bicycle last July, I couldn't even cycle but I was determined to do it. I fell three times that day when I bought it. I have always been sickly and unhealthy. I have asthma but after I wrote the book, I got a trainer and decided to do the Ironman.
"Since I started riding the bike I've had 15 lung infections, three anaphylactic shock incidents, two broken toes and I had a bad fall but this has been an incredible year and I have learnt so much and, after spending years being constantly sick, this is my new normal," Boschoff said.
Not only is she beating the bulge, but her new found passion for cycling and getting fit has rubbed off on her family and friends who now join her on her weekly cycles.
"I've never really been too worried about my weight but I was a size 14 bordering on size 16 but since I started, I've dropped down to a size 10. I always have more energy and I am really happy.
"The cycling has really had a ripple effect on my family and our friends. We've bought my two girls and my husband bikes and on Sundays we take relaxing rides for about 20 or 30km and our friends join us. It really has had a fantastic positive effect on the people around me as well and people can see the results," she said.
Boschoff said that with taking on the gruelling triathlon she will be breaking new ground in her life.
"Because I run my own business, I have taken a three-month sabbatical to train for the Ironman race. I ride four times a week and the rides vary in intensity and distances.
"Cycling has definitely given me a better state of mind and a positive outlook on life and how to tackle difficult situations. I would really say that it's like a good anti-depressant.
"This is my first Ironman and I feel incredibly excited because I feel like I've put in the hard work. I've always been a crazy supporter for the participants of Ironman and I've always been there to cheer them on at the finishing line. This will be like breaking new ground for me because I will now be on the other side as a participant."
Ironman SA will be held on Sunday April 14. The Vodacom Corporate Triathlon Challenge will be held on Saturday April 13, with Irongirl SA taking place on Friday April 12.
ýThe Heart of an Ironman, South Africa is published by Meyer and Meyer Sport and is available at a cost of R340 at Bargain Books stores or the Ironman SA website's online shop.