Hey Holla: Q&A with Sandy van Rooyen

This month we talk to longstanding Holla member Sandy van Rooyen

What initially drew you to mountain biking, how long have you been riding for and how did you become such a dedicated member of Holla Trails?
My husband bought us bikes in 2009 and we used to just ride up and down Durban promenade until I was introduced to AmaAngels and Ian Wilson in 2012.
From my first day riding at Holla the bug had bitten and Holla and the Angels became my home and family. 

What advice would you give to other ladies who might be considering taking up mountain biking? Is there any groups they can join?
Doing a skills course to start always helps, find a friend to ride with. Just do it!
It always impresses me how many ladies have done just that. The AmaAngels was such a great way to be introduced to mountain biking, being coached along the way, meeting like minded ladies and having such incredible

We know you enjoy the social aspect of riding. Can you share some memorable experiences or connections you’ve made with fellow riders on our trails?
I have had so many fantastic adventures over the years, the most memorable experiences being the first time doing a particular trail or the first time overcoming a specific single track challenge.
– The Bull drop on Pink (although I think the chicken run requires more focus).
– First time clearing the ramp on Pink – the corkscrew ramp and the drop in the Red forest and the new skinny bridge!
– Clearing the rocky turn on Maroon. Too many to mention!
Every section has had its challenges and one by one overcome.
Most rewarding feeling is getting your mates to follow you through and master it  the first time!
I’ve loved the races held at Holla because you have an opportunity to experience a completely new section or ride contraflow so it feels new.
I’ve made long lasting friendships within the groups I ride with and great partnerships in races within and outside of Holla. Long may it continue. 

What do you think makes Holla Trails a special place for mountain biking?
Holla Trails has so much to offer. There is a trail for everyone from beginner to experienced. The farms and forests are beautiful and a great mix of gravel Jeep and single track climbs and speed. Great facilities await you after the ride. The coffee social being a compulsory part of the ride! 

As a loyal member, are there particular trails at Holla that you find most enjoyable, and why?
I’ve ridden all the trails and would have to say that Green is my least favourite. Purely because I thrive on more of the single track so Pink, Purple and Red would be my go to for choice. When there is more time and if I’m feeling stronger then Yellow is beautiful. 

How do you go about encouraging others to join you on rides and fostering a sense of community among mountain bikers?
I prefer a group ride where all are welcome so I’ll will put a note out on where I’m going so anyone is welcome to join. I believe in supporting our local races and events, so will always share the post to encourage others to join. It’s right on our doorstep and always fun! 

In your opinion, how has mountain biking contributed to your overall well-being and fitness?
For me mountain biking is addictive. In the best way! Besides maintaining fitness it’s about feeding your soul. Exploring our surroundings and being one with nature. 

Are there any specific events or initiatives at Holla Trails that you’ve found particularly engaging or fun?
I’ve done most of the cycling events at Holla, whether they be races charity or social.
From really fun Spring Day or Women’s Day rides where everyone is dressed up to something like the North Coast Challenge race, which was a challenge but really great trails and after vibe. 

In what ways do you envision continuing your mountain biking journey at Holla Trails, and what would you like to see in terms of future developments or offerings for riders like yourself?
I am not a racer. Just your average Weekend Warrior and would like to continue mountain biking for as long as I am fit and able. If not then continue on an e-bike!
There is no better way to explore trails and country than on a bike. I would like to see a regular guided group ride offered at Holla especially for beginner riders.
Beginners become regulars. Regulars will develop more advanced groups. And the Holla family will grow!