UKZN Cycling Star Displays her Class
Lecturer and clinical facilitator in UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing, Ms Lauren Snell, excelled at the recent SA National Championship Time Trial and the National Road Cycling Championship.
Snell won a silver medal at the time trial for completing 24.6km in 40 minutes and 30 seconds and a bronze medal at the road cycling championship in her age category. ‘It was a great confidence booster and I hope to go for gold next year,’ she said.
Snell has been cycling for the past three years, starting the sport socially before taking it up professionally. Her training schedule begins around 3am-4am three or four times a week with sessions lasting about two and a half hours. She also trains at the weekends when she extends her stints to four hours.
She says the sport is a great de-stressor. ‘I just love it. It really helps you to forget about everything.’
Snell admitted that one of the most satisfying aspects of cycling was the loss of weight achieved. ‘You can eat as much as you want. It is a great confidence booster and it is great to see that you’re improving and doing well.’
Snell said ‘the sport gives you the opportunity to explore different terrain, meet different people from various demographics, and to see new places that wouldn’t usually be seen from the perspective of a regular motor vehicle driver.
‘There is a misconception that academics do not have social lives. I believe that you need a balance between your work life and home. There are so many things that you can achieve, but you just have to want to achieve them. Being driven by your ideologies, you can achieve things through setting goals. You can find things to justify them, whether it be social, emotional, or psychological.’
The sport does involve the risk of injury. Snell was a victim of a hit and run accident in 2012 in which she suffered multiple injuries, including scalp lacerations and facial fractures.
‘The community doesn’t fully support cyclists. It is a challenge because you are always on the road. The community needs to become more tolerant and the government needs to invest more in cycling and becoming more cycling friendly through designating and building cycling lanes for cyclists,’ said Snell
Snell hopes to compete in a world championship cycling event in Slovenia this year, dependent on sponsorships.
In her spare time, she enjoys scuba diving and hiking.- - Zakia Jeewa