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  • Mariske Strauss

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Can you believe it’s almost 2023?! Feels like 2019 was yesterday but here we are a short week away from ticking off 2022.


I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the last season in all its glory! It has been one crazy flippen year but we survived, a little battered but we made it through.


It started off incredibly well, I would like to take a moment to thank all the amazing sponsors that came on board to make my racing possible! I stepped down from racing on a pro team at the end of the 2021 season and with a lot of faith set off to create my own little gang of like-minded people. It has been an absolute honor and privilege working and connecting with so many different brands that I truly love and for all your incredible work, I salute you! I am happy to announce that I will be carrying on my momentum with all my sponsors as well as welcoming a couple of new ones. Please go check out who they all are and feel free to shout if you have any questions about them!


So let’s take it from the top; for the first time in probably 6 years I started my season with the grueling Attakwas and boy was it a shock. To be fair it was more of a survival game with temps reaching 52 degrees by 10 am but I made it through to finish in my best position to date. Fast-forward a couple of events to finishing the Absa Cape Epic in 2nd place and a VERY close race in the end, if I do say so myself. Candice and I have some scores to settle so make sure you tune in to next year's race come march. Next, we headed into the XC season and I managed to take the African Continental Champs Jersey in Namibia.


After this, I did an EU trip, with a very tight budget, and I did everything on my own. My plan was to stay in the Czech Republic and do the XCO World Cup followed by a XCO Cup, a short three hours from Nove Mesto where the world cup is held. Unfortunately, that trip did not go as I had envisioned, apparently, I had covid when I raced in the world cup (which I found out after my return home). I fractured my hip at the Czech Cup, thankfully I had really good travel insurance and the help of the amazing event organizer, which helped me get home safe and sound to start my recovery.


The year had just begun so there was no time to waste and getting back to race pace to compete at the commonwealth games was the only thing on my mind. That said, a huge thank you, Prof Jeroen Swart, Cathy Carstens Physios, and Henriette, for her Hyperbaric Oxygen chamber, who helped me get back on my feet and bike to start reffing the engine once again.

After a surprisingly quick recovery, I was back to the grind with Mike keeping me on my toes. But the plot thickened and as soon as I started packing for Commonwealth Games I got a bit of a head cold… or so I thought. Turns out I had covid AGAIN! This all happened within the span of two months!


That was a massive blow but I still believe everything happens for a reason, don’t get me wrong tears were shed but there was no point to dwell on what could have been so the only way was forward and an amazing opportunity came up which led to racing four XCE World Cups and podium in three of them!



Now here we are planning, training, and beyond excited to do it all over again next season! The last couple of months has been a big struggle with issues from my crash in may coming back to bite me in the butt! BIG lesson... never neglect your rehab folks!

Thank you to everyone in my corner, your love and support mean the world to me and I will continue to push the limits and aspire to reach my dreams.


Merry Christmas, a happy festive season, and a very happy 2023 to all of you! Stay healthy and enjoy the rest we all so truly deserve!


Lots of love

M

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