The Sufferfest ACE Lesotho Mountain Bike MTB Team News
August is African Women’s Month and so we are profiling our star woman rider on the team, Likeleli Masitise.
Earlier this year Likeleli became the first black African woman to win a podium spot of any UCI Class race. She managed it twice in the 2014 South African MTB Cup Series, scoring a 4th place at Afriski and 5th spot at Port Elizabeth.
Likeleli first starting cycling in 2012, when the national mountain bike championships were held in her home town of Mohale’s Hoek. She was a surprise winner of the women’s marathon title that year and repeated in 2013 with the Cross-country title. Last month, she romped home to a very big win in the Cross-country championships, thus demonstrating that she is Lesotho’s top woman rider.
2014 could have been very different, if it wasn’t for the intervention of The Sufferfest in sponsoring our team. Likeleli’s bike was stolen on Christmas Day 2013 and as she is from a very destitute family, there was no hope of being able to get another bike. She spent 3 months with no training until the team was able to loan a fairly decent 26” Giant XTC for her.
Since then, she has not looked back and is improving all the time. Getting onto the podium was great, but even better is the prize money that is helping her to support her family. Likeleli has lost both her parents and it is not easy to eake out a living to support her siblings.