HARARE – If yo love something and you are good at it, fight.
One way or another, someone is going to come along and find you.
That has been the difference for Nkulumo “Nkust” Dube whose stars aligned as a 21-year-old before hard work and determination saw him rise to become Zimbabwe’s road cycling and mountain bike champion.
Only seven years ago, Dube was convinced his destiny lay in maintaining and repairing vehicles.
After all, how could a township boy afford the hefty price of an aerodynamic bicycle whose value easily runs beyond five-figure price tags?
Dube would, however, soon change his perception after being invited to a club race in Bulawayo where he pushed veteran cyclists into the shade.
A few months later, he was on the radar of national team selectors and was duly selected into the Zimbabwe road cycling team that represented the country at the 2011 All-Africa Games in Maputo.
His dominance of local events is, however, still to translate into international exposure, largely due to lack of funding to travel for international assignments.
“I have not been able to buy my own bike since starting off when Lee McNab gave me his own personal bike,” Dube tells the Daily News.
“That bike probably cost $ 1 500. Cycling bikes can cost you up to
$10 000. I have been lucky to have people support me; it’s ironic that I am national champion who does not own a bike,” he wittingly remarks.
In the midst of all his shortcomings he appears not to show signs of waning, driven, in part, by the benevolence of retired Zimbabwean cyclists.
“It has never been easy and will never be easy going to war unarmed no matter how trained you are. I think I have personally forced Linda Davidson into early retirement from cycling because of the love and care that she has for me,” says Dube who juggles his time as a cyclist and being in the Zimbabwe National Army.
“She has been my source of strength since 2015. In every event I have participated in, Linda has always made sure that she brought a bike to spare her athlete and now I am national champion.”
The Addicts Cycling Club athlete is also giving back to the sport in his own small way.
In 2015, he introduced advocate Phiri to the sport and he turned out to be a revelation after stunning many at the national road cycling championships but could not be crowned champion as he was unlicensed.
He finally claimed national honours at this year’s Under-23 men’s road race held on July 2, edging second-placed Andrew Chikwaka and Thomas Claasen into third.
Determined to improve, the 20-year-old has been racing in Botswana.
Curiously, he borrows money to travel to Botswana and then uses his price money to pay back the initial debt incurred.
He does not seem fazed by the hard odds he faces in a sport that is yet to find full appreciation in Zimbabwe.
And at 20, the Entumbane-based athlete’s story is just beginning.