Emoyeni producing an adrenaline seeking HP intern

A small town outside East London called Emoyeni (Place of the Wind) where a tomato farm produces more than just the produce. Master’s Sport Science student and Maties Cycling Committee member since 2019, Robyn Emslie has her roots firmly sprouting on the family farm in Emoyeni in the Eastern Cape. 

The former Diocesan School for Girls pupil is a High-Performance Intern at Maties Sport and with such a grounded background, Emslie hopes to make an impact not only through her sporting prowess but also her Master’s thesis topic which is investigating the impact of different menstrual cycle phases on women’s cycling performance. 

“I have been an adventurist and adrenaline junkie all my life,” professes Emslie as she recounts her growing-up years.  

“Coming from a family of sports talent and fitness fanatics it was only right to be sent to Lilyfontein School, an adventure school on a farm. I participated in all kinds of sports but when I was 13 decided to make Cross-Country Mountain Biking my primary competitive sport. Adventure racing on all kinds of terrains, school club races, and the 24-hour cycle relay hosted annually persuaded me to push further in cycling.” 

The 22-year-old shares some of the reasons why she loves XCO (Cross-Country) so much, how she got into this extreme sport, and also a brief change in sports – from cycling to tennis and hockey – recounting how far she has ventured since her school days back in Makhanda. 

“You race laps of 4-5km on a mountain with steep climbs and rocky descents. It is all about having technical ability under fatigue. The technical aspect is what kept me in the sport. I love riding over rocks, and roots and absolutely sending it down the trails.  

“When I moved schools, I took a step back from cycling to focus on hockey and tennis but missed the off roads too much. At university, being part of the [Maties Cycling] club helped me fall back in love with mountain biking.  

Emslie continues and reflects on the impact of cycling on her personal life: “I met my boyfriend through the club, and we trained together often. The racing wasn’t as serious, but the gees was. I only got back into proper racing in my fourth year when I took to the road and raced for the Maties Cycling Team in criteriums and road league races. After the road season, I climbed onto my XC bike and decided to try out Enduro Racing. This is my ultimate favourite.  

“You are only timed on the downhills (which might I add are technical, steep, and have big jumps). I won my first Lite race and have since been trying my luck in Full Enduros with more, longer, and tougher stages.” 

The HP Intern has a strong sense of loyalty towards her dad for his sacrifices and how he tackled challenges.  

Emslie continued proudly: “My dad was my training partner and coach. I remember getting up before 4 am back in school days to train. I look up to my dad the most. His passion and determination have always inspired me to do what I love. There have been many challenges for him to face as a farmer and through each of these he has taught me where to look for strength and support. Most of my life lessons, financial advice, initial sports passion, selflessness, and so much more have come from him. I hope he knows how appreciative I am for all he has provided me with.”