Having started in group 2F at 7:08, it looked like there was a good flow of cyclists into the start area with hardly any congestion. This was a successful change, which was generally welcomed by most participants.
I put in a few decent training rides leading up to this year’s event. and was hopeful in my goal time of 3h30 having not participated in a road race since 2016. Off to a good start and feeling confident on the fast stretch down the Blue Route highway. I worked hard to get across the small gaps that had already formed amongst the smaller bunches of cyclists that had formed by this point. It was surprising to see how fragmented the groups were so early on in the race, something which I don’t seem to recall in previous events.
My experience has taught me to try as hard as possible to stick with the group; especially when they start to split! The pace of the cyclists on the stretch between Muizenberg and Simon’s Town felt lethargic at times and I ended up riding with no one in front of me for the majority of the time. The climb up to Smitswinkel Bay is where most cyclists seem to crack and the road was littered with slow moving riders all over the show. I find myself weaving and winding up there every year, which is a great feeling although somewhat frustrating in that there isn’t much of a group to work with.
The hardest slog of the day for me was on the stretch along Scarborough, past Misty Cliffs and onto the turn to Ocean View. This was followed up by the bit along Kommetjie Road to the Sun Valley turnoff. Again I found myself catching up to smaller groups of riders, or individuals who looked like they were battling. There was some semblance of a 2F group as we headed into Noordhoek and over Chapman’s Peak, but this contained numerous riders from a variety of earlier groups.
With my times for each of the major splits well ahead of schedule, by the time I made it over Suikerbossie, I was well on track for my goal time. After giving it my all over the last 15 or so kilometers, I made it to the finish in under 3h20 which I was stoked with. This was my personal best time, improving on my previous best of 3h23 in 2011.
2018 — 03h19:50 — 3059 out of 26240
2017 — 03h26:20 — 3726 out of 28881
2013 — 03h29:48 — 4078 out of 31666
2012 — 03h40:40 — 5325 out of 29841
2011 — 03h23:18 — 3820 out of 28702
2010 — 03h37:14 — 2375 out of 28035
You can view more information about my results on RaceTec’s website.
There were no fewer than 4 accidents that I witnessed along the route during my ride. One of which was the tragic death of a marshal on the descent of Llandudno after Suikerbossie.
Another two occurred along the M3, the first of which was on the fast descent of Wynberg Hill with a few cyclists down on the road with what looked like painful injuries as we passed by. And the second one a short while later, before the Tokai turnoff. Again there were a few cyclists down and in agony.
And, as is so often the case in my experience, a collision shortly after Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town. There was a screeching of brakes and the smell of hot rubber as a few more cyclists went down ahead of where I was.
I can only put these accidents down to nervousness and loss of concentration. They seem very similar each year and in areas of the route that are not technical, but require you to pay attention—something you should always be doing.
The most important lesson, as an amateur taking part in this event I can share is to enjoy it! Regardless of what your time or position is, take in the scenery, acknowledge the supporters and thank the marshals. It is a great occasion and one to be proud of completing regardless of your performance.
Along with the passing away of a marshal, condolences also go to the two participants who passed away during the event – R.I.P.