My 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour

On Sunday the 6th of March, 2016 I took part in my fifth Cape Town Cycle Tour. My excitement for this year’s race was at an all time high, having not taken part in the previous two.

Preparation

Only after the race did I see that I had actually put in more training mileage compared to previous years. From the beginning of the year up until the day of this year’s cycle tour, I had clocked up 420 km’s. The 99er Cycle Tour and Tour de PPA proved to be ideal training, even if they didn’t have the more defined climbs of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

The race

Without fail the number one question everyone asks in the lead up to the race is: what is the weather forecast? The weather gods played their part on the day, as I woke up to clear blue skies and nothing more than a light breeze. I made a distinct effort this year to take in as much of the scenery and supporters along the route. It is a great opportunity to ride along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

An early start

Based on previous cycle tour results and seeding events, my start time was 6:50am from group 2D. Any start time before 7am is ideal and I feel for those who start much later in the morning. My girlfriend kindly dropped me off close to the start and I made my way to the primary check-in at around 6:15am. There was a nervous energy in the air, after hearing the starting gun fire for the elite cyclists. The process of getting in to your start chute still feels inefficient. The entrances to the various chutes get crowed by the other cyclists who are waiting to enter theirs.

The first half

Excitement takes over the from the nerves as soon as the starting gun fires. Before long you see (and hear) the first of many supporters you’ll experience along the route.

There was a nasty crash just in front of me after UCT when I last rode, so I was cautious along this stretch. We made it through without incident. As always, the supporters up and along Edinburgh Drive were fantastic. I made a big effort to make my way through the other cyclists ahead of me to get to the top of the climb near the front of my group.

Along the Blue Route highway, as seems to be the norm, a cyclist in front of me dropped their water bottle. As in previous years, everyone in the group avoided it without crashing by some miracle.

Leaving Fish Hoek (Courtesy of Jetline Action Photo)

Before long we faced the first headwinds after we left Fish Hoek and made our way towards Simon’s Town. I recall the group fragmenting along this stretch and I did my best to close a gap and catch up with the riders in front of me.

There was a nasty crash heading up Smitswinkel towards Cape Point. Due to the roadworks which caused the road to be narrower than normal, the group at this point split in half.

The second half

By the time I was making the fast decent towards Noordhoek, there was a small mix of riders from various groups. At this point, I was well on course for my goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes. I had set that ambitious target as I had done it before and knew it was possible.

After the short climb up and over Soetwater, the cyclists had come together and formed a large group.

Heading in to Kommetjie (Courtesy of Jetline Action Photo)

My favourite part of the route is up and along Chapman’s Peak. Not only do I enjoy climbing, but the views are spectacular. It’s also a good opportunity to prepare for Suikerbossie which is the final climb.

Climbing up Chapman’s Peak Drive (Courtesy of Jetline Action Photo)

The Virgin Active supporters had created a brilliant atmosphere towards the top of Suikerbossie. Their music definitely helped me forget about the steepness of the climb and got me to the top!

With more or less 3 hours elapsed, I was making my way down Llandudno towards Camps Bay. By now it had sunk in that another Cycle Tour was just about over.

Feeling the heat on Suikerbossie (Courtesy of Jetline Action Photo)

I put my head down and pushed hard towards the finish, crossing the line a few minutes inside of my goal time.

The finish line (Courtesy of Jetline Action Photo)
  • Official time: 3h26:20
  • Position: 3712 out of 28661
  • Group (2D): 146 out of 484
  • Age: 368 out of 1956

Reflections

Now that I have completed five Cycle Tours, I have to say that this was by far my favourite. Although this was not my fastest, to me, time is secondary to enjoyment when taking part in a fun ride.

I saw more cyclists receiving medical attention this year compared to previous years. So I am definitely grateful to have made it to the finish without incident!

Finally, it was great to have my Mom and girlfriend meet me at the finish. This made it all the more worthwhile. Thanks for your support!

A photo posted by Elze-mari (@nossieroux) on

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