Chapmans Peak, arguably the tour’s most iconic section, was closed to traffic. With dense brush on either side of the mountain pass, the other alternative, Ou Kaapse Weg, was also deemed too much of a risk.
A Drastically Shorter Route
In the end the Cape Cycle Tour was chopped from its original 109km down to a paltry 47km. The final route a there and back along the M3, which many immediately dismissed as dismal.
(However in spite of the naysayers, the ride proved a huge success.)
After our final training ride Sporty and I were emphatic. We would NOT be riding the Cape Town Cycle Tour. But then we heard that the Tour would be ridden in honour and support of the many brave souls who risked their lives to keep these fires at bay.
How could we not participate? Especially when we heard that they’d called it the Show You Care Solidarity Ride.
Race Day (and the Cycle Tour We’ll Never Forget)
The thing about Cape Town is that when her reputation is on the line she invariably pulls out all the stops. Sunday dawned bright, sunny and blue skied. Even the mountain looked as if someone had scrubbed it the night before.
And to think we very nearly didn’t ride what has since been dubbed the Cycle Tour we’ll never forget.
It was crazy busy out there, but not as mad as we were expecting either. The event was slickly organized, with bunches of cyclists herded into starting pens and sent off at regular intervals.
We saw a couple of nasty crashes (I guess that’s to be expected), but when you consider the sheer volume of people on bicycles of every shape and make imaginable, the number of casualties was remarkably small.
We followed Sporty’s cyclist friend’s advice and stuck to the left hand side of the road at all times. This meant dodging the odd well-wisher and dealing with teenage boys who felt that passing on the left was an acceptable way of getting ahead, but for the most part kept us out of harm’s way.
The supporters were out in their droves and made the ride that much easier for us, especially at those points where things got a little tough. Let’s just say there were more than enough hills on this route, so having a crowd of strangers cheering us on really helped.
Our time was abysmal; to put it in perspective the winner completed the out and back circuit in 1:01:49. The first lady home wasn’t far behind, with an equally impressive time of 1:17:52.
I have to say though, while they may have been more than three times faster than us, I wonder if their enjoyment factor was anywhere close to ours?
Will we do it next year? Right now we’re both on the fence, but leaning towards doing it. Okay fine, we’ll definitely be riding. See you there!
Race Day – Stats
Time: 3.20 (including numerous pit stops, one toilet break and some pushing)
Destination: The end of the M3 and back again.
Enjoyment Factor (out of 10): Gazillionteen at least!