Cape Town Cycle Tour 2016 and the I Play Fair Team
‘Twas the night before the race and while all about me was peaceful and asleep; I was cursing and fuming over having to fix the puncture on my road bike for the THIRD TIME – and with zero kilometres between. Why Murphy…why?!?
I finally got to bed at 12:30am after residing myself to the fact that I’d have no choice, but to use my mountain bike on the 109km course. After a panicked call to my local cycling guru Aiyaaz, he explained that I was probably dealing with a rogue spoke puncturing the tube and his advice would be to tough it out on my mountain bike instead of dealing with countless punctures during the race.
So after a quick bike check, I got my kit ready, shaved my legs (mandatory, unless you want skeef looks from the other cyclists 🙂 ) and tried to sleep before my 5:30am wake up.
It was my second Cape Town Cycle Tour and I was once again representing the I Play Fair ZA team to raise awareness of the values of drug-free sport and living a healthy lifestyle. With reports of more and more cyclists being found doping, I donned the jersey proudly to bring light to the risks associated with doping.
It was also my first full Tour as last year a shortened course was necessary due to the fires that raged across the route – hopefully, those two 40km rides with coach Luqman were enough to get me to the finish unscathed
Time to Race
The vibe at the start was electric as the participants lined up to face the mission ahead. My plan for today was to take it easy and to stop every hour to munch a racefood bar and pop a cramp block – the aim was to finish comfortably while still being able to walk the next day 🙂
After the all-important pre-race selfies, we were off up the N2 and onwards to the first real climb at Edinburgh Drive. All along the M3, I kept a lookout at my rear tyre which was looking a bit flat. I pulled over at the drinks station for my first bar and cramp block and headed over to one of the bicycle shops along the route.
Me: “Hi, can I use your pump?”
Bike Shop Guy: “It’s R10 a pump”
Me (in my head): “That answer would sound amazing if he said it in Afrikaans”
Needless to say, I used my own mini-pump and set off towards Simons Town.
Winding along the False Bay coastline is really something. All along the route of the Cape Town Cycle Tour it seems like you are looking at postcards sent from someone’s vacation in Cape Town.
The toughest point in the race for me was the climb up Smitswinkel and I welcomed the drinks station midway up. From there to Misty Cliffs were some of my most mentally challenging kilometres on the whole route – I think that I’d hit a bit of a motivation low, plus the butt chafe was not helping either 🙂
Once you head through Scarborough and take the turn towards Misty Cliffs you will be rewarded with one of the best views on the planet…
My spirits lifted here and it was helped along by a fellow rider pumping Eye of the Tiger from his cellphone lol.
With my mind now back in the game, my focus turned to Chapman’s Peak.
The start of the Chapman’s Peak climb is the worst part. At the midway point I heard that little voice in my head say,
My bru, you are not walking here or anywhere on the rest of this race. Beast mode on!
That’s when I dropped my gear and just pedalled like there was no tomorrow. Very soon we were heading down towards Hout Bay and flying along the sweeping bends.
The gees and crowd involvement in Hout Bay is perfectly positioned to help ignite that flame of defiance against quitting. With the cheers of the supporters beckoning, each participant realised that this was our race and that final climb up Suikerbossie was not going to win – whether in granny gear or not 🙂
And yes, I trapped that granny gear for all that I was worth!
Once atop Suikerbossie, the ride into Camps Bay took on a whole new meaning. Luqman and I’d done a couple of practice rides out along this route and the familiarity gave me even more confidence to keep pushing all the way to the finish.
And push I did, finishing in a blaze – I think there was smoke coming from my quads 🙂
The Cape Town Cycle Tour is probably one of the best events on the Cape Town race calendar. The vibe, the supporters, and the city – it’s definitely a bucket list item that everyone should try and tick off.
I rode proudly in my I Play Fair ZA kit and by the number of supporters on route shouting, “Say No to Doping” I knew that awareness was raised.
With my medal in hand and a new cycling tan on my arms and legs, I was ready for that victory ice cream 🙂
Have you completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour before? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.
For more information about the SA Institute of Drug Free Sport check their website out here
Also, go ahead and like the I Play Fair initiative’s Facebook page and pledge your support to this worthy cause