This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be one of the cyclists in an inspiring adventure. Which is why I suggest adding the Cape Town Cycle Tour to your bucket list.
Staged on a world heritage site, 35000 riders take to the roads, on earth’s largest timed cycle race. For locals, the race is referred to as the “Argus” and is a scenic 109 kilometer trip around the Cape Peninsula. Race it or take in the sights and sounds. The choice is yours to relish.
Excitement gathered at the start line in downtown Cape Town. Old friends reminisced and laughed while family members bonded. The sun shone and the temperature was cool. Table Mountain smiled over the Mother City as the sound of the gun set a plethora of wheels into motion.
Spirits were high. From the start, Capetonians lined every kilometer with an array of cheers, sign boards, music, sustenance and humor to keep cyclists in good spirits. If not for the scenery, the people sold this experience as up there with the best of them.
After a good hours ride, the coastline started along the Indian Ocean seaboard. Quaint seaside villages flashed by and the sea waved its crests in turn. Mountains and fynbos stood tall above with scars of the recent fires. The heat was not only in our bums but across sun-scorched peninsula as the midday ride started to take effect. I could feel the burn as if it were a fire I had fought there before.
As with any adventure, there are setbacks so pack your tools and spares. A safety pin managed to bend ninety degrees and stick itself in my back tire. The smiles and assistance from spectators quickly got me back on the saddle and into the most grueling part of this ride.
The famous Chapmans Peak took the first lot of breath from me. I chased my childhood friend Matt up the cliff side road, expending some serious energy. Chapmans Peak snakes its way along the Atlantic cliff faces to a chilly ocean below. It’s venom burning in my thighs, as I took the ascent corner by corner.
What keeps you going other than good gear and a great spirit? A lot of adventurers will attempt endurance challenges with the thought that eating is cheating. Eating and drinking over long distances are crucial. Make sure you have both water and electrolyte drinks as well as food like bananas and energy bars. Your body will thank you, as the very next hill made me question my ability to finish. I chewed on that last piece of energy bar, sipped some re-hydrate and climbed the last and most famous “Suikerbossie” hill.
The summit felt like Everest. For fear of cramping, we rolled downhill. Gathering speed, we lay low to our handlebars trying to clock the fastest speeds that our mountain bikes had experienced. It reminded me of those days on our BMXs on the farm, clocking speeds that rattled our mothers.
As we flowed back down into Cape Town for a photo finish, the spirit of the ride, spectacular views, and cramping muscles were more than the medal that will hang on my wall in memory. I will definitely do this adventure again. Maybe next time have some better gear as my fingers are one of the few body parts that can still function in telling the story.
Check out our cape peninsula ride and enjoy it in your own time here.