With the Cycle Tour only two weeks away, Oli finds the roads in Cape Town packed with riders doing some last minute training before the big day.
WOW! The Fun Ride World Championships are almost upon us. Drivers in the Mother City are gearing up for two weeks of mayhem as Cape Town’s roads are overrun by a multitude of luminous creatures commonly known as cyclists. With riders varying hugely in shape and size, and more often than not dressed in amazingly bright colours, it’s almost as though someone has unleashed a box of Liquorish All Sorts around town.
I’m sure the Joberg riders have all been training frantically, while down south, Cape Townians are only just waking up to the fact that it’s almost time to saddle up on March 11th. This, of course, is in keeping with the lethargic fishing village mentality that Cape Town is famous for… and we wouldn’t want it way other way! Taking this notion a step further, I’d be willing to put money on the fact that groups of Jozie riders are attending night classes to perfect the “hold your line” command. Only joking guys and girls from up north, we love you! Come and spend your money in Cape Town!
After a big training ride last Saturday, I spent the following Sunday out on a long recovery ride with Charlie Boy (aka Charles Keey). He had only just flown home the night before after finishing in 6th place at the first round of the UCI World Cup Marathon Series up in Sabie. It was a great effort, he’s a pinner! FYI, the ultra-marathon was won by our very own Kev Cat after he put in a massive effort to cross the line first. He was followed in 2nd place by the Sabie Gardner, while Cape Town’s Dave George finished in 3rd.
Ok, back to our training ride now. For most people Sundays are usually a day of rest, but in the month leading up to The Argus, that vibe goes out the window. We found the roads littered with every imaginable cyclist (and even a few triathletes!) actively putting the finishing touches on their Argus training plans. In the throng of potential Fun Ride World Champions tearing down Chappies, I miraculously managed to spot my aunt, uncle and cousin (Lynne, Mike and Julia (who I called the wrong name!)). It was a rare sighting as they were on their annual one-and-only pre-Argus warm up ride. Their strategy is a firm favourite among many riders in the Cycle Tour… Pull out your bike from underneath the cobwebs; frantically pump up your tyres to no avail; bombard the local cycle stores looking for tubes, Q20 and any bit of advice that’ll help one up Suikerbossie. Then next on the agenda is kit… cycling bibs cost what!?! I guess my 10yr old kit will do the job, IF it still fits, AND finally it’s on to the critical pre-race warm up ride (often left to the Saturday before) to make sure you are still able to ride a bike. With this checklist ticked… they’re locked ‘n loaded, ready for the Cycle Tour!
Although so much hype surrounds The Argus locally, the cycling world in general does not revolve around our beloved and often harrowingly dangerous Fun Rider World Championships. I have one story, however, that challenges this statement and illustrates the public’s perceived awesomeness of the Argus. So, once upon a time I was at a social gathering (sober of course) when a delightfully pretty girl said she’d been told that I cycle… the convo quickly moved to which races I do and I jokingly said in a nonchalant kinda way that I ride the Tour de France… to which she promptly replied with absolute conviction, ‘but do you ride the Argus?!’ Oh my incredible greatness, this was a moment of utter amazingness! In her defense though, she is out of the cycling loop. But for those of us in it, it was a moment that will never be forgotten.
Ok enough funny business, back to some serious talk. To someone who rides competitively, the Cycle Tour may seem “easy”, however, the 109km route definitely challenges all riders. This is because difficulty is gauged by how fast you ride the given route, which will depend on your ability and level of fitness. It’s all relative! The tour’s difficulty is often exacerbated by the SE which can blow hard enough to push over porter-loos (WITH people inside nogal) as it did in 2009. To complete the race is a great achievement, regardless of finishing time. So to all the Liquorish All Sorts out there, I hope the race/ride/jol, whatever it is for you, goes well… I’ll see you for a beer, or 6, on the grass afterwards!
Oli is currently living the dream as a professional mountain biker, racing for the GT Mr Price squad based out of Cape Town. Keep up with Oli on his blog http://olivermunnik.wordpress.com