After returning from the Garden Route 300 in Knysna, I spent 2 precious days at home before boarding the plane to Cape Town for the ‘mini’ Cape Town Cycle Tour.
My visit to this scenic part of our country would include a whole lot more than just participating in the race itself. At the beginning of the year the Discovery Health medical scheme introduced a new running and cycling club to its members named Team Vitality. This newly formed community has various benefits, one of which is having access to their exclusive VIP hospitality tents at any of the events on the Team Vitality race calendar.
As Discovery Vitality’s fitness partner, Garmin was invited to experience the début event on their Calendar, which was the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
Team Vitality activities included a Cocktail Party on Friday night to welcome its members. This was followed by a picturesque 2 hour bike ride along the coastline on Saturday morning and on Sunday Team Vitality’s activities concluded with a hospitality tent near the finish where riders could relax, refuel and share war stories. This is a unique and fun concept from Discovery Vitality as its members get to interact at events, share in a vibrant team spirit with a very professional setup whilst being outdoors and active. I really enjoyed being part of Team Vitality during the Cycle Tour and by joining in on all their events I certainly got a much richer experience from the Cycle Tour.
The race itself took place on the Sunday morning and was shortened from its original 109 km format to only 47km, due to the tragic fires which raged through Cape Town’s south peninsula in the week leading up to the event.
Standing on the start line in anticipation of our 6:17am departure, it was nice to see the shortened route hadn’t dampened the lively spirit of the Cycle Tour. After the usual choiring of WHOOPLA from fellow participants, we set off to tackle the out and back route on the M3 highway. This year the ladies were given their own starting batch which made for a much safer finishing sprint than at previous editions, but unfortunately it also made for very slow speeds. I tried to animate the race as best as I could with repeated attacks and even got to test out my sprinting legs at the finish. I slipped across the line in 5th place which was a pleasant surprise, especially considering my sprinting abilitiesJ. Lynette Burger took the victory on the day with Cherise Stander and Maroesjka Matthee finishing behind her in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
It’s been a while since I last stood on the start line of a Cycle Tour and it was great to see that the event is still as energetic and popular as ever. A thought that crossed my mind as I made my way to the start on Sunday morning was that I’m very happy to be riding and not organising 34 000 people into their starting chutes. A big well done to the organisers for hosting such a big event despite the challenges they faced earlier in the week.