So I am pleased to inform you all that my training is on track and it has been going particularly well of late. My nutrition though has taken a less structured route due to a combination of a busy work schedule and preparing food for one (my wife has been in Jozi on business).
On Sunday 9th January I am pleased to say it was the combined longest time in the saddle and distance that I have cycled so far. A lovely 75km road cycle race that doubled as a Lions fundraiser known as Journey For Sight starting from Firgrove Avenue in Constantia. I arrived feeling confident but a little nervous with my previous longest ride having been a paltry 52km. It felt great to be in an organised race again and to have similar minded people to cycle with. When I eventually started the race, at the back with the rest of the temporary numbers I was quite relieved. I was really struggling sitting on my bike for close to half an hour with all my pent up energy ready to start, it felt like an age.
So off we went but alas it wasn’t even 5 minutes into the ride when a gear change resulted in my chain coming off. Cue a quick dismount punctuated with cursing, laughter and slight frustration. Chain back on everything seemed ok and then a sobering realisation, I was literally at the back of the field it was going to be a long morning. Now in my limited experience of cycling over these past 5 months I have learned many things, one of which is that cycling in a peloton (group) is definitely the way to go. It is proven to cut down on wind resistance, conserve your energy all aiding in improving your overall finishing time. Besides it is good to have some company on your ride.
So the ride headed along Spaanschemat Road and then climbed the East side of Ou Kaapse Weg. I have never cycled Ou Kaaps before and it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it would be. A short 3km climb until the summit and then a fast descent down into Sunvalley. From there we turned right into Kommetjie Road that is extremely bumpy (I am not a big fan). The route then took a left after Ocean View heading through Misty Cliffs and Scarborough. Always a nice ride alongside the Ocean as it gives me a chance to check the surf.
As we headed out of Scarborough I managed to pick up with some other cyclists going at a good pace so I began riding in a little group. As we headed out and up towards the gate for the Cape of Good Hope National Park my chain came loose again during a gear change and I had to dismount and re attach it (need to have it looked at). I managed to catch our little group before we began the descent at Smitswinkels into Simonstown. This part of the route felt like I was on home turf as I ride this area a lot during training and literally know every bump, rise and potential hazard.
Our little group started to break up as we picked up some speed and eventually it was just a female cyclist and I. We cycled hard for a while until we managed to catch a group of about 25 riders. From then we drafted with them until they dropped off somewhat as we started the climb just before Boyes Drive. At this point I was feeling pretty good and decided to attack the climb up Boyes Drive and aim to finish strongly. Unfortunately the lady I was riding with had dropped off quite a lot so I decided to just crack on on my own. I love the fast descent from the sharkspotters point on Boyes Drive and flew down there reaching a speed of 72kmh (although I had to hold back because I overtook a car on the inside, not clever!). The route linked back up with Spaanschemat Road and then it was a long flat straight to the finish. I really enjoyed that last section and had a sprint finish with some other cyclists that refused to give me an inch or their position over the last 5 kms. We all high fived and had a laugh at the end as we really gave it horns to the finish and it felt great.
So the end result was a relatively relaxed ride with me feeling fantastic and finishing the 75km route in 2 hours and 45mins.
I never imagined when I began cycling 5 months ago that I would enjoy it so much but the truth is I do! It can be a bit precarious sometimes with our roads; motorists etc but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are so blessed in Cape Town with some jaw dropping scenery and some great undulating roads to ensure a great workout is guaranteed on every ride. It certainly is better than sitting indoors on a stationary bike! Don’t get me wrong though as when winter comes knocking this year I will probably have to resort to spinning classes or a stationary trainer to ensure I am getting my daily dose of exercise.
Until then I am going to get out and about as much as I can and enjoy our beautiful peninsula and the ride, I would highly recommend it to everyone else.