The Cape Classic 380 is a professional 3-day cycling event for amateur enthusiasts wanting to kick start the cycling season, or use it as a training ride for Double Century or Full Ironman. It consists of 380km of rolling road closures for the entire event, ensuring a fun and safe journey for the riders involved. Limited to only 60 riders, we were lucky enough to be invited as an Embark (triathlon) team to experience this event as part of a test group leading up to the official launch of the cycle event for 2015. Ofcourse, being a sucker for punishment, I participated again in the official 2015 launch which saw the likes of PowerBar, Scheckters Organic Energy Drink and FutureLife come on board as sponsors.
The 3 day route profile looked like this:
The start village was at Montague Hotel where we met each morning at 6:50am sharp for a 7:00am departure. A number of designated ride Captains were part of the Pelotons who were there to help set the pace, ride at the front if necessary and pull anyone who has dropped back for any reason back into the Peloton. I became better acquainted with both our ride captains by the end of the three days who inevitably had to hang back and push me back into the peloton on a few occasions, but as a novice/ beginner, I don’t think I did too badly.
Full professional support was provided each day by two amazing motorbike outriders Saffron and Az from Think Bike, as well as two vehicles supporting and protecting the riders. Mechanical support was available throughout the rides for any punctures and other mechanical failures, which happened quite often to us.
Watering and feeding stations were positioned at suitable points along the rides for refueling and refilling, with all the food being healthy and locally sourced from the surrounding areas.
To create a bit of fun and give the riders a competitive spirit, there were 3 designated Sprint Lines and 3 King of the Mountains Pass finishes at which riders were awarded points and at the end of the event awarded jerseys for King of the Mountains and best Sprinter. We also had the opportunity to purchase a Cape Classic 380 cycle shirt which had our names printed on the back pocket. ( a keepsake for sure)
Day 1: There and Back Again, a Koo Valley Tale
Riders assembled at the start village and rode up the majestic Koo Valley where the formidable Burgers and Rooihoogte passes awaited. The Stage was 144km long and involved a total climb of 2050m. (renamed from Koo Valley to Death Valley)
Day 2: A Cruise around the Breede River
The ride was beautiful and went through the picturesque Breede River valley in a loop from Montagu around Bonnievale. The stage was 98 km (actually 107km) and involved a relatively tame 760m of climbing, although Steph self confessed it was the best ride of her life, I personally struggled off the back of the mountains we climbed the day before. We ended with lunch at Die Kloof Padstal in Montagu for a delicious meal.
Day 3: Historic South Africa
Stage 3 took us from Montagu (founded 1851) through beautiful Ashton (1897), Robertson (1853), Rawsonville and the magnificent Slanghoek Valley (1709), with a mountain top finish at the top of the Mitchell’s Pass. We stopped for a much needed lunch at Opstal, a wine estate and restaurant owned by Attie and his family who definitely made sure we were well looked after. (The chocolate brownie was heavenly) With a tough and hot final leg, we rode 138km with 950m of ascending to complete the tour after which we freewheeled down into the Ceres Golf Club for lunch and prize giving, making this day my best ride of my life!
(our vehicles were driven to the finish by designated drivers to enable us to head straight home after a few victory drinks)
And allowed us to experience the friendly residents and local producers of the Route 62.
A big thank you to Andrew Selby the organizer behind the Cape Classic 380 for a professional and well-organized event. I will definitely be back for 2016.
The event will be held from November 4 – 6 2016, right before Wines 2 Whales and Double Century. For more information visit www.capeclassic.info or follow them on twitter: @capeclassic380, instagram: Cape_Classic_380 and facebook: Cape Classic 380
(Images Courtesy of Nic Muzik)