Cape Town - Hopefully, after the spiteful south-easterly
tempest that scuppered last year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour - which was to have been
my ridiculously belated first - the only breeze you will feel on Sunday is
that of Hurricane Houwing burning up the course in the most benign of
Well, me and around another 34 999 purposefully-shifting
specimens of humanity, of course.
Don’t shout it too loudly - no, NEVER do that on the preceding
Wednesday or Thursday, it has been sagely whispered to me - but as this was
penned we seemed in for a vastly contrasting corker of a day in 2018.
Manageable temperatures, a wind so lethargic that it can’t
quite seem to settle on a firm direction … oh, how I wish we could just stop
the meteorological clock right here, right now.
Veteran and even not so veteran locals, however, know not to
crow too soon; the Mother City has a mood all of its own, changeable at
violently short notice.
But look, I am pretty amped now for whatever table is set
for us, figuring that at very least lightning ought not to strike twice - how
could this year possibly be the equal of, never mind be worse than, the
I even opted to defiantly round off my training on Wednesday
with a short, intense little spin on Tafelberg Road, where at certain angles
the south-easter was whistling down gullies with great gusto.
Get your fury out of the way now, I taunted it, with some
force of conviction.
Look, for your Average Joe cyclist (my friends are even
saying I may have inched a notch above average, so call me a 50.5-percenter) my
training has been reasonably dedicated and consistent when I have been able to
find the time … a little like last year before the famously cancelled event,
I have become comfortably enough used to Sunday sparrow-chirp
rides of anything between 50-65km duration, and occasionally even matching that
distance on my midweek day off. (I know every bump, every stain, every pile of
glass splinters and abandoned bit of vehicle fender on the road from Mouille
Point to Noordhoek and back.)
That’s roughly two “half-Tours” a week, for about the last
three weeks. So now, I keep telling myself, I simply have to join the parts
together on Sunday … though have you ever watched me, not the original
handyman, try to put two parts together?
I am also not making things too easy for myself: I’ll be
riding my mountain bike (though its light carbon frame is an ally) and haven’t
even got around to the recommended conversion to slick tyres, to the puzzlement
and near-disgust of my training pals Spike (riding, from a pen well ahead of me)
and Steph (er, a wee bit more lethargic and disinclined this year).
But I am also indebted to the latter for effectively
donating me, with the help of the kind Tour media people, his seeding that
isn’t - well, at least not quite -- on the back row of the grid.
Personal time goal? Look, I have a very, very secret figure
in the back of my mind, but I also don’t want to get too cocky considering that
I remain a Tour rookie and, after the 65km mark, I will be operating in unknown
territory (yup, with Chappies and Suikers still to follow …).
Besides, I’m the type who, if creaking a touch at Misty
Cliffs and snacking lustily on fatty, moist biltong and wine gums, might even
take a spontaneous 10-minute break from the saddle to absent-mindedly revel in
the aesthetic and culinary bliss.
But there’s also just an outside chance I will be unusually
fired-up and in fine physical fettle, considering a novel invitation that has
come my way for Saturday.
It is a free pass to the Cryozone Waterless Tech Recovery
Area at the Tour Expo, for a supposedly invigorating pre-session of
In a nutshell, it’s a dry process where you spend a few
minutes in a chamber cooled - I should really have used inverted commas - to
minus 120 degrees Celsius.
I am told it is suitable for cyclists of all levels
(sessions start at R300) and stimulates a number of natural responses in the
body, the benefits including reduced muscle pain and inflammation and increased
Sounds good to me, though my wife had some thoughtful
advice: “Just make sure you are fully defrosted by Sunday.”
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