The “new” Cape Classic 380 was held in Montagu over 9-11 November 2018. Although originating some four years ago, the event has evolved and is now owned and organised by Cape Cycle Tours, Craig Edwards’ cycle tour operation.
The founder’s ethos of the event has been retained in that it is primarily a social ride for like-minded people, with some racing sections within each day to satisfy the competitive desires of some of the event stalwarts, of whom there are a growing number.
PowerBar sponsor nutrition, leader jerseys and vehicle support and Risk Benefit Solutions (“RBS”) provide the event insurance, TT Prizes and other equally important vital supplies in liquid form.
Whilst the riding may be social, it doesn’t follow that it is an easy weekend away. Participants needed to prepare for 380kms over 3 days and 4000m of climbing, in and around spectacular scenery. The event has become very popular with the ladies, 52% of overall entrants and almost 60% on Stage1! It is also popular with many triathletes who use the event as something a little different in their training plans for upcoming triathlons and Iron Man. Other riders use it as training for the Coronation DC.
Day 1 saw riders gather outside the Montagu Country Hotel in fine weather for a 100km out and back ride up the beautiful Koo Valley. Two challenging climbs lay ahead, Burgers Pass (960m) and Rooihoogte (1,234m), but in between a new competitive section in the form of a 7.5km time trial.
Riders left town with a blue light escort of which a Presidential cavalcade would have been proud, thanks to various local SAPS offices coming to (or for?) the party. Colin van Zyl of sponsors RBS won his own time trial with an impressive average speed of 52.9kmph and the maillots à pois (climbers jerseys) were won by husband and wife duo Liam and Mandy Somers. From the 1,234m high point, a rapid descent followed to the lunch stop at Oupa Batt se Winkel, before returning at a rather more leisurely pace to Montagu town.
Day 2 was the Queen stage, a 160km loop including a competitive climb of the Tradouw Pass to decide the overall climber’s jersey and a non-competitive but still challenging climb up the relentless Op de Tradouw. The day dawned with low cloud and cooler temperatures for the riders. The first Points jersey race section, took in the last of the “3 Sisters” rolling hills on the R60 before Swellendam, sometimes referred to as “the Mother-in-law” climb.
A tactical race over the 14km saw some French teamwork succeed to bring Joel Maclou first over the line to take the green Points jersey for the day. Alisha Myers from Ohio, USA and representing World Bicycle Relief took the line for the ladies jersey. On the climb of Tradouw Pass, Ride Captain Jarryd Haley of East City Cycles showed the peleton who was boss by riding away from them on a gravel bike. Ever sportsmanlike he sat up towards the top to let Liam Somers take his 3rd win in a row and returned down to help other riders up the climb. Liam’s wife Mandy again took the climb to secure their matching jerseys.
Lunch at Joubert Tradauw at 110km was followed by everyone going at their own pace up Op de Tradouw and then SAPS re-joining us to lead the peleton back into town.
On Saturday evening, as part of the entry package, a stunning braai was held in the garden of Mimosa Lodge, where the day’s winners were presented with jerseys and miscreants fined.
Day 3 – badged as “a Cruise around the Breede” saw a more relaxed peleton knowing that a relatively flat day awaited them. Maybe it was flat, but it was spectacularly beautiful with the jacaranda trees in full flower and the canna lilies and roses in full bloom putting on a magnificent show on the outskirts of Bonnievale.
Then a 14km race section saw the French duo in cahoots again to deliver Manny Fourton to the line with some great team work to beat Liam to the overall green Points jersey by just one point. Taschyana Hurter took the ladies to pip Mandy Somers to the overall jersey, again by just one point. The final climb to summit Remhoogte saw some exhausted faces at the top, gallons of water downed and ladies putting slabs of ice down unimaginable parts of their clothing. Here “boob ice” was christened and trending as it was passed around between them.
A fast descent to Ashton before re-grouping to cruise back through Cogmanskloof for the last time to arrive at a champagne reception and prize giving at the Kloof Padstall.
Ride Captains Craig Edwards, Jarryd Haley and “Atlantic” Steve Attwell of Embark Training put in sterling work throughout the weekend in supporting the riders. Legendary Think Bike duo Az & Saffron Hendry were their usual awesome selves, medical support was provided by Sune Trollip of EMO and mechanical support by Rikus Le Grange of Melkbos Cycles. Massage was provided by Nathasha Theron of Transforma Life. Tony Pushman was the ride organiser and Directeur Sportif , ably assisted by wife Hazel as safety officer and logistics
Feedback so far has been unanimously positive:
“I don’t think that I have been on such an organised ride….”
“Won’t miss next year for anything….”
The event website will shortly be refreshed with the 2019 event details.