The 2017 Cape Classic 380 is three short months away and while South Africa is locked in the midst of winter the promise of longer days, warm weather and superb riding is just around the corner. Entering the three day road tour, which takes place from the 27th to the 29th of October, will provide some much needed inspiration to keep the pedals turning and the wheels rolling through the final weeks of winter.
The Cape Classic, now in its third year, is based in the historic hamlet of Montagu; from where road riding options abound. The first stage is a 139km long, out and back route, from the Montagu Country Hotel into the Koo Valley. The stage takes in the imposing but beautiful Burgers and Rooihoogte passes, but on fresh legs, with ride captains setting the pace, the passes are sure to be among highlights of the three days of riding. Stage two is the shortest day at 108km long and takes in many roads that Coronation Double Century riders will be familiar with. The river roads along the sluggish Breede River are lined with flowers, while vigorous spring growth abounds in the vineyards, thereafter the Boesmanspad follows the valleys in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains before riders return to Montagu via the Cogmanskloof Pass. The third and final stage traverses the Breede River Winelands and the scenic Slanghoek Valley on its way from Montagu to Ceres. The stage has seen tail winds push the peloton along in both previous editions and with the prevailing spring wind blowing steadfastly from the South East riders can once again hope for an easy final day.
Though the 380km total distance across the three days may be quite daunting the Cape Classic is by no means a difficult event to complete. The riding is social, with ride captains setting the pace for the peloton and helping riders who drop off to get back into the group. There are daily sprint and king of the mountain hotspots though, where riders can challenge themselves and their competitive fellows for bragging rights and prizes at the conclusion of the event.
The water points and daily lunch stops are set up near the hot spots to allow everyone to regroup before setting off once again as a peloton. In addition to the road captains and dedicated medical team road safety is maintained throughout by the Think Bike marshals. They ensure that riders can concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than worrying about motorised traffic.
The entry package to the Cape Classic also includes mechanical support during the stages, a personalised Cape Classic cycling jersey and mid-ride lunches daily. With the field limited to just 60 riders the accommodation options in Montagu are not stretched to capacity but it is advisable to book early to ensure a luxurious stay and to take advantage of the special Cape Classic rates at the Montagu Country Hotel. For more information and online entries please visit www.capeclassic.info, or like the Cape Classic 380 Facebook page and follow @CapeClassic380 on Twitter.
Photos by Nick Muzik