Miguel does the 2018 KNYSNA 2 CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR
July is always an exciting month for MyTrainingDay athletes, as it is time for the very popular Knysna to Cape Town Cycle Tour! 4 days, 650km’s of scenic riding along the beautiful Garden Route from Knysna to Cape Town. 3 overnight stays in unique and special towns of Oudtshoorn, Barrydale and Worcester
In its 5th year now, I was fortunate enough to join the Tour this year with 20 fellow riders and support crew, for what was really a great 4 days of riding. I have been asked to share the journey
Day 1- The perfect beginning
Day 1 began with a cold but beautiful morning as we left Knysna and headed for our first overnight destination – Oudtshoorn (136km’s). We were soon greeted by the first challenge of the day, being the rolling hills leaving Knysna and then the Wilderness Climb which definitely woke up the legs. The challenging test for the day lay ahead in the form of the big Outeniqua Pass (800m elevation). What seemed to go on forever, did in fact go on forever and made a lot worse by Kent saying – “I think this is the top”, only to then say, “oh no, I thought it was…” From this point on, we just didn’t listen to him when he said this! The climb was very amusing, as we found comfort in joking and dishing out banter towards each other. Before we knew it we were over the top and it was full steam ahead onto to De Oude Meul Country Lodge just outside Oudtshoorn. If you have not been there, I suggest you experience this tranquil and beautiful place for yourself. The afternoon was spent recovering, eating, laughing and watching the Tour De France together. What a great start to the tour and onto the long day 2.
Day 2 – The Longest Day
Surprisingly, and against our expectations, day 2 started on a warmer note as we began our 191km ride to Barrydale. With this being the longest day of the tour, we just had to look forward to our lunch stop at the Olive Garden restaurant in Ladismith (115km’s). The group was in great spirits as we made our way along the scenic and untouched Route 62. The banter between young and old was certainly flowing. As with tradition from previous years, there is an internal race on sections of the trip between the youngsters (under 30’s) and the older-folk (over 30’s). It is safe to say the “over 30’s” definitely won the first challenge of the tour, being the challenging Huisrivier Pass. A 13km mountain pass with 39 bends, corners and curves (who’s counting). The views as we climbed the pass were incredible and made the struggle a lot more manageable. Over the top and onto Ladismith (Olive Garden) for lunch. Whilst most of us enjoyed a great lunch and a deserved rest before we hit the road again, others saw an opportunity to begin with the tour pranks. I arrived at lunch with a perfectly fine bike and post lunch before leaving discovered a “mysterious” rear wheel flat (it was game-on). Post lunch-stop and onto the traditional stop at the famous Ronnies Sex Shop. The 65km’s to Ronnies Sex shop was a tricky piece with strong head and cross winds, however we soon also realized that the pranks from lunch had gone a lot further, as certain members of the group soon realized that their water bottles had been filled with tea. Let’s just say that Rudolph’s decorating of the Route 62 road, proved that he doesn’t have a great reaction to tea (told you it was game on). After a very welcomed pit-stop at Ronnies Sex Shop, we tackled the last 25km’s of rolling hills to our destination for the night – Barrydale Karroo Hotel. Yet another gem of a hotel in the heart of Barrydale. With a long but successful day behind us, we were treated to a great dinner and special drumming & dance performance from the local children. Day 2 (the longest day) done!
Day 3 – Cruising Route 62
What better way to begin day 3, than with a full spread breakfast next to the fire place! With high spirits and sore / tender bums, we set off on our 156km ride to Worcester (Goudini Spa, Slanghoek Valley). The first only real challenge / climb of the day arrived early on in the morning with the infamous Op de Tradouw Pass. With a 500m elevation, it provides beautiful views of the Tradouw Valley, with the Langeberg mountains in the background. Once again, the “over 30’s” showed their dominance on the tour and took the win on the climb. With a great mornings riding and socializing, the group rolled into Robertson (90km’s), our lunch-stop for the day - Bourbon Street Restaurant. Good food and coffee prepped us for the final leg 60km’s of the day to Goudini Spa. The exciting tradition of day 3 is the sprint finish competition for the “Green Jersey” over the last 3km’s to the Goudini gate. Happy to say that Kent and Neil did the “over 30’s” proud and made sure that for another year the Green Jersey remained with the “oldies”. The group really enjoyed a great evening in the beautiful Slanghoek Valley – 5km leg loosener run, Tour De France, buffet dinner and drink around the fire place. The perfect last night together before day 4 and the finish to our tour.
Day 4 - The Perfect Ending
The start of our final day, could not have been more spectacular, with an incredible sunrise in the Slanghoek Valley. The 130km route to the tour finish - Erinvale Golf Estate in somerset West, included tackling the infamous Baineskloof Pass. We set off towards the pass but unfortunately 25km’s into the ride, we got the call to inform us that Baineskloof Pass was closed due to recent flooding damage. This meant us turning around and re-routing over Du Toitskloof Pass, where we were met with some serious winds. A great battle ensued between Kent (over 30’s) and Riaan + Dylan P (under 30’s) for the “King of the Mountain”. In the end it was agreed to settle for a tie at the top between Kent and Dylan P. Over the pass and the group enjoyed and tail-wind pretty much all the way to the finish at Erinvale. A really great final days riding by the entire group and the perfect end to a special 4 days!
The 2018 Knysna to Cape Town Tour really was an incredible 4 days. Apart from the great riding, beautiful scenery, many laughs and epic moments, I really valued the people I met and the new friends I gained.
It goes without saying that, tours like this simply cannot happen without the support crew which drives with the riders, looks after the riders, feeds the riders and does pretty much everything for the riders. I would like to really extend a huge thank you for both myself and the riders to the incredible support crew!
To Kent and Claire, thank you for putting together another great tour. You left nothing unturned. The best organized tour I have been on and this really does speak volumes for the both of you. So once again a massive thank you!
There is just something about doing the sport you love, in the country you love, with the people whose company you love! For me this sums up the Knysna to Cape Town Cycle Tour perfectly. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be back in 2019 and I hope to see you all there!