My childhood introduction to the Cape Town Cycle Tour began with sleepovers at the Grandparents in Fish Hoek, year after year, to watch my parents come whizzing past in the massive packs of cyclists. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to join them.
This year I will be taking part in the 40th edition of the world’s biggest timed cycle race. I will be completing my 6th Cape Town Cycle Tour (with last year being a breeze – wink wink) and I’m looking forward to all that race hype. My first ride took a whopping six hours, so I’ve spent my fair share of time in the saddle (affectionally known as TITS) and I’ve learnt a few useful (bum-saving) tips along the way.
Cape Town Cycle Tour Tip No 1: Don’t Skimp On The Pants
Probably one of the most important lessons that I learnt the hard way: good pants make the ride. Make sure you invest in a good quality, comfortable pair of cycling bibs. These could be the difference between completing the tour or pulling out 30km before the finish. A happy bum makes for a happy cycle, so spoil yours with a decent pair. I will be riding in Ciovita ladies bib shorts.
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Cape Town Cycle Tour Tip No 2: Love Thy Bum
While we’re talking bums, another lifesaver is chamois cream (or bum cream). Make sure to apply to all those sensitive areas. Trust me, you will know if you’ve forgotten this. We’re talking saddle sores and chafing. Ouch!
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Cape Town Cycle Tour Tip No 3: Hydration Station
Make sure your drink enough (water, that is) the day before. Make sure you drink enough just before you race. And definitely ensure you stay hydrated during the race – 109km out on the road is sweaty work and if it’s hot you will definitely be losing lots of fluids so replenish, replenish. I usually take two bottles with me, one with water and the other with a little Tailwind endurance fuel. There are water points along the way, but don’t rely on these – rely on yourself and your bottles. There is no worse feeling than running out of water.
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Cape Town Cycle Tour Tip No 4: Sunscreen
I’m terrible when it comes to sunscreen and, for that reason, I almost always have a cycling shorts tan, most times accompanied by glove, sleeve and sock lines. You will probably acquire your own collection of tan lines on the 11th of March, but sunscreen will save you from some nasty burn. Your body will already be tired and sore after the race, so added redness is NOT recommended.
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Cape Town Cycle Tour Tip No 5: Fuel Up
Along with all that water, you need to make sure you eat enough to keep going. If you wait until you feel hungry, it’s usually too late. Keep munching and make sure it’s nutrition that you’re use to. I remember experimenting with GU’s and new Chews on my first Cape Town Cycle Tour and feeling sick for most of it. Lesson learnt: stick with what you know. Also what works for your cycling buddy doesn’t necessarily work for you, so don’t feel pressured to follow their lead. If date balls give you that extra kick, then stick with them.
See you on race day, covered in sunscreen!
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