Race Day

Woke up at 5 am on Sunday. It was during breakfast that the first signs of trouble surfaced. The race had been shortened to 78km. The announcement was accompanied by this short statement from the organizers:

Due to protest action unrelated to the Cape Town Cycle Tour and damage to the road-surface on the route, the 2017 Cycle Tour will be diverted at Glencairn Expressway and participants will be redirected over Glencairn Hill to Sun Valley and on to Chapman’s Peak.”


We finished breakfast and began the short ride to the start. We were immediately hit by fierce winds and I knew we were in for an interesting day. The start line was right in the middle of the city and the tall blocks of buildings was channeling and accelerating the wind. It was while we were waiting to set off that the starter made the announcement that the race had been cancelled. Sigh. It later turned out that the first groups that started had been decimated by the winds and quite a few cyclists had to be stretchered off the course! Videos later emerged of cyclists struggling to stand and bikes literally flying, so fierce were the winds.

Sad faces at the start of the cancelled race.

The organizers released this statement later:

Based on consultation with all the emergency services, the Joint Operations Centre of the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2017 regrets to announce that they have had to take the unprecedented step of cancelling this year’s 40th Cycle Tour.

This is due to winds in excess of 100km/hour on parts of the route, and the need to urgently clear the roads for emergency vehicles to attend to fires.

Fires raging in Hout Bay, Cape Town

Can you imagine the disappointment? I had flown 11 hrs 30 minutes (at significant cost) to get here along with thousands of other cyclists. There were estimated to be over 5,000 international cyclists, some who were excited to be tackling the race for the first time. All 35,000 cyclists would be disappointed. It was absolutely the right call though. It would have been carnage to allow 35,000 cyclists to race in those conditions. I have no doubt that there would have been deaths if the race had not been cancelled. Kudos to the organizers for making such a brave but correct call.

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I just like doing stuff. Preferably on wheels.

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15 thoughts on “Fires, Protests, 100kph Winds – And a Bike Race

  1. I can totally relate to this as I went out the day after with some other ladies and we were almost blown off the cliff! Totally scary and had to say a word of prayer upon our safe return to town.

    You are hardcore to have gone out that same day! Well done!
    Lovely write up btw.

  2. Now THERE’S a true cycling enthusiast – as well as a brave soul! Pity about the cancellation but great that you can see that it was the right decision. Well done. I’ll be ‘watching’ y’all in 2018 (unless I can develop that upper core strength!)

  3. Full marks for braving such ‘impossible’ conditions.
    Bring on 2018 tour, as I will be cheering you on the sidelines (sipping on a well deserved glass of strawberry and champers)

  4. So glad you went out on the day and got to make the most of it (especially the fact that you stayed upright!).
    Many more amazing rides ahead!

  5. Brilliant write up Akin!

    I especially love the way you took us on that journey with you.

    I felt I was there and could ‘see’ the point at which you stopped considered ‘discretion was the better part of valour’ and wisely headed back to the safety of your hotel.

    Kudos to the organisers for letting wisdom direct their decisions.

    Until the next time …. keep writing and sharing!

    Absolutely loved it!!!

    – Annette

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