Article by Tarryn Povey
Physiotherapist, Tour company manager, Dog lover, Adventure craver, Endurance Racer (Bike, Run, Swim, Paddle & &…), Thrill Seeker, Wine Drinker, Explorer (of life and all things tasty), Web designer, Candy E
This year entries for the Coronation Double Century Cycle Race sold out in 13 minutes making it is pretty obvious that the Coronation Double Century Cycle Race is a must do on the cycling calendar!
Date: 21 November 2015
Location: Swellendam High School
Events: 202km Road Cycle (Team of 6-12)
Start Time: From 05:00 teams are set off every 30 seconds
Cost: R7000 per team (12 people)
The Nitty Gritty
Rain, wind and cold, oh and I also got a tan. For me it’s not a real Coronation Double Century Cycle Race if the elements don’t make an appearance. The weather shifted from a light drizzle, to pelting rain, with some heavy wind to add to the atmosphere. Weather is something you accept in an outdoor event. I find that adverse weather makes for a few miserable moments but makes the race and the war stories post race all the more memorable.
I didn’t spend much time at the start in the morning as we were running late – it was your basic setup, high school field with support tents and a massive marquee. I judge my starting venues by if they have: Coffee (because it’s early), snacks (because I would have forgotten them) and cycling specific – a mechanics zone (because knowing me, I will get a puncture taking the bike out of the car). This venue, checked all required items so I was happy.
Starting in one of the first batches made parking a dream, if not a bit muddy. As you enter swellendam there are clear markings to all parking lots and the marshalling is amazing (even at 4:30am).
The Coronation Double Century Cycle Race is a supported race. This means that there were 2 water points, filled with amazing treats like banana bread, marmite sarmies, potatoes and choccies as well as coke, water and the best – piping hot coffee!
There were also 2 designated spots for your “team car” to wait for you. In these area’s you were given a grace period of 30 minutes where you could stock up with snacks, water and basically have a good rest that didn’t count towards your time.
Marshalls and Marking
The route is pretty straight forward and with the local law enforcement involved there is no way anyone is getting lost.
It was always going to be a long day, and the wind did not help, but this route is one of the best road routes that I can think of doing when covering 202km’s. The last time I rode in this area was for the Unogwaja challenge in May of this year and in fact that was the last time I have been on my road bicycle for more than 2 hours so it was pretty fantastic to be back in that place with all the memories that came with it.
Once you are off, you know that in the first 60km’s you are going to hit the dreaded Tradouw pass and Op De Tradouw, but you also know that at the top of it you are going to be treated at the water tables so it’s not too bad. The downhill’s after the pass make all the climbing worth it – we even managed to stop for a bit of down time half way.
From around Montague, things were looking a little dreary when the heavens opened. Rain! Again… (My previous Coronation Double Century Cycle Race was also a very wet affair). I find that as long as your team is in good spirits, the rain is not that big of a deal.
Through that fantastic Montague arch and into the compulsory stop at Ashton meant we were past the half way mark and at any point now we would be making the pivotal turn back towards swellendam.
Vineyard and orchard lined roads with Jacaranda’s sprinkled on the tar was a real sight to behold and it was at this point, around 10am that I was so glad I woke up so early to be at this race (it takes me at least 5 hours to actually wake up it seems).
Rolling hills to finish off the last 60km’s are put in just to make sure you really get your money’s worth and that finish banner at the top of the last little bump is a welcome sight after a long hard morning in the saddle.
What did others have to say?
I thought that the best opinions would be form Coronation Double Century Cycle Race first timers and here are a few of their comments
“It was Rad!, Cold but Rad. I can’t wait to do it again”
“I am so stoked I survived”
“Ask me on Monday”
“God I need a beer!”
I got 2 medals!!
One for completing the race (that cool silver one) and one for finishing as a complete team of twelve.
So, that is where the team aspect of the DC comes in, your 6th rider across the line determines your teams time. This means that of the 12 who start only 6 HAVE to finish. In the top teams this becomes a strategy game, but in us social riders it’s all about getting the team to the end or as much of them as possible. In a mixed team, you have to have at least 3 girls complete the race and this is always pretty interesting as guys will kill themselves getting their girls across the finish line (this includes giving away parts of their own bikes if need be).
[bctt tweet=”guys will kill themselves getting their girls across the finish line including giving away their own bike parts “]
This very much depends on what you are there for – what I absolutely LOVE about this race is that the slower groups start first. This means that even if you are going for a ridiculously social time (9 odd hours) you will still see some of the big names in SA cycling (if you are into that). So you are always on the lookout for your friends that would easily outpace you in a race and you would never see, this race gives you that opportunity. The water stops are always super festive and the team vibe is always a great one. Everyone is willing to lend a hand and have some fun.
Post race – the food was phenomenal, they even had a soup for starters (the way to my heart is always through my stomach, obviously). We all sat under the tent, watched prize giving and had that well deserved beer.
Value for money
Great Marshalling and water tables, a 2 course lunch (with a little drinkypoo), awesome goody bag and a pretty fantastic route. If you are going to be out there for a full day – I would say it’s worth it 🙂
I would just advise jumping in there early when it comes to accommodation, it sells out fast!
The sell-out time for this race speaks for itself. Next year it will probably be even shorter. If you are a road cyclist (which I will never admit to being, no matter what) or just up for a big challenge, have a go at the Coronation Double Century Cycle Race – you will not regret it. Or at least you won’t regret it when your bum bruises go away. 😉
I will definitely be there next year – will you?