This one again 
Heading to Paarl through the mist

6am start in Stellenbosch and a long day ahead of us on our longest Coronation Double Century training ride. Near perfect
conditions, just a little early morning mist hanging
around. Standing in the car park ready to go, Delano
looking a bit tired after a week of honeymoon… while Travis shoves down
some spaghetti bolognese and applies a generous amount of masking tape to keep
his broken shoe attached to his foot.

Team climbing as a unit up Bainskloof Pass

We hit the
rolling hills on the R44 at a decent pace as we made our way towards Wellington
and the start of our first big challenge for the day, Bainskloof Pass. As we
started the climb, Brendon barked the orders, instructing the mountain goats,
Calvin and Delano, to go to the front and set a comfortable pace that would
allow the team to stay together up the climb and keep some energy in reserve
for what lay ahead. The descent was a bumpy ride, but exhilarating

Great Paceline heading to the N1 Shell

At the
bottom of Bains, we turned right towards Worcester and the hammer dropped along
this long flat section, doing wanders for our average speed. As we hit the N1,
we pulled into the Worcester Shell for a quick nature break and refueling,
odometer reading 100km.

navigated our way through Worcester and headed towards Villiersdorp as the pace
ramped up again. Before our next stop, we had to tackle the Rooihoogte Pass
just before Villiersdorp. Lee decided that with the temperature peaking at 34 degrees this was the perfect time to put in a sneaky attack, which stayed away until Travis shouted obscenities at him. Klyde found his climbing legs on the way up, or maybe
he stole Elbert’s…

Same paceline 55km later

regrouped at the top and started our descent into town which brought about our
first and only puncture for the day… Guess who…? 🙂

We filled
up at Shell in Villiersdorp and then proceeded
to make our way towards the Theewaterskloof Dam and the Franschhoek turnoff
when, what felt
like a gail force wind, smacked us straight in the face! From this point on, the going
got tough, 160km in the legs, a proper headwind to
contend with and Franschhoek Pass in
the distance. We toiled away until eventually we started the climb. 

Filling up the bottles as the top of Franschhoek  pass

Once Kevin had pulled over in Franschoek the team powered into the headwind on the R45 gritting their teeth as the odometer ticked over to 200km. At this point people started going into survival mode between turns on the front with frantic swallowing of tablets, gels, fruit cake and funny sachets.  

Team ploughing into a headwind on R45

As we turned onto the Pniel road and with Hellshoogte ahead the group became silent for the first time in 205km. On the climb most of the team stayed together till the top with Klyde having slight rear derailleur failure which Calvin quickly remedied.

The team did really well with two months to go before the Coronation Double Century and we were very happy with our 29.5km/h average over 215km, while making sure we climbed all the passes together. Total moving time was around 7 hours 10 minutes with 40 minutes of stops, which is pretty close to the stops at the Coronation Double Century which included our puncture.

Here is a link to the strava file from this years effort: STRAVA