Last week the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust announced that they would be adding a shorter route option on the Saturday in addition to the 109km version on the Sunday. Many people’s first reaction was that this was a possible change to an institution by adding a shorter route option. Those same people are quick to forget that the full distance route has had to change over time as well with the moving of the finish from Camps Bay due to logistics and the exclusion of climb to Slangkop for safety.
There are those that are concerned that by adding a shorter distance, one will not be able to differentiate between the achievement of an elusive sub 3 on the full and short distance which just does not hold water. The Two Oceans is a prime example where the half marathon has complemented the Ultra marathon over the years, with the half marathon a stepping stone towards the Ultra.
The addition of a shorter route option, opens up possibilities for the many riders that are just not able to compete in the 109km version, like those under 12 years old. This addition would allow a family to ride together the day before the full event on closed roads. This would be great for families traveling in from out of town as it enables the whole family to get out on the bike safely together.
Another person that the shorter distance could cater for would be those that are not confident enough to do a full century ride. There are many that can spin away in spin classes but do not have the confidence to do the full Cape Town Cycle Tour. The shorter distance would allow them to get used to riding on the road and in larger groups and show them they are capable of doing them full version in the future.
Another cool opportunity would be for the bike brands at the expo to demo bikes to riders for the short route or to have activations along the route as the vibe will be a lot more chilled, allowing for more interaction and engagement.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust has not yet announced the planned route but here are some possible route options. Our number one choice would be to start from the Grand Parade, follow the original route out of town and onto the M3, turn off at Rhodes drive, follow this past Kirstenbosch, roll over the Nek and down into Hout Bay, then back to the usual route back to the normal finish. This route is 40km, Strava thinks its 750m of climbing, but we highly doubt this as in the 2017 cancelled Cycle Tour we rode from the end of the M5, through Constania, over the Nek and back to the finish which was 55km and 800m of climbing. This also may be a good option, but does include a lot of road closures and the cyclists would mostly be on the highway compared to beautiful Rhodes Drive.
A second possibility would be to start on the grand parade, head out on Sir Lowry Road, then circle round onto the out bound bus lane to Marine Drive. On arrival at Marine Drive, swing onto it towards town, then slip onto the N1 onto the elevated freeway with views of the harbour and inner city. Once past the flyover, the route would turn right onto Helen Suzman Boulevard, then past the finish line and off towards Suikerbosie. At the top of Suikerbosie I am sure Virgin Active will have Richard high fiving cyclists as they turn around back towards town. The route will then follow the normal Cycle Tour route back to the finish.
Our least preferred option would be the shortened route that we rode in 2015 due to the fires. This route however comprises only highways and still has the fast descents down.
Which of these routes do you think would be best? Do you perhaps have any other route suggestions?