The goal of the second Pure Savage Tour de Bootlegger was to share the radness with more cyclists and to quote the words of world traveller Borat, “Great success”. To do this the 180km tour was split into three stages, a Southern Loop, a Nothern loop and an Atlantic seaboard loop allowing people to join for as long as they felt comfortable. We could not have been luckier with the weather, almost no wind and no rain. The team at Bootlegger were on board again to treat all the riders for South Africa’s most awesome coffee ride. The amazing guys at Swift Carbon South Africa came on board for the event to sponsor some awesome spot prizes on the day and some bikes for Savages to roll on for the Tour.
At 7:30, 35 cyclists set off for Stage 1 of the Tour from the Claremont Bootlegger. Some riders looked rather well warmed up and a glance over at a few Garmin screen’s showed over 2 hours of riding already, the Coronation Double Century entries must be opening soon! The route twists and turns through the back roads of Constantia popping out onto the Spaanschemat River road. In true Savage fashion, we managed to split into 3 groups on the road within the first 800 meters. Thankfully a few seasoned Savages marshalled the groups on the road and everyone converged at the Tokai Bootlegger. This was the Tour’s first stop, a quick photo, chat to the mountain bikers about to head off to Tokai, a bite of banana bread and off again towards Kalk Bay.
The size of the group began making the starts interesting, by the time the last person had left the stop, the first riders without trying ended up pulling a De Gendt and Wellens off the front! The Tour trundled through the mist of Kirstenhof and up onto Boyes drive. After adding a little warmth to the legs and some stunning views of False Bay the riders dived down Boyes drive and into Kalk Bay for the first coffee stop at Bootlegger. As the banana bread and coffee came out the banter increased with Reon pointed out Kevin still has not shaved his legs. Once the last flat whites were finished we bounced over the cobbles and onto the coast road. To the confusion of a few of the uninitiated riders, the peloton dived into Muizenberg where we snapped a photo at the smallest Bootlegger store on the beachfront.
Once we started rolling again we had our only fall of the day, going over the infamous bumps in the road at Lakeside a rider, unfortunately, went down. Luckily he was not badly hurt but as he had damaged his helmet we felt it best he hoped into the support vehicle for a lift back to the start of the stage. The tour made its way back up a sleepy Sunday main road. We arrived at Bootlegger Kennilworth to cheers from the riders ready and waiting for stage 2!
After a few quick coffees, some banana bread and awarding Kevin the prize for King of the Mountains for his Nibali like attack on the last kick of Boyes Drive, the peloton rolled down Main road to the North. We made our way past Rondebosch common, through Pinelands and onto Voortrekker road picking up a few more Savages en route who possibly had a little too much Merlot the previous night. We then managed to hit almost every single red light and had some great track stand practice. On our anonymous survey we sent out after the ride Nardus had this to say, “Brendon as jy my weer op die Voortrekkerweg aflê, sal ek in jou bottel piepie.” Therefore there may be a slight deviation in route next year.
As the peloton turned off Voortrekker road and out of the cloud of carbon dust from the constant braking they were greeted by the climb up Polkadraai. The open road and a climb invited a bit of Savageness from everyone. Three groups on the road formed as the tour rolled into the town of Stellenbosch.
After the excitement from the hammer into town, the ice-cold water waiting for the riders was most welcome. After leaving the bikes in the “car park of carbon” the coffee talk kicked off with phrases like “zone 2”, “FTP” and “base” being thrown around while the shop brought out all the banana bread left in stock! Deon was awarded the most combative prize for the stage for getting into the most breaks on Voortrekker road. This may have inspired him a little as when we exited Stellenbosch Deon was on the front into the only headwind the whole day! The only thing that could be heard over his jacket in the wind was a muffled chant of “shut up legs”. As the tour rolled out of Bootlegger everyone grabbed bananas, bars and cokes that were laid out by our soigneur Ben.
The open stretch outside of Stellenbosch with slight undulations was just what was needed to tick off the kilometres back to town. The Savages road really well setting a decent pace on the front into the head crosswind and within the peloton sitting in the wind offering a place of refuge from the wind for those under the hammer. Was great seeing the Savages offering up a pocket or a hand to make sure the group rolled on as one.
Unfortunately one of the instigators on the weekday rides had enjoyed his holiday a little too much and like Pinot at Le Tour, had to climb into the Bootlegger van so close to the end when his legs gave out. This was not the only incident on the stage as one of the ladies had replaced her cleats on the morning of the tour and found out at the traffic light that she was unable to unclip. Luckily there was no damage besides some pride and Christelle our ladies Savage captain became a public leaning post at each subsequent traffic light.
Through all the excitement on the stage, Brendon may have missed the turning on his Garmin and added a scenic detour around Stikland. Nardus didn’t seem to mind as there were very few traffic lights and Calvin didn’t notice as we were not in Greenpoint yet. Having covered almost 140km the diesels in the group started ticking over and pulled us into the Bootlegger in Century City. The riders were met with an incredible spread of banana bread and coffees which were enjoyed and excitement built for the final stage.
The final stage beckoned and the numbers of riders had dropped to half the number that started the previous stage as the early starters peeled off home having clocked up their double centuries. After reminding Marc that he had popped the group set off again for the final stage. Brendon swears he was just following his Garmin but as we headed for the on-ramp of the N1 a navigation correction was made and with a little cyclocross the Savages were back on track! That was until “the Garmin” took them down another cul-de-sac, on a side note, if anyone knows how to zoom out on a Garmin 520 so you can see more than 25 meters ahead, please let Brendon know.
Heading onto more familiar roads the Savages were able to start increasing the banter to match the lactate in the legs. After cruising along an empty cycle lane into town we swung off for a quick photo at the Bootlegger in Salt River, then down the main road to be greeted by Ben at the Harrington store! After a quick refreshment stop and a photo, we were off to the Cape Quarter. On arrival, we very quickly took our now well-rehearsed photo at the store and met the support vehicle which bars, cokes and bananas in the back of the van.
If climbing up High Level road from the Cape Quarter wasn’t already enough of an ask for tired legs, “someone” found a cobbled road that kicked up to 17% that linked to High Level road. Strangely, this also coincides with some more anonymous feedback, this time from Shannon that said, “Really enjoyed the unpredictable nature of some of the route, I have never ridden my time trial bike up a cobbled climb in the big ring before.”
The Savages made their way over High Level road, with a certain lady that had been holding onto pockets earlier in the day now piling on the hurt and dancing on the pedals over the climbs into Camps Bay. The backup vehicle was amazing on this part of the route as it prevented cars from trying to overtake where it was not safe to do so on the narrow roads. We cruised into the Bakoven store and gulped down the waters on offer to keep the legs going unlike some Garmin’s that batteries started to die.
All that lay ahead was an amazing flat cruise back to Greenpoint along the Atlantic Seaboard. Well, this is what Calvin wanted everyone to think. As we approached our morning ride sprint point in Camps Bay, Calvin opened up the taps in Caleb Ewan fashion, taking the sprint just ahead of a lady on an Orange Up Cycles bike. After much laughter, we entered the most demanding section of the Tour de Bootlegger for posing, Sea Point Main road, 4 stores in 4 kilometres.
The first was Sea Point Mall where the Bootlegger is on the 3rd floor, which was nice as Willie was able to clean his shoes on the brushes on the side of the escalators. Strangely nobody batted an eyelid at 4 Lycra-clad cyclists at a coffee shop in the middle of the mall. Next we freewheeled to the Sea Point main road store where the manager for the second year in a row with very little convincing pulled into the photo. The next stop was a further 800m down the Main road the Three Anchor Bay Store, at this point Nardus was no longer getting off his bike for the photos but rather hanging off stop signs.
The peloton rolled into the Greenpoint Bootlegger at 4pm with some big smiles and tired bodies. Ten riders completed the full Tour de Bootlegger this year, including our first two ladies, one of which completed it on a time trial bike. Although we are a little worried her hands may have turned into claws after all the stop and go at traffic lights. The final Swift prizes were handed out at the Greenpoint store to the amusement of the riders. The Steve Cummings award went to Nardus for sitting at the back of the peloton all day. Klyde got the torn pocket award for having the most hands in his pockets all day! The Daniela Ryf award goes to Shannon for completing the full ride on her TT bike!!
Thanks to all that made the day such an amazing success! The riders that rode so well, either sitting on the front or hammering to stay on. The team at Bootlegger, for all your amazing staff, incredible hospitality, delicious food and drink and awesome support van. Thanks to Swift carbon for coming on board with the awesome spot prizes and putting Calvin and Nardus on same awesome Swifts for the day! Lastly to Michelle, Chaz and Ben, that ran the behind the scenes chaos and support vehicles today!
Check out the whole ride on strava here: https://www.strava.com/activities/2570404962