Don’t train like crazy in the last few days leading up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour. A total of four hours of easy cycling during the final week, with a last light training session the day before and a light, carbo-loaded breakfast two hours before starting time, is the best thing to do.
Here is a list of last-minute do's and don’ts for cyclists ahead of the Cape Town Cycle Tour:
What you shouldn't do
- Leave it to the last minute to do anything major on your bike - cycle shops are simply not going to have capacity for anything tricky. If you've trained with it, you're going to have to ride with it.
- Try and fix the back/knee/ankle problem that had been troubling you - it's too late to make any significant improvement.
- Train like crazy. Too many extra kilometres and hours will have the opposite effect of what you're hoping for: you may be fitter, but you'll also be depleted on race day.
- Climb Chapman's Peak for the first time, at speed - if you're going to climb it for the first time this week, do it very slowly - or in a car. In fact, if you haven't climbed it before, rather wait until the day unless you are a very strong cyclist.
- Eat nothing but carbohydrates between now and the ride.
- Get drunk the night before the tour.
- Leave picking up your race number to the last minute - particularly if you live in Cape Town.
- Buy new equipment/clothing this week and use it on the ride - only ride in tried-and-tested clothes on a tried-and-tested bike.
What you should do in final preparation
- Ride for about four hours this week – all easy rides, with just a small amount of sprinting.
- Do your last ride on Saturday - an easy ride (no more than one hour) - using the same kit you will ride with on Sunday.
- Prepare yourself mentally for the ride - know that you will relax and enjoy it.
- Check your splits on the C Cape Town Cycle Tour website - it will give you a good idea of where you have to be and when, in order to achieve your target time. Be realistic.
- Pick your race number up in good time.
- Try and have an early night on Friday - you will sleep better than you will on Saturday.
The night before: the checklist
- Make sure you have adequate amounts of your favourite carbohydrate drink - put it in the fridge or the freezer the night before.
- Decide what you will take to eat on the ride, and pack it into easy-to-access bags.
- Include suncream sachets
- Pin your race number on and lay out your cycling clothes for easy access in the early morning.
- Make sure that your start and finish cards and your transponder are with your clothes.
- Put your helmet, gloves and sunglasses out at the same time.
- Check your bike - including pumps, spare tubes and puncture repair kits.
- Don't go to bed too early - you won't sleep.
- Make sure you know your starting time and when you need to be in your shute.
- If you are starting late, make sure you know which roads are going to be closed and when, so that you can get to the start on time.
- Programme the medical emergency number into your cellphone: 021 434 1199.
On the morning
- Eat breakfast about two hours before your start. Eat mainly carbohydrates, and keep it light.
- Apply sunblock just before you leave.
- Take something to eat and drink while waiting to start - again, carbohydrates in both the food and the drink.
- Stretch while you wait to start and try to sit down until you have to go into the main starting shute.
On the ride
- Keep to the left if you are nervous
- Look in front of you at all times
- Drink enough water, but don't overhydrate
- Enjoy the ride!
- If you need to bail out, move to the side of the road and wait for the sweep vehicle, or stop at any of the official bail-out points. They are the Old Boyes Drive link to Main Road, Dido Valley Road in Simon's Town, immediately before the Naval Gunnery School, refreshment station #9 at the foot of Red Hill, refreshment station #12 at the foot of Chapman's Peak, and the first traffic circle in Hout Bay.
- At the finish, don't come to a dead stop. You'll cause a pile-up.