Yes I know it is now The Cape Town Cycle Tour but in many minds it is still the same event as of many years ago. Well here is the issue.
When I entered I was eager, eager to ride, eager to show that my shaved legs were worth it. Eager to prove to myself (and yes to others) that I was a cyclist. A real cyclist and not merely a commuter who dusted off their steed for the annual pilgrimage.
In 1993 I rode the old route. On my blue Diamond Back. New smooth road tyres bought for the occasion. And I bought some gels which tasted awful but made you ride fast and were expensive so they must make you go fast. Before I even rolled down to the start Juergen broke his collarbone and was a bloody mess. I was trying to keep up with him.
Down in the start shute I waited in the early morning cold. I pulled out of a group going 40 km/h down the Blue Route as I thought this pace was unsustainable. The stretch from Kommetjie felt lonely. All these emotions are not foreign to most who have completed the course. Problem is that I rode pretty well. So well in fact that I remember dropping a roadie who could not stick my wheel on the descent from Llundudno. I was a hero. My own hero. I rode 3:14. Twenty years later now with a road bike and more tech and training and science I did not feel the weight on my shoulders.
I sat in the virtual Que.
I got my number and paid my monies but I did not pay my dues.
I was in.
Then I wondered.
Why am I doing this?
I want to ride a Sub 3h.
For then I will be happy.
To be honest I want to be able to say I rode a Sub 3h.
Every year I get the questions. Every year I avoid the disapproving eyes. Every year I hear the tisk tisk clicking of tongue.
I am tired of having to explain myself. I just want to be.
So I sold my entry.
I am able to ride this route every weekend. In fact I ride the best parts when ever I want. I leave out the horrible parts.
As numbers of cyclists grow in the lead up to the annual pilgrimage so does the war. The road rage. The middle finger pointing. The anger. Between cyclist and driver. The hate and animosity between us and them. I have been part of it. The justification. The I am right and all the other arseholes out there are arseholes.
I don’t want to be part of that anymore.
I don’t want to associate myself with this anymore.
The violence of a year ago has not gone away. The deaths still persist.
I want no part of that.
I really don’t want to pass judgement over anybody who has the Cycle Tour as their ultimate aim or bucket list. I really do wish them well. Really I do!
For me the question is:
I want to find happiness.
And right now taking part in this event is not my best way to find that.