cape town cycle tour

Cyclists around South Africa are gearing up for the biggest timed bike race in the world.

Riders will take to the streets around the Mother City for the 46th Cape Town Cycle Tour on  Sunday, 10 March 2024. While the route and iconic setting provides a glorious day out for tens of thousands of cyclists, the weather is often a factor with strong winds and rain possible on the day. 

The race distance – a challenging 109km – coupled with the big climbs also make it a stern test of fitness and perseverance. To help you conquer the challenge and achieve your race goals, follow these tips:

A mix of solid and liquid feeds are the ideal option to get the energy you need to power you over the climbs, stick with the punch and sustain you to the finish. A combination of Biogen Cytogen Racing Mix and Biogen Carbogena bottle of each in your cages works well – offers the ideal combination of fast-acting carbohydrates for immediate energy and a slower release carb source for more sustained energy.

For those who expect to cover the race distance in three hours or more, consider a carb-protein option like the new Biogen Cyto-Pro. Formulated with a blend of easily digested carbohydrates and proteins, this hybrid endurance solution is designed to replenish energy stores, limit muscle damage, support recovery, and keep you performing at your best.

Grab some water at the numerous aid stations along the route if you need to cleanse your palate. If it is a hot day, use the water to cool down by pouring it over your head or neck.

You should also break up the liquid feeds with a combination of bars and gels from your jersey pockets. A Biogen Energy Bar and a Biogen Liquid Energy gel every hour, combined with regular sips from your energy drinks should cover your energy requirements.

The key is to start eating and drinking early and re-feed with small bites or sips more often to avoid potential digestive issues and keep your energy levels topped up. 

It is vital to try different products to find the best combination for you and test this fuelling strategy before race day. 

Take a few bars and gels with you on longer training rides before the event to test palatability and tolerance. You want to know that you won’t experience digestive issues on race day and that the specific combination you use provides the energy you need.

Also, make sure you eat a tested and trusted breakfast option before your race, despite the early start. You need to replenish your energy stores after the night-time fast and you don’t want to start the race on an empty stomach and in a depleted state. 

If you haven’t already, start including Biogen Pre-Sport Instant Energy Meal into your weekly breakfast rotation, especially before morning training rides to get used to it as your go-to race-day option. 

It is a convenient and effective option that provides an easily digestible meal with the energy you require to race at your best, with high-quality carbohydrate sources like sweet potato, oats and rice, along with adequate levels of protein, fibre and fat to reduce the likelihood of digestive discomfort, and electrolytes to provide the salts it needs to possibly prevent cramping.

cape town cycle tour

You trained according to a set plan to achieve a specific goal time. That means your training conditioned your body and mind to sustain a certain level of effort and intensity over the race distance. 

However, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the mass start and go out too fast with the a faster bunch. This is a recipe for disaster because a harder effort in the first half of a race will sap your energy reserves for the remaining kilometres. 

However, it is vital to find the right group and settle in as early as possible, especially if it is windy. Starting in a seeded group is ideal as they are generally more organised and riding in bigger bunches creates the slipstream effect, which conserves energy. There will also be more riders to spread the workload as they take turns ‘pulling’ the bunch along in front – do your best to contribute to this collaborative effort if you can. 

If you lose the bunch, slow down and wait for the next group to pass, until you latch onto one that is travelling at your ideal pace. Don’t try to ride solo for too long.

Further down the field you’ll find riders who are competing as a personal challenge or for charity. These riders will normally start in an unseeded group, which is far less organised. As such, it’ll be harder to find an organised bunch. Do what you can to find and stick in a group.

Whatever approach you take or position you find yourself in, stick to your pacing plan from the first kilometre to have the best chance of achieving your goal time. Only if you’re feeling good in the closing stages of the race should you up the pace.

Every cycle coach shares the golden race-day rule with their athletes: “nothing new on race day.” 

That means sticking to the nutrition, hydration and fuelling strategies you’ve tested and used during your training, including the breakfast you eat in the morning. Don’t include anything new you picked up at the race expo.  

And don’t try new, untested gear, especially new shoes and pedals or altered bike positions. Untested gear can cause chaffing and blisters, which are not only uncomfortable but can also detract from your performance if they become too painful. 

Make sure you’ve done a few training rides in your chosen kit before your race. The premium Biogen Ciovita Cycling Kit range includes feature-rich bibs and short sleeve jerseys that offer comfort and versatility.  

cape town cycle tour

Getting the right bike setup for your biomechanics is also vital. Ideally, it is best to get the bike setup done at the start of your training block to avoid potential overuse injuries from joint misalignment. You will also get the most from every pedal stroke to boost your performance on the bike with the most efficient movement to maximise power output and aerodynamics. 

With so many people converging on a central point, there is always traffic congestion. Don’t stress yourself out or miss your start time by arriving late. 

Rather wake up and leave a little earlier to enjoy a hassle-free and stress-free warm up pedal to the start. Consult the Start Guide on the Cape Town Cycle Tour webpage to know where to park and how to get the start with ample time to spare so you can enjoy every moment of the experience on your way to that new course PB!

It is also a good idea to sip on a bottle of Biogen Electrolyte Plus on your way to the start. 

And keep a Biogen Energy Oats or Biogen Energy Nougat bar in your pocket to snack on in the pen while you wait for your start.  

cape town cycle tour

With the seeding system used to send over 30,000 cyclists onto the roads around Cape Town, the Cycle Tour follows a batch start, with the first groups leaving at 06:00 and the final groups getting underway at 10:15. That can leave a lot of time between your breakfast and the starter’s gun, so make sure you have additional snacks to keep energy stores topped up while you wait in the pen.

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