Words & Photos: Stuart Pickering
The Coronation Double Century is a 202 km cycle race held around the beautiful area near Swellendam in the Western Cape. Two hundred and fifty teams of 12 riders, which can be male, female, or mixed, took part in this year’s race.
Photo credit: Stuart Pickering
This year’s winners were Team NuWater CVT from the Western Cape in a new record time of 05:09. It was their intention to beat the five-hour mark, but the strength of the wind in the latter stages defeated their ambitions.
As great as Team NuWater's ride was, it is the social teams that really make this race. They are the heroes of 'The Real DC'. Teams get an award for having six riders finish, but they also get an additional Spirit award for having all 12 riders cross the line together. The essence of this race is teamwork. There was one women’s team riding on mountain bikes who showed great strength and commitment to complete the 200+ km for charity.
Anyone who has ridden the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge will know that conversation is limited on the N14, but what a difference there is in the DC! The camaraderie that exists and grows between the teams during the day is wonderful. As they stop for drinks and breaks at differing times, you get a rolling effect with teams that are the same level continually meeting each other on the road and renewing their friendships. Cycling Direct was acting as a support crew for the race and on numerous occasions we saw riders from different teams helping each other out, especially on the hills. One rider, who turned out to be an Ironman contender, pushed one of his teammates up every hill for the last 50 kilometres.
We also supported an all-ladies team (one of only four) called the 'Queens of the Mountains'. These ladies, who are social riders and range in age from 39 (the youngest) to 56 (the oldest), had trained for many months to get through this race as a team. Two punctures and one bad case of cramp were the only incidents fortunately, and all 12 crossed the finishing line within two second of each other due to their great teamwork, which is a fantastic effort. Their time was pretty slow at 09:35, but it was half-an-hour better than 2012.
The 3,000 riders, support crews, family, and friends at the event also gave the Swellendam area a huge economic boost. And the looks on the little kids' faces, who stood waving from the side of the road, when they were given treats by the riders and support crews was wonderful to see.
Dave Bellairs and his Cycle Tour crew do a great job with this race. It is very well organised, with good briefings for support, media, and helpers alike, thus making it a pleasure to be involved with this event. This is 'The Real DC' and hopefully, we will be back next year with another team and have the same wonderful experiences.
Photo credit: Stuart Pickering
1 - NuWater (05:09)
2 - Balamory Investements (5:31)
3 - Hot Chillee (5:34)
1 - VSL Ladies A (6:22)
2 - Paarl Media Ladies (5:51)
3 - Vodacom Ladies (7:57)
1 - Give Me A Chance (5:44)
2 - VSL Raynard (5:51)
3 - My Training Day (5:52)