The TELKOM 94.7 CYCLE CHALLENGE Route preview by Race Commentator and Master Coach Steve Saunders
The change of this year Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge route will present some exciting opportunities for those who have planned and trained well. The route on paper looks deceptively easier to start with and much better in the end – but don’t be fooled. The bunches will be more spread out, breaking up and reforming over each of the early climbs- although you got to know those hills historically, going the other direction puts them into a new light. So a solid warm up would be adviseable…The racing snakes will be smacking their lips with excitement.
Many of these hills are what the regular Joburgers train on so they know them well, but now is the chance to prove to your club just how strong you really are when the pressure is on.
The initial 20km, following Waterpoint 2, will see the bunches settling to take on the main altitude gaining trek to town. Get settled and work with your bunch to maximise the time you can make up without emptying the tanks too much.
Homestead up to WP3 is going to be of particular interest to the strong riders – they will want to move up through a few groups and this road presents a tough challenge to those who went out to hard in the beginning but if the fitness is there the opportunities abound.
The real racing and where the top dogs will show their mettle will be on the double whammy: HydePark and the Zoo climb (known to the regular early morning Jhb cyclists). Hyde park suits the strong rouleur who has a kick. The climb is steady but rolls nicely till the last bit up to Hype Park when it kicks really hard. The legs will be screaming for a rest but so will everyone elses!
After WP4 The steeper and more brutal Zoo hill awaits. Similar profile but over a shorter distance means greater gradient. This means hanging onto your pace and proving your grit!
The effort to halfway will feel like you have done the whole 947 but that’s what you want to maximise that PB opportunity.
Our Pro riders will having been playing a serious game of chess up to this point because just a few kilometres on is the opportunity to claim the illustrious title of KOM/Queen! Expect a potential counter move at this point potentially leading to a pursuit ‘downhill’ to the finish.
The reward is now for the taking. Get together with the other riders and make the most of the slipstreaming advantage as you head down the M1 at 40 to 50km/h with the wind in your hair! Take every opportunity to catch your breath because although most of the climbing is done a few stings remain for your aching legs to deal with.
Kyalami race track is short, silky smooth and has two vicious little climbs that will bite you if you don’t manage them properly – and to make matters worse you climb out from Kyalami on the R55 before being able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Hills area. The final approach is a site to behold Riversands Commercial park in all its glory waiting to welcome you home!