The 42nd edition of the biggest timed bicycle race in the world was held on 8 March 2020. The route, that is approximately 108 km long, circles the Cape peninsula. It starts and finishes in the shadow of Table Mountain. In 1978, John Stegmann and Bill Mylrea organised this race because they wanted to raise awareness of the need for cycle paths in South Africa.
The ride caught the attention of hundreds of cyclists, including the Cape Town mayor of that time. The race was planned to be 140 km long, but was eventually shortened with the stretch to Cape Point being left out. That was the start of this great cycling event.
This year, Mr Braam van Wyk was one of the people who challenged themselves to complete this grueling race.
When asked how he was able to do this while still recovering from his triple bypass surgery, he said that it was a mental victory for him that started with the decision not to allow the surgery to get the better of him. After the operation he found it very frustrating not to be able to do basic daily activities as he is a very active person. Time and dedication helped him to regain strength. The recovery process taught him many life lessons and stimulated mental growth.
Mr Van Wyk was a member of an Old Grey team that cycled for cancer and diabetes fundraising. The group obtained sponsorships from various companies and raised about R130 000 for a good cause. The group of 70 old boys was also keen on raising public awareness. Their main goal was to make a difference.
Everything fell into place, but unfortunately, as one of the groups that started later that day, they had to brave extreme weather conditions. They experienced four seasons in one day: scorching heat, strong gusts of wind and even heavy rain.
The race itself was familiar as it was the 15th year that Mr Van Wyk participated in the event. Despite all the challenges, it was very special to complete this race with a group of friends. Although it was his slowest race, it was also the most satisfying one because he experienced a strong sense of accomplishment only seven months after the major surgery.