Thursday, March 7, 2013


Here in the Cape hardly any conversation goes by without a discussion of the ARGUS CYCLE TOUR.  You don’t have the drive far before running into cyclists doing their last training at all hours of the day.  The weather forecasts are being studied and best diets and drinks to take before and during the race are being discussed. 

One our MSA TEAM cyclists, Gary Evans, wrote the following to give us an insight into a recent early morning training session;

“Woken by the alarm at 5 am on a Saturday morning is not the way to wake up in a happy and stimulating mood, but the thought of training for the 109 km Argus road race and riding for MSA is enough to get anybody out of bed in a hurry…..

Bicycles on the car-rack, energy bars and juice packed, we leave for Delvera wine estate near Stellenbosch to cycle the Dirtopia route.

The day is dawning, with the sun peaking behind the mountains and the silence in the car on the way there tells a story of tired bodies and tired legs. We unpack the bikes and head out into the mountains.

The energy and enthusiasm comes back the further we ride and the saddle starts to feel like the lounge chair, legs pumping the pedals, and we reach our first drink-stop. The view is awesome and getting out of bed early is a distant memory.

The fresh air is our “drug” for the day.

We rode 12 km, but climbed 534m. Great strength training for us novices, and as we returned to the car the thoughts of a coffee and a muffin were in most our minds.  Isn't that what we get out of bed for?”

Thank you Gary, this made me realize how much dedication and perseverance goes into training for a race like this.

Traffic on all main routes towards the Cape will increase over the next couple of days, with many vehicles coming from all over the country, all with loaded tell-tale bicycle racks.  Airport personnel will have there hands full dealing with boxed bicycles that need to be reunited with owners.  Restaurants and guest houses will be filled with excited cyclists awaiting race day with trepidation.

Organising a race of this magnitude (an expected 35 000 cyclists) takes expert planning and Cape Town will come to stand still on Sunday 10th  March to accommodate all the participants and the spectators.  Physiotherapists will be on hand to treat strained muscles and cramps.  First aide personnel and doctors will stand by for more serious injuries and ailments.  Water points along the route need ample amounts of water, coke and ice, with enough volunteers to keep the race running smoothly, eliminating unnecessary bottle neck delays.

Amanda Erlank, the organiser of the MSA CYCLE TEAM, and the rest of the team, has been invited to the Woolworths hospitality tent at the finish where they will be pampered and spoilt after the gruelling race.

The funds raised were donated to the MSA Trust in UK, and Amanda received the following note from them;

“Dear Amanda,

I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your kind donation of £180 to the MSA Trust, in aid of the South Africa Argus cycle tour…it sounds fantastic!

As you are aware, as a small charity we rely entirely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work, supporting all those affected by the devastating disease MSA. Your generosity will enable us to continue growing our support group services, expand our specialist nurse programme, and reach more people touched by MSA. Thank you.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information on our work. 

With best wishes,


It’s heart warming to know that this team’s effort is recognised and will make a difference to the lives of patients.

The race begins at the Cape Town Civic Centre in Hertzog Boulevard. Depart from the N2 and M3 and follow the False Bay coast past the entrance to Cape Point, then the Atlantic coast and the Chapman's Peak road to the Cape Town Stadium. 

Our MSA CYCLE TEAM will start their race at 9.16.  We wish these brave cyclists the best of luck on race day and will be cheering for you and willing you up Chapman’s Peak and the dreaded Suikerbossie hill!

THE TEAM: Amanda Erlank, Abdul Atta, Adri vd Merwe, Anton Titus, Audrey Mallett, Charlotte Kriel, Gary Evans, Maahir Berhardien, Margaretha Steyn, Mari vd Merwe, Michelle van Rooyen, Zarier Behardien.

Some Argus Cycle Tour facts;
The fastest winning time was 2:27:29 (Robbie Hunter in 2008)
The fastest average speed was 47.48 km / h (Wimpie van der Merwe 1993).
The oldest person to complete the bike tour, was 92 (Japie Malan in 2012).
The race was cancelled twice in the past due to bad weather - heat in 2002 and strong wind in 2009.

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