‘Day Two. Definitely.’
‘Day Two, the best views!’ ‘
Oh, Day One – we love climbing. And those views…!’
‘Day Three, amazing scenery!’
He’s done it again.
Dr Evil, that is.
The 2016 Pennypinchers Dr Evil Classic, held each year in Plettenberg Bay, has been even better than the previous four, with cyclists arriving from all over the country & even from overseas, to take part. The three-day race has always been tweaked so that it’s not the same as the year before, but this year it was totally re-invented : ‘You can’t have the same old, same old’ says Dr Evil.
So how was it different?
Registration still took place at Wittedrif High School and Day One started from the school with a rousing send-off from the kids in uniform. It was a crisp, sunny day of climbing up hills & through forests & over farmland, with the final descent taking cyclists back to the school. It was a long, tiring ride but the scenery made it all worthwhile.
On Day Two everyone transferred to Cairnbrogie Dairy Farm, a 25-minute drive from Bitou River Lodge/Wittedrif. This seemed to be most people’s favourite stage. The route passed from Cairnbrogie into the Harkerville Forest & over part of the Red Route, before returning to the farm for some long, rough single-track riding. This was not enjoyed by everyone : ‘Tough to do on a hardtail, I’m gonna sell it!’ ‘So much cow dung! In my face, even!’ (Did nobody mention that Cairnbrogie is a dairy farm?) But the route ran next to the sea and the views were stunning. Lunch was served in the Cairnbrogie Barn as the last riders straggled in.
Then another complete change of scenery for Day Three. The venue for this stage was a vineyard at The Crags – a part of the Plett Winelands – the Kay & Monty Vineyard, a 20-minute drive from Bitou River Lodge. The weather had also changed – to rainy. The day was short but very steep, with even more climbing than on Day One. Great views from the tops of the climbs, but great caution on the descents, with the tracks becoming slippery in the rain. Big fires & glasses of wine welcomed the cyclists in the tasting-room, where the mood was relaxed & cheerful, everyone mud-spattered, joking & laughing.
Over the three days everything seemed so organized, so punctual, so effortless. Of course it never really is effortless. It comes down to a lot of organized people working together as a team. Volunteers manned the water stations. Volunteers acted as marshals & sweepers. Volunteers directed traffic. Volunteers placed banners, flags, directions to the Race Village. Three different Race Villages, that is.
Squirt, the bike-washers, had to move & re-erect all their masses of poles (to hang the bikes on) from a school netball pitch (Day One) to a hay barn (Day Two) to a tractor-shed (Day Three), which was hectic.
But it all worked. So very well.
Will it happen again next year? Not sure. So far there’s no sponsor.
We’ll have to wait & see.
With our fingers crossed…..