8 November 2015, Vrede Wines, written by Rob Walker, pictures by Andre Steyn.


Any concerns that Audax interest in the Cape may fade with PBP behind us were quickly dispelled on Sunday’s Cape 200. Perhaps spurred on by the promise of good weather, or the rarity of a daylight start and finish, the field of 25 starting riders and 22 finishers narrowly missed setting a new turnout record for recent Cape brevets.  The combination of distance and date clearly provided a tempting opportunity for Double Century preparation, with at least two teams out in force looking to refine last minute preparations.


A few clouds shrouded the peaks around Wellington as the tail group, including myself made it’s way towards coffee and breakfast at the Hermon Control. A couple of large groups had arrived there just ahead of us, but the kitchen stepped up their pace and trays full of coffee soon started to arrive. The slight wait did prove rather damaging to the snack display though – which was stripped almost bare of chocolate and peanut cakes and date slices by the time we rolled out to tackle the climb over Bothmaskloof. Carelessly, rather too many of us commented on the unusually favourable forecast for the ride – a rare North-Wester being promised to carry us home later in the day. It was at least accurate to some degree on the leg into Darling, although as headwinds go it was sufficiently light as to be more cooling than it was hampering. In every respect, it was turning into a glorious day to enjoy a ride in the Cape Winelands.

Hello, Darling

One of the nastier rollers split our group slightly, but with the control not far ahead, Philip pushed on whilst I dug in and just barely managed to hold his wheel over the last couple of kilometers. The remainder of our group, mostly DC team mates from Outriders, arrived minutes later and the single free table we had bagged was soon disappearing under toasties, plates of fries, cokes, beers, and tequila bottles. Yes, you did read that right – a quirk of this particular cafe in Darling is that when you order water, it’s served in old tequila bottles. Maybe they have a reputation to uphold as a venue strictly for the hardened drinker!

Winds of change

The forecast continued to stay true as we set out again, the wind now firmly at our backs making for an unusually quick run back to Malmesbury. The rising heat of the day was much more apparent though without any breeze from the front. There were a few sighs of relief when the dip down and across the railway line and back up to the crest above the town came into sight. And then, whilst waiting for coffees, those earlier remarks on the forecast came back to haunt us. Marcus noticed it first, commenting that he thought the wind was swinging around. Not everyone heard him, and those of us who did probably wished we hadn’t. But he wasn’t wrong. As we enjoyed coffees and milk-shakes our ride suffered that cruellest of all fates – a wind which blows from the front out, only to swing 180 degrees and blow from the front on the way home too. We had at least enjoyed some respite back from Darling and, to be fair, it had not been strong before that either, but it definitely started to push back on us as we made our way along the last stretch home.


There were a few firsts in our group: it was Derek’s first outing on a new mountain bike; and around the 176km point Erica (and possibly others) marked their longest ever rides. Combined with the wind, it made for a few weary legs but the group did what all good DC teams too, geared back and looked after every member of their team to the end. All of which made for a very pleasant and sociable riding experience with a great bunch of riders – something which was evident at the finish, with a much larger group than usual staying behind to share a quick drink and celebrate the achievement.

More pics here, thanks Andre.

Finishers, alphabetically

Royd Brandon
James Burgess
Marius Carstens
Nico Coetzee
Markus Franz
Erica Hayward
Michelle Herbert
Jacques Jacobs
Philip Kannemeyer
Gary Kuhnert
Derek Lawrence
Heinrich Lotriet
Wynand Louw
Demetri Mamacos
Peter Muller
Andre Steyn
Richard van Antwerpen
Wimpie van der Merwe
Morne van der Westhuizen
Louna van Tonder
Chris van Zyl
Rob  Walker