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The annual Coronation Double Century is the grand-daddy of endurance events in South Africa; a unique time trial that sees 250 teams of between six and 12 riders unite to ride the 202km route as fast as they can (or as happily as they can). Owned by the Pedal Power Association, the event is organised by The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust and the 2018 edition takes place in November, once again hosted by Swellendam.
The 2017 route remained unchanged; starting and finishing in Swellendam, riders head out out on the N2, before turning left onto the R324 through Suurbraak before tackling the first challenge of the day: Tradouw Pass. With that ticked off, the road rolls past Barrydale to the foot of the legendary Op de Tradouw ascent, a long grind that tests legs and minds, before the riders are tempted to swing left for coffee and more at the first nutrition stop of the day. The speedsters will skip this one and head straight down into Montagu, where (as in 2016) a portion of the route remains under construction. An extended neutral zone will be implemented as a safety measure on the still-untarred stretch of road between Montagu and Ashton. A strict speed limit will be implemented between the timing at the start of the construction area and the Ashton Team Support Zone, where teams can connect with their back-up crews, before tackling the final 80km past Robertson, Bonnievale and the triple-whammy finish over the Three Witches of the R317 into Swellendam.
The Coronation Double Century is more than just a bike race; it is a test of team spirit, sense of humour and camaraderie. Friendships are made, strengthened and sometimes broken, but never for long, as teams push on to meet the 16h30 Swellendam deadline, and the staggered cut-offs along the route.
Without our sponsors and partners, the Coronation Double Century would simply not happen.
25 years ago, a few brave men thought up a crazy endurance ride…
There is plenty more to do in the Swellendam region, on and off the bike.