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Hello Cape Town! I’m crashing your city through February!

CapeTownPenguins

It’s a sunny day here in Cape Town, and we’re ready to enjoy all the outdoors offerings this city and beyond hold. As we’ve done for the last three years, we’ve migrated south a bit for a month or so. In the previous two years we’ve travelled to Australia, tied to the Tour Down Under cycling race. But with the kiddos being slightly older than newborns, making that 24hr flight got a bit trickier, as did the timing overlapping slightly with the huge industry electronics show CES that I attend each year.

So this year we decided on Cape Town for about 5-6 weeks. It fit the bill as a destination with plenty of cycling, running and swimming locations to continue testing devices throughout the winter outdoors. And unlike our home in Amsterdam, it actually has hills more than 1 meter in height. Mountains even – one sits right behind me in fact.

Plus, we’re always up for mixing it up. While both The Girl and I have been to Cape Town many times over the past 20 years, this will be the first time with kiddos. I only posted about one time though.

The Plan:

Our plan is simple. If you’re following The Newsletter, we’re here till the end of February and looking to have a pretty good split of cranking out swim/bike/run content, but also taking a few days each week to explore Cape Town and beyond as a family. I’ve actually got every single post/video between now and the end of February planned in a giant and horrendous looking Excel sheet. In fact, if you saw my tweet on Friday you noticed I was burning some serious hard drive space the last few days getting tons of video and photos shot for upcoming reviews. Stuff like watch/etc comparison shots and such that are better shot back at home than taking extra gadgets on the road.

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Heck, I even dragged a trainer with me too, so I can wrap up the review on that one. Both Lufthansa and customs officials were less than impressed about that. Though, I unexpectedly didn’t have to pay any extra fees (The more you know: The Tacx Flux 2 is not below 50lbs, the usual cut-off before extra baggage fees incur). Second bit of trivia: While the Tacx Flux 2 doesn’t come with a cassette, and the box isn’t entirely designed for it, you can actually leave a cassette on it during travel…it’s just that the box bumps up 1-2mm. No biggie!

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Though, before you see the Tacx Flux 2 review, you’ll see my CycleOps H2 trainer in-depth review (Hammer 2). Part of the piles upon piles of things I got all my final shots for last week.

Of course, I’ve also got my road bike with me too.  But best of all – the folks at Yeti got me a mountain bike from their demo fleet for the duration. I’m picking it up later today. It’ll look like the same color as this bike on the left I also tried back at Sea Otter a year or two ago. Because that’s ‘the’ Yeti color:

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I’ve had a few suggestions for swims too via the newsletter, though definitely looking for as many as possible. Especially as I try and wrap-up both my Polar Vantage M and COROS APEX reviews. Those are the last two sports (openwater swims), that I need to knock out. There’s a great pool just a few minutes away from our place here.

Oh – speaking of which, our Airbnb in the Sea Point area, which seems to be a great spot for runs/hikes/etc up Signal Hill and onto Table Mountain, plus the Sea Point Pavilion pools along the ocean are perfect for both workouts and the kiddos to enjoy. And, for a chunk of the time we have some company with us, enabling The Girl and I to escape away for a few nights somewhere here and there. Maybe see some animals (maybe a quick jump up to Namibia – neither of us have ever been there?).

And lastly, I’ve got it on my to-do list today to get signed up for the Cape Town Triathlon on February 10th.

See Ya Around!

Most importantly though – we are definitely looking forward to meeting up with some of you. A number of you have already reached out with offers to run and mountain bike especially, and I’m looking forward to getting my bearings straight and going out for runs/rides/swims with folks. I suspect any group runs/rides/etc I’ll announce via Twitter, though I’ll also drop in the comments section below too. You can subscribe to comments below, though that’s honestly a bit of a double-edged sword if there’s lots of comments. 🙂

If you’ve got favorite running/riding routes, I’d love any links to them (maps/Strava activity/etc…). Especially for rides/running routes under 90 minutes or so. There may be days where a bit of time opens up and I can knock out a quick ride or run (on or off-road).  And as I said, still a bit perplexed on what’s a safe area to swim or not. Not looking to swim massive distances, and happy to simply just stay close in-shore and go back and forth along the beach, but would prefer for each length to be at least a few hundred meters or so.

With that – thanks for reading, and looking forward to seeing folks out and about!

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35 Comments

  1. Graeme

    For trail runs, I’d highly recommend hooking up with Tuesday Trails (they run every Tuesday, from 6pm to 7pm. Facebook page: link to facebook.com)

    Otherwise, if you prefer mornings, and less people: Friday Trails runs every Friday from 5:30am to 8am (just give me a shout if you wanna join. Strava: link to strava.com)

  2. Dave

    Fantastic stuff. On a semi-related note, didn’t you do a race in your time in Australia and promise a race report? I couldn’t see it in the Race Report tab…

    The Girl has said in the newsletter that you both plan to get back into the swing of doing more races, is she planning on doing the Cape Town Tri with you?

  3. Dave

    For routes maybe reach out to popular Youtubers: Dan Mace or Casey Neistat, they seem to do a lot of stuff in Cape Town!

  4. Ben

    If you go to Namibia, you’ve got to visit Atosha Pan and Sossuslei.
    Have a great time!

  5. ReHMn

    Hi Ray,

    Enjoy your stay there, but Europe is about 4 seasons!

    I am planning to try an extreme triathlon at the end of August… What are your plans for that part of the year? Would you take my supporter role on this event, please?
    Basically running with me the full marathon distance with elevation cca 2600m.

    I asked the GTN folks also, but Feather Hell is ignoring me, Mark is doing Norseman and Fraser is doing Celtman…

    • Unfortunately, I have a rule that prohibits marathon races above 2,599m. My apologies. 🙂

      Oh, and fear not, I’ll be back in time to enjoy some skiing in the Alps in early March. It’s best then. 🙂

  6. Awesome! Been following your site for years now. Would be great to meet up while you’re in Cape Town 🙂

    The trail running is next level here

  7. Aashiek Parker

    Hey Ray, welcome to Cape Town. The Atlantic Triathlon Club (ATC) is based in the Sea Point area. One of the more innovative offerings is a weekly training swim in the canals around the V&A Waterfront on a Friday morning (except this week as everyone will be at the SA 70.3 event). But feel free to join from next week, else join one of the track sessions at the Green Point track or weekly training rides.

  8. Dale

    For safe open water swim, try Silvermine Dam. Is at the top of OuKaapse Weg. You will need to pay for a permit on entry to the reserve. link to goo.gl

    For MTB or trail run, the Newlands/Kirstenbosch trail is a wonderful amble through the leafy southern suburbs with magic views of CT. Runs from Newlands near UCT to Constantia Neck
    Start at link to goo.gl
    Ends link to goo.gl
    Is about 1hr each way, or head back on the road for a shorter ride.

    Also for MTB, from SeaPoint head up Kloof Neck past the cable car station and then follow your nose along the jeep tracks. Look for map here link to tablemountainbikers.co.za

    It’s unfortunate but true that there have been some muggings on the mountain over the last year, so I suggest that you either ride with a mate, or if riding solo then stick to the busy times when there are other riders on the mountain – Sat and Sunday mornings, or late afternoon after work (5-7pm).

    For road ride, head south from SeaPoint past Clifton and Llandudno, to top Chapmans Peak …. should give you about 25km each way. Is a great riding road with wide verge pretty much all the way to top of Chapmans Peak. If you want to go further, just continue heading South towards SimonsTown via the Glencairn Exxpressway. Suggest you avoid the road between SunValley and Kommetjie … too narrow, too many pedestrians and too many reckless taxis.

    Probably the best ride from where you are is on MTB, Up Kloof Neck to Cable Station, round the front of DevisPeak, past UCT, Newlands trail to Constantia Neck, down into HoutBay, then tar road from there back to SeaPoint via Suikerbossie. IIRC is around 65km, 60% on dirt.

    Have fun!

  9. Hi Ray,

    If you up for early fast riding out from Sea Point to Chapmans Peak & back (2hrs) you can meet the La Perla cru Tuesday’s & Thursday’s 5.45am on the cnr Beach & Church Road.

    I ride a more sensible 10am from Sea Point.

    Im busy riding the new Nikola Innovations floating pedal ( continuously varying qfactor – moving horizontally outwards on the downstroke and inwards on the upstroke ) – disclaimer: its my own I paid for it but you welcome to try it out.

    Let me know if you keen to trial Vitalium protein peptide now before your triathlon or after when you get back home, it cured my asthma, no longer get prescribed Salbutamol inhalers or Ventolin pumps they are history for 3yrs now.

    My take on safety: ride with a mirror

    Best Regards,
    Demetri Mamacos

  10. Lizé Bekker

    Welcome!

    Contact ATC (Atlantic Triathlon Club), if you let me know I can put in contact with Gert, the chair. They do track runs Tues mornings and Wednesday evenings. Then a group ride Thursday and Saturday mornings, and as previously mentioned a swim in the canal Friday mornings at the V&A Waterfront.
    Another good contact for open water swims is 1SOMS (first Sunday of the month), they also do a 3SOMS (3rd Sunday of the month). And these are from Clifton 4th.
    Enjoy your visit and hopefully get to say hi while you’re here!

  11. Roger

    I have taken law students from the USA to SA and Namibia on study trips several times. If you make a trip to Joburg don’t pass up a tour of the constitutional court building, an amazing architectural wonder and tribute to the rule of law. Both Kruger and Etosha are fabulous (including unbelievable night sky). Windhoek has an active road bike scene. To bad you won’t be in Cape Town for the Cape Argus Cycle Race (early in March). As you may know it is the world’s largest timed road bike race. I did it twice on my bike Friday pocket rocket folding bike. As you can imagine got lots of comments, all positive.

  12. Haha. Just in time. The ice and snow is coming tomorrow.. got a spare bed for me? 😟

  13. Michael Coyne

    Hate to ask, but is there any chance the Scosche Rhythm 24+ made it?

    Still on the edge of my seat waiting for that one – I check the comments on the “first look” post every day, but it’s just not the same.

    Happy travels! Hope you (and especially the kids) have a great trip and that the travel goes smoothly 🙂

  14. Squeege

    Now that you have a mountain bike… any chance of “mountain bike” power meter tests / comparisons / suggestions?? 😃

    • There’s no way to sensibly measure power while mountain biking so you may as well use a road bike power meter for power training before you go. That will only train your legs for power though, so not a complete solution as it doesn’t train you for pumping the bike or for the various muscles you use for balance and movement. I also can’t think of an event where you’d want to keep a consistent power on a mountain bike so the usefulness of power training would be severely diminished.
      I think people ask for a mtb power meter just because roadies have them but never really consider how different the sports are or even where the power comes from on a mountain bike. A hub, chain, pedal, crank power meter wouldn’t be able to measure pumping at all while the crank and pedal would register superhuman numbers every time you land a drop. You’d therefore need accelerometers to measure G forces, a power handlebar/stem, a “normal” power meter and a huge amount of compute power to work out what’s going on. And then you’d have a number that’s not actionable within the sport.
      Don’t get me wrong, at some point someone will make and sell you your mtb power meter. People love taking money from suckers!

    • Davie

      4iiii and stages sell left leg m8000 cranks. Quarq sells a sram eagle crankset. No idea about any of them but suspect the best application would be XC racing

    • Mitch W

      @DaveLusty

      I have p1’s that I use for road/tri, but I am considering adding a powercal (link to dcrainmaker.com)…not because I want to know second by second what my power is on the dirt (i know it won’t do that), but just to have a fairly cheap (probably really well estimated) power source for long term training data and to balance mtb, indoor, and outdoor rides. I am wondering if this would be a good idea for keeping track of TSS and other training metrics.

      Also, because it is measuring at the heart, it should (maybe) capture whole body power (“muscles you use for balance and movement”).

      Anyone tried this? Thoughts?

  15. SwimNbike

    Ray,

    I was looking at the 2019 calendar for races, and I actually thought you’re long overdue on one 😉

    Have a great time in Cape town.

    Ken

  16. Patrick

    Hi Ray

    I’m part of the ocean swimming community in Cape Town, we’ve got a decent amount of open water swim routes and have a regularly Sunday swim at Camps Bay. We meet up opposite Cafe Caprice under the big heart every Sunday at 9am for a swim come rain or shine. Just bring a wetsuit as we specialise in cold water swims, expect anything from 14 (a good day) down to 9 (a great day!)

    Otherwise hit me up if you are interested in any other swims/swim routes while you are in Cape Town. Silvermine is great if ocean conditions are big, but safety can be a concern so rather go with a few people and don’t leave anything unattended. There are lots of other dams and beaches within an hour of cape Town. We’ve also got the Sanlam Cape Mile dam swim coming up near the end of Feb which is an awesome swim with thousands of swimmers and a great venue.

    Enjoy your stay!

    • Great – thanks!

      Any tips on shops that specialize in triathlon/swimming wetsuits in Capetown (versus surfing wetsuits)? I’ve been meaning to replace mine for for a season or so, and have managed to swim all warm water this past year.

    • Daniel

      Ray, there is this store below in Green Point – minutes from Sea Point.
      They have swimming wetsuits.
      So many fantastic routes in Cpt. The cycle to Chapmans Peak and beyond is a weekly must – you will also be impressed with the conditions of the roads there.
      link to google.co.uk

    • Patrick

      I’m a cold water skins swimmer myself, but luckily we have an Ironwoman in our group and she recommends the following:

      Coral Wetsuits
      60 Hopkins St, Salt River, Cape Town, 7925

      Orca/Orbea Concept Store Green Point (Very close to where you are staying in Seapoint)
      39 Main Rd, Green Point, Cape Town, 8051

      Or Sailfish, but they don’t seem to have a dedicated store, just available at multiple stores around the Cape.

      Orca and Coral do custom fitted suits which is nice.

  17. Brigitte Melly

    Swim at Big Bay, Camps Bay or Clifton… There are whatsapp groups saying who is swimming there. YOu will generally find people there every day. And most of us prefer to go wetsuit-LESS!!! Embrace the cold and join our crazy swimming community. If you head down to the beach on your own you will also be fine swimming up and down behind the breakers. Sharks only become scary in False Bay or further off shore 🙂

  18. Mart

    Ray – so cool that you are spending some time here.
    Dale’s comments on spot on for MTB and trail running. Also maybe head out to the Elgin area if you get the chance, there are some awesome trails there especially for MTB.
    Enjoy.
    PS. I was in Amsterdam over Christmas so tried out a few of your more regular routes.

  19. gazza

    Redhill Classic 36/42km this coming Saturday.

    Views on the route are (arguably)pretty much the best the cape has to offer.

    Conclusion: highly recommended.

  20. v

    Hi Ray,

    enjoy Cape Town….hope there will be some pics heavy posts..:)

  21. Tim

    Hi Ray,

    If you’re keen on a night ride on the slopes of Table Mountain, let me know. We head out each Wednesday night from Rondebosch side at 6pm. Normally about 2 hours of riding followed by burger and beers. We have spare lights if you didn’t bring.

    Cheers,
    Tim

  22. Noel de Kock

    South African Xterra Champs are in Grabouw on the weekend of the 23rd Feb Ray, a short drive away from Cape Town…. Just saying 😉

  23. I really like the pictures!

  24. Simon Marais

    Be sure to check out some of the amazing mtb trails of the tygerberg hills of cape town. There’s about 150kms of singletrack in and amongst the vineyards etc.. Seriously challenging and great coffee too..!

    link to tygerbergmtb.co.za