Route Flip? Here's why we did it!

2018 brings the 22nd edition of the iconic Johannesburg Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, an event that has enjoyed great patronage from the cyclists of Johannesburg and indeed the whole country, and support from the residents and motorists of the region.

The organizing team is constantly striving to produce the best experience for our entrants -from point of entry to post event and a huge emphasis on Cycle Challenge Sunday on the route and safety of our cyclists.

In 2017 I stood on the finish line ( as the organizing team does every year) of the Cycle Challenge at Riversands Commercial Park for a good hour and half welcoming in the tail enders of the race - and I saw the pain and joy etched in their weary faces - a challenge conquered - but at what cost?

Post-event we sifted through social media comments and a common thread was a great event - awesome vibe on the route, wonderful water points, closed roads and a safe route BUT those last 4 hills were intense and didn't enhance the ride experience.

And that set me thinking about reversing the route - and put those hills in when ones legs were fresh, and putting the flat and downhill into the finish and indeed shaking the event up. Giving our faithful following a new goal and ambition for a personal best time and the opportunity to see Johannesburg from a new perspective and possibly exciting back cyclists who had said never again - I imagined riders taking on the M1 south and instead of it being a long drag uphill it would be a refreshing undulating downhill -picturing the route in reverse was a revelation!

So we set in motion a chain of events that has culminated in buy-in from 947, Telkom and the City of Joburg - huge shout out to them for seeing the vision - we have consulted widely and have only had a positive response. Of course, the climbers may say it changes the characteristics of the Cycle Challenge but don’t be fooled there is still a lot of climbing to tackle. Joburg is not flat - there is actually a similar amount of climbing -it just comes at different points on the route. A flat and downhill last 10kms of the route will be welcomed by those weary legs. We expect this route will allow for faster times from the pro’s to the tail end of the race. Same Route - different Challenge.

So commit to the 2018 Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge - rise to the challenge - get that bike out - start training and see you all on Cycle Challenge Sunday.

- Tanya Harford, Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge Race Director

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