Taking full advantage of the public holiday, the 14th edition of the Panorama Tour took place over this past weekend (15-18 June 2019). The unique format for a road race of riders racing in pairs similar to a mountain bike stage race is an interesting angle and makes for some exciting racing. The race consists of 3 road stages and a final time trial to decide overall honours, all raced on the roads around White River, Mpumalanga. This race wasn’t on our schedule, but being in our backyard it was hard to say no when a last minute opportunity arose to take part. Best case scenario we got a great result, worst case scenario we would have a decent block of training on roads made safer by partial traffic closure and the sheer number of cyclists.
On that note, almost 160 duos - some on tandem bicycles - took to the start line with almost a quarter of the field riding in Mixed Teams consisting of male and female riders. It is fantastic to see this category grow and become so popular across all disciplines of cycling. Partly by design and partly by coincidence it has meant a sharp increase in ladies participation which is great for the sport. It also means stronger competition and the top mixed teams were very competitive with the category winners finishing just outside the top 20 teams overall by the end of the race.
Being such a last minute decision we were slightly under prepared for the race and it showed compared to those who had made this event a goal. Far from being dejected this is actually quite inspiring to us as it means the standard of cycling is improving and if anything it just motivates us to be back next year with some specific preparation.
A few punctures added to our woes but it was easy to look past the bad luck and enjoy being part of this fantastic event, racing on the roads we usually just get to train on. Despite suffering through the racing we really enjoyed the camaraderie of the event and the fact that it straddled the fine line between being competitive and being fun – not an easy thing to do when competition is involved.
The weather also played along and we enjoyed 4 days of sunshine with the majority of riders leaving with sharper tan lines than those they had on arrival. The race village at Casterbridge shopping centre was lively with a proper ‘chill zone’ and plenty of options to re-caffeinate after each stage. Obviously our vote went to the merchant peddling the best carrot cake – it’s our thing!
All in all the event is living up to its potential and with road cycling events struggling to find their niche the Panorama Tour obviously offers something cyclists crave as most people left already dreaming about next year’s event.
Yolandi du Toit - Powered by Enduren Nutrition...#NaturalEndurance.