Blown away by the Argus again

That’s it, my second Cape Argus ride completed and 90 minutes quicker than last year’s effort, which can’t be a bad thing.

The world’s biggest timed cycling event celebrated its 33rd birthday in style with the debut of the world’s most famous cyclist – and Mr Armstrong duly contributed even more hubbub to the frenzy that surrounds Cape Town’s biggest annual event.

Lance didn’t win, but that didn’t matter, South Africa was just pleased for the visit, with hundreds of ‘Howzit Lance?’ posters around the course. I was amazed that the Texan said it was the windiest he had ever known for a bike ride, but then I am a veteran of last year’s worst ever Argus.

Gales of only 50mph this time, that’s more like it. Headwinds for only two-thirds of the way round and only 33 riders taken to hospital – it was a doddle. This is an event that judges itself by the amount of structural damage incurred! Last year Portaloos were lost or destroyed; this time they were merely damaged.

The scale of the Cape Argus is quite staggering and the ‘Stash Your Trash’ theme of this year’s event was a result of the 70,000 energy gels dropped around the course in 2009. The local baboon population has since developed quite a liking for the stuff, with what organisers described as “devastating effects”.

Truly unique problems for the world’s most unique bike ride – only at the Argus. Roll on 2011.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

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