Gallery: 109km of memories

Cape Town - It’s 5am and the streets are already echoing with the soft click-click-click of coasting bicycles. Bedraggled party-goers still nursing half-empty bottles of beer mingle with fresh-faced cyclists rolling their wheels towards the starting line.

While it is still dark, the dim streetlights in Cape Town’s CBD catch flashes of colour: cyclists wearing glittering halos, riders in a spectrum of neon colours and others in gorilla jumpsuits or sporting red rhino horns.

Thousands of cyclists set off from the starting line at the Civic Centre. Many found themselves blown back by a strong south-easter that swept though the opening stages of the route. Picture: Ian Landsberg/Cape ArgusMens winner Nolan Hoffman crosses the finish line in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour on Sunday. Picture: Leon LestradeWomen's winner Cherise Stander is flanked by Anriette Schoeman, left, and An-Li Kachehoffer on the podium. Picture: Robin Clark/Cape ArgusAs riders sprint to the finish, a collision causes two of them to take a tumble. Picture: Leon Lestrade/Cape ArgusRace officials rush to help a cyclist after a collision near the finish line. Picture: Leon Lestrade/Cape ArgusAn injured cyclist limps over the finish line with the help of race officials.  Picture: Leon Lestrade/Cape ArgusDressed in tutus, wearing fairy wings and tinsel crowns  this was just one of the many costumes on show as cyclists pedalled along Nelson Mandela Boulevard. Picture: Jason Boud/Cape ArgusClimbing the hills was nothing for this pair of dreadlocked riders on a tandem bike who were always looking for new heights. Picture: Willem Law/Cape ArgusDressed in party pink, a cyclist climbs Edinburgh Drive. Picture: Jason Boud/Cape ArgusMoo-ving quickly along Nelson Mandela Boulevard, this cyclist chose a dairy-ing costume for his race. Picture: Jason Boud/Cape ArgusIt was an early start for these bananas who rode the race in their pyjamas. Picture: Jason Boud/Cape ArgusHand cyclist champion Ernst van Dyk crosses the finish line in Green Point. Picture: Robin Clark/Cape ArgusThis hand cyclist gets close to the road. Picture: Jason Boud/Cape ArgusThe elite riders take the fight to Glencairn. Picture: Leon Lestrade/Cape ArgusCyclists struggle up Chapman's Peak in the face of howling winds. Picture: Willem Law/Cape Argus

The colours of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour grow bolder as the race begins. Golden rays peek over the horizon as thousands of cyclists set off on the long ride beyond Simon’s Town and back.

For the onlookers it’s a spectacle. They emerge from their homes in Muizenberg, Ocean View, and Camps Bay to watch the multi-coloured pelotons skim past, their spinning spokes glinting in the bright sunshine.

Their cheers join the chorus of clicking gears and their posters, banners and flags bleed into the medley of colours. And in some places, fans become part of the race – pushing tiring cyclists up the route’s formidable climbs, or spraying riders with splashes of cool water.

But like a light at the end of the tunnel, as cyclists round onto Helen Suzman Boulevard from Sea Point they hear the pounding music of the finish line, the excited shouts of the commentator and cheers of around a thousand waiting spectators.

It’s there amid an eruption of applause that they raise their hands, let their bodies slump and enjoy their victory – 109km of winding black tarmac like a dark trail lying conquered behind them.

Pictures: Ian Landsberg, Leon Lestrade, Jason Boud, Willem Law, Robin Clark

Tweets by extrastrongsa