What a great day its was on Sunday, 1 April out at Lourensford.
The Vineyard Races and trail runs took place at the same venue where the 2012 ABSA Cape-Epic finished. The morning start was slightly chilly, but is was clear that it would be a great day for riding.
With quite a large field for the 56km (52km eventually) the start was quite slow. In fact, for the first 5km my pace was determined by those ahead of me. Even though it was all jeep track, one simply couldn’t pass due to the uphills and masses of riders. That really annoyed me in the first section of the event.
At 11km, we all came to a dead-stop. That was where we headed into the forest for our first section of single track. With the amount of riders, it was necessary for the marshall to control the entry into the forest by only letting small batches into the forest at a time. This is a definite NO for me. I had to stop at least 3 times after that to wait for riders ahead of us to ride single track sections.
The single track though was excellent! It has been quite a while since I had ridden a big event like that with so much awesome single track sections. Through forest sections, little wooden bridges, tightly cut paths through sections of fynbos and river crossings made for an exceptional route.
Don’t get me wrong, the uphills were long and there were plenty of them. From the top of the Helderberg Mountains, the view was awesome and very clear on Sunday.
There were two waterpoints. The first had water, energy drinks, pieces of banana as well as baby potatoes, always very welcome on a long ride. The second stop had only water and energy drinks. Now I know I should be taking my own food, and I always do. Still, when I pay R 230 for an event, organised by the same guys that run the Epic, I expect a little more.
All-in-all a great ride. I will however not participate again unless there is a batch start, even if they use the 2012 results to seed the riders.
Being at the finish of the Epic, though, was a great experience in itself. Seeing those brave riders, ride up to the finish line is indeed very motivating. Family and friends crowded the finishing zone.
Being in time to see the award ceremony for the general category was an extra bonus.
What a great day it was on Sunday at the Epic Prologue in the Durbanville Hills. I chose Nitida as my viewing spot.
As you may know, the prologue started at Meerendal and then weaved through a number of Durbanville Hills winelands to end again at Meerendal. At Nitidia they had set-up two bedouin tents . Here you could get some welcome relief from the scorching sun. A cuppucino and a muffin was good enough for breakfast while the kids had ice-cream, of course. Wine tasting was very much in order at 08h30 onwards on Sunday morning as well.
In the tent they also had a flat screen TV with a live feed from the start / finish area at Meerendal. An announcer at Nitidia announced each pair of riders as they crossed a timing mat. It was great to hear about all the local riders in addition to those from Russia, Qatar, Uganda, Brazil and plenty from Switzerland and Germany.
We left the shade and strolled up the first uphill in the vineyards to be able to support the riders as they crawled up the hill. Each rider’s country flag, first name and number of Epics done is reflected on their race number on their back. It was great to be able to shout appropriate support messages, where possible, to riders as they slowly tackled the uphill. Shouts of “lekker trap Kobus”,”go Brazil”, ” this aint the lake district” & ” go Zim” could be heard where we stood shouting our support.
We strolled a little further to the next-door farm, Hillcrest, from where we could see riders high up on the mountain and even those on the long uphill towards Bloemendal. From here we had a great view of the vineyards below.
For me and my family it was a great day out in beautiful weather, wonderful scenery and great motivation to see all those brave riders tackling the daunting Cape-Epic.
I can’t speak for the riders though…..
Cape Epic thing
Yip, what a thing it seems to be. Yesterday’s stage seemed to have taken its toll on many riders and the pro’s were not spared. It seems that some of the top teams are either our or may be out soon as they are not abiding by the rules.
Some of the pro’s are using the Cape-Epic as a training event for the world cup and are therefore not too concerned with being an official finisher. The news even made the papers.
According to the rules, the team members have to finish together. If not, they get a 1 hour penalty for the next day and are out of the event if it happens twice. Yesterday, 3 of the pro’s dropped their team mates and did not finish with them. They have stated that they will not return next year if they cannot finish the race.
So, a compromise has been made, allowing those riders to team up with others who have dropped their team mates. Interesting. I wonder if this applies to everyone or just the pro’s?
Anyway, it seems that the heat and the uphills got the better of a number of people who suffered from dehydration yesterday.
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