The Epic started in earnest today. As history shows, stage 1 of the Epic is usually a beast, and this year was no different. It was the toughest 96km I have ever had on a bike. People often exaggerate these kinds of statements, but honestly, it was brutal.
I have no issue with sand on a beach, really I dont, but I have a massive beef with it when I have to try ride through it. Today I think that I would have preferred to ride my bike up and down Camps Bay beach for 6 hours, at least there would have be some scantly clad ladies to numb the pain. The sand was horrendous, forcing roughly an hour of portage, if not more throughout the day. I would try to explain the last 10km into the finish, but alas, this is for family reading.
Having said that, the views were spectacular and the support and water points along the route were phenomenal. The organising is truly world class and everything runs like a well oiled machine.
At the front end of the field, the Multivan Merida team of Jose Hermida and Rudi van Houts won in a time of 4:31, and in doing so took the Yellow jersey from overnight leaders Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy who are now 2nd overall, 1min 42 sec down. In 2nd place today was Karl Platt and Urs Huber of team Bulls in 4:32.17,6 with Thomas Dietsch and Tim Boehme a mere 2 seconds back in 3rd. Looks like this is going to be an epis tussle for the overall, cant wait to see how it pans out.
Just a little bit further down the field was Team Crank. Paul and I had a super steady day to climb to 131st overall, and finished a mere 2hrs or so off today’s winners. Tomorrow will be our day!
Tomorrow sees us taking on the mammoth 146km stage 2 with 2350m of elevation gain. Things are going to get real, and hopefully not too many riders burned up too many matches today. We are going deep into the Koue Bokkeveld, with 900m climbing in the first 18km, gulp! Onwards to Tulbach.