Image Caption: Bunches (Rory and Craig leading) head out for stage 4 of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from The Oaks Estate in Greyton, South Africa on the 27 March 2014
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
The Absa Cape Epic, the toughest mountain bike race in the world, lived up to its reputation last week, shattering some riders’ dreams of finishing while leaving others elated to reach the finish line. I was fortunate enough to be part of the riding media this year, along with amaBhungane journo Craig Mckune. There was no pressure on results, just to have fun and report on each stage as we saw it. It’s a refreshing approach to a stage race of this nature, all riders should try it out, take in the scenery, the vibe and the chaos instead of just watching the wheel in front of you.
I must thank Kevin Vermaak and his team for the invitation to ride, it was amazing to see the Epic from the other side, the ‘back end’ if you like. I cannot tell you how many people I saw in and out of the media centre, rushing around to make something happen. This event truly runs like a well-oiled machine.
It feels surreal sitting here typing this: usually by this time of the morning last week I had already put on suncream, bum cream, lots of lycra, shovelled down some breakfast, and was on my way to the start line for another long day’s adventure. After only one day of rest, I must admit that I miss it and I am feeling ready for 2015…I think 🙂
To me, to have a fun and successful week at the Epic, you need and rely on three important things. Firstly is your partner. After 8 days of riding, I would take Craig to war with me, he is a legend and a great rider with huge patience for bike mechanicals (unlike me).
Secondly is your trusty bike. I was given a Trek Superfly FS .7 to use for the week by Trek SA. This bike blew my mind. Super fast, especially on any single track, and unbelievably comfortable. I am used to riding a hardtail, but this bike has changed my perception on bike choice for multi-stage riding.
And lastly, but certainly not least, is your nutrition. I was lucky enough to have Rehidrat Sport as a partner for the Epic. It’s all I rode on for the 8 days, and it got me through some dark times. Hydration must be the most important part of successfully finishing the Epic. I can’t tell you how many litres of Rehidrat I drank.
So, all in all a fantastic 8 days on the bike, and I hope to be back in 2015 sharing my stories and adventures with you.
Take a look at the video of some of our experiences below.