Firm favourites in the Telkom Business Masters category at this year’s Absa Cape Epic, which takes place from 25 March to 01 April, will include Robert Sim (45) from South Africa and Nico Pfitzenmaier (40) from Germany. The Robert Daniel Momsen team is ready to take on the challenging 781km and 16 300m of climbing, which again ends at its traditional Lourensford Wine Estate.

Sim, who will be participating in his fifth Absa Cape Epic this year, says that he is both excited and nervous, but like last year, he hopes to channel that energy through the bike. Commenting on his new racing partner, Pfitzenmaier, he adds: “This is the first Absa Cape Epic we’re doing together although we’ve done a couple of other stage races before. We know our riding styles and strengths, as well as our weaknesses, very well.”

Pfitzenmaier will also be riding his fifth Cape Town, previously participating in the Mixed category. He states: “The Absa Cape Epic is always the biggest sporting highlight of the year for me. Unfortunately racing in the Mixed category puts a lot of strain on your body, specifically your knees and lower back as you push and pull your partner 90% of the time. Having been behind the scenes at the Cape Epic last year, I’m looking forward to racing the event for the first time with a male partner”. He refers to Sim as an exceptionally talented athlete who has come a long way in a very short time since he started mountain biking. “He’s a very versatile rider with no weaknesses and our riding styles are well matched,” he adds.

Sim says he is confident of being on the podium in the Telkom Business Masters category, unless they encounter mechanical problems or injuries. “I came third in the Masters category in 2010 with Corrie Muller, second with Doug Brown in 2011, and with Nico, I hope to come into Lourensford wearing the leader jersey,” he says. Pfitzenmaier adds: “We’ve done our homework and our preparation couldn’t be better. This year’s route is suiting our technical riding styles, so we’ll enjoy ourselves and everything on top will be a bonus”.

Doug Brown and Robert Sim

The team trains together twice per week, which follows base training completed in October and December 2011. “We do a lot of slow rides averaging around 15 hours per week. During January and February we cranked up the intensity and reduced the volume to 13 hours a week with lots of weekend racing on the road as well as on the mountain bike. Unfortunately I don’t have time to do more training with business and family commitments,” says Sim, who also believes that diet has a key impact on performance. He adds: “The most important discovery has been working out what food best suit me and what food I am intolerant of – self awareness is key in this regard.”

Pfitzenmaier says he did a lot of slow fat burning rides whenever he could fit it into his work and private life. “I never believe in a set training programme. I train when I feel like it and do what my feelings tells me on the ride. I’ve been on a vegan diet for one year now after being a vegetarian for 15 years, and experienced an amazing improvement. For fast recovery, energy levels, general health and to restore my nutrient demands and getting deep sleep, I have four nutritional principles. They are maintaining alkalinity in my body and cell tissue, eating nutrient dense food, eating food which gives me sustainable energy levels, and eating food high in enzymes to optimise absorption. My diet allows me to have better performance than ever with less training,” he says.

Sim believes that anyone who participates in the Telkom Business Masters category who does not have some serious aches and pains from prior or current injuries must be fibbing. “Injuries are part of top level sport. I choose to manage them and race regardless,” he says. Pfitzenmaier says that his body is also ready to take on the event.

Advice for other participants from Sim includes talking to one’s partner and making sure that no resentment or problems build up. He believes that mental toughness is the most important ingredient to successfully complete the Absa Cape Epic. Pfitzenmaier adds: “Enjoy the race and don’t take it too seriously. High expectations reduce joy. Watch your inner dialogue and be your best friend, not worst enemy. Stay away from any painkillers, medication and drugs. There are no short cuts in life. Good preparation, listening to your body, enjoying what you’re doing and overcoming your limiting thoughts and mind are also key.”

“What I’m looking forward to most for this year’s race is the 8 days of meditation. I also want the Cape Epic to be a leader in promoting drug free sport. I think this is an area which hasn’t been focused on enough,” says Sim. Pfitzenmaier is looking forward to sharing great moments with Sim and riding technical routes and seeing beautiful scenery.

In his free time, Sim says he loves to surf and read. For the rest of the year, he would like to compete in the World Veterans championships successfully, and manage his business commitments in order to spend more time with his family. Pfitzenmaier also enjoys surfing, doing yoga, meditation and expanding spiritually and would like to stay happy, healthy and centered for the rest of 2012.

In conclusion, Pfitzenmaier says: “Following a good result at the Absa Cape Epic I want to create awareness amongst other athletes that there lies so much untapped potential in nutrition to improve performance. Up to 40% of stress in our body is caused by wrong nutrition. The average athlete’s diet is too acidic, eating degenerated food, which is depleted in nutrients and enzymes to too much empty carbs and refined sugars. On the other hand, we don’t tap into our full potential in terms of being focused, balanced, centered and having the right mental strength. Meditation has helped me hugely to get strength from within. I also want to promote a clean and fair sport. If we just realised what potential lies within us, there would be no need for doping whatsoever.”