Tony Ireland reports on his first day…
Well I have just finished what I can honestly say is my hardest day ever on a bike. Its a far cry from my normal Forex Trading days! The Cape Epic is described as the World’s toughest MTB race and it sounds about right to me.
It is one of those events where you turn up and everyone seems to be just that little bit leaner than you, more focused, on a better bike and way more experienced. Standing on a start line packed with 1200 riders is something that has to be experienced to understand how it feels.
Then we were off. Slowly at first as the riders slowly passed the first few km, then we hit the vinyards, great for making wine, lovely on photos, shocking to cycle through. Surface is dusty and made up of short sharp climbs with drainage ditches every 100m. However, to be honest, in hindsight the vinyards were the least of our worries.
Imagine cycling along a sandy beach, at a 25 degree incline! That is The Cape Epic, tyres struggling to find grip and front wheels sliding in the deeper sections as the sand saps your bike of speed and your legs of strength.
It was not all bad though, some of the single track sections were amazing and every climb has to come back down on the other side, so we we were treated to some spectacular descents. It was during one of these that I had my second blowout of the day, this time on my front wheel. Trust me, trying to descend on a thin metal rim over sand and rocks is a complete non-starter and for me ended up with a quick trip over the handlebars. No damage to body, but my front wheel is still being straightened as I type!
The other section that MUST be mentioned is the 7.5km along an unused railway line! We were forced to bump our way over literally thousands of metal sleepers that shook us to the bone. Totally evil especially when you can see the road just 500m away!
Now it is time to eat and sleep and I am being kicked off the net. I will write more tomorrow….
Regards Tony I (knackered)