Monday, April 5, 2010

The Absa Cape Epic 2010 by Jeannette Walder

How can one beat 8 days of awesome mnt biking, single track to die for, hardcore jeep track climbs, fast district roads and technical down hills that even the main boys where walking. I was lucky enough to be invited by Nikki booyens another crazy adv racing chick from red ants who got an entry 6 weeks before epic and a most awesome generous sponsor from Linden cycles in jhb.
The 1st stage was a whopping 117km with 2190m of climbing and the famous railway line section. It was awesome standing in the starting chute with 1200 other excited and nervous cyclist wondering what is ahead of us. The Linden ladies teams’ tactic was to ease into the race find our legs and try our best on 6 weeks of training but deep down inside both of us wanted to compete and make the top 5. It took us 7hr37 10th in the ladies and 277 overall, not exactly the racing snakes we hoped to be.
Stage 2 was both of our favourite 90km with 70km just single track with only 1625m of climbing, all I can say to that is AWESOME we styled that one 8th in ladies and 234 overall clearly the men where a bit scared of the single track.

The 3rd stage was hard it was hot and a big climb 2280m over 115km, somehow we managed to claim that one even thou it felt we where going slow we came in 7th ladies and 226 overall with this result we though maybe our adv racing is coming in handy while we get stronger the other girls where going to start fading.
Stage 4 was only 86km with 1640m of climbing from Ceres to Worcester our new race village. Our thought of getting stronger backed fired and we come in 9th Ladies and 248th.
Stage 5 the time trail was good fun especially going down the starting ramp, the only team mountain bike stage race time trial ramp in the world!!!. It was hard with 860m of climbing in only 27km but the single track down hills where technical and I’m proud to say the only time my foot touched the ground was going up a steep climb where my pedal hit a rock and I uncleated. 308 overall and again 8th ladies we where pretty chuffed with that result not being racing snakes but rather diesel engine.
Stage 6 was the route to our next race village in oak valley, which included a stunning section of single track at the end of an exhausting 123km with 2240m stage.
Stage 7 being at oakvally had amazing single track and being one of the shorter stages only 99km with 2160km as well as being the 2nd last stage we hung in for dear life 9th in ladies and 292 overall and as one can see the lack of training was starting to show and our secret hopes of top 5 dwindled very quickly when we realised the epic is a epic and even thou we would never ever give up it was hard and the other girls where just stronger but we justified it that they had probably a year to prepare for this race.
The last stage was beautiful with a hard but stunning climb, walking the old wagon trail and only being 65km saw us come in 8th in the ladies and 254 overall.

The support and spectators along the whole route where amazing always smiling and encouraging. The race village was 5 star hot showers your own tent food that any restaurant would be jealous of and the epic crew always smiling and always helpful. It’s a race I would do again and again it’s a team effort, which makes it even more special.
I want to thank Nikki for choosing me to race with her. I couldn’t have wished for a better partner To Linden Cycles for making it possible to race by helping us with a very generous sponsor. My sister who without any questions and jealousy supported me financially as well as giving us free massages every day. To my school Greenwood who without their support I would have not been able to do it. To my Ma who stands beside me thru all my crazy ideas. My boytije Colin who shouted for me, encouraged me, and made me feel like I won the Epic trophy. To Rocket Compression Garments thanks for the Compression Tights which I slept in every night to help ease away the aches and pains, I sure they made a difference ,I was to scared to leave them off just in case I felt worse in the morning! To Rudolf from Mule Bar who helped me sort out my bike during epic. From Plettenberg Bay Wayne at Off The Hook for the donation of a dinner to raffle off to raise some funds and the Bike Shop guys (Leon, Tim, Grant and the Rasta man) thanks a ton.

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