We don’t have much to report on this week. Unlike last year we have had no wildlife attacks, muggings or run ins with the law….yet! We are also struggling a bit with the work and training balancing act. However, this was always to be expected and its safe to asume we arent the only ones.
I did want to share next years Cape Epic route with you. The following race description is taken directly from the ABSA CAPE EPIC website (http://www.cape-epic.com/content.php?page_id=36&title=/The_Route/ ). This will give you a much better understanding of why we are training so hard and what we are training for.
ABSA CAPE EPIC 2009
Total Distance: 743km
Total Climbing: 16 650m
"One of the most famous natural landmarks in Africa, Table Mountain, marks the beginning of the pioneering, tough and beautiful mountain bike race. The race then heads into the Overberg region in search of the most exciting, beautiful and challenging routes. Always innovating, the 2009 Absa Cape Epic visits stage locations in which riders will be staying for 2 consecutive nights, allowing them more time to experience single-track and technical routes that make this race legendary.
Date: 21 March 2009
Start/Finish: Cape Town
Table Mountain will host the prologue, which was introduced at this year’s race, on the first day of the event. The 24km ride against the clock will take riders from the edge of the City Bowl towards Tafelberg Road. The Cobra is a steep switchback climb averaging 15%. Once they crossed Kloof Nek, riders will climb Signal Hill and head along the spine. If they have a moment to look to their left they’ll see the Atlantic Seaboard and to the right, the city and the harbour. The prologue will give riders a chance at a good seeding position in the start chute of the first stage the next morning.
Date: 22 March 2009
Start/Finish: Gordon's Bay - Villiersdorp
Gordon’s Bay, the small, idyllic seaside town on the Eastern edge of False Bay will see the start of Stage 1, taking riders over 110km and 2770m of climbing to Villiersdorp. The first stage of the Absa Cape Epic has never been easy and will be no exception next year. The early steep ascents will stretch out the field, just in time for some rocky single-track. Participants will visit a familiar highlight of the Absa Cape Epic, Groenlandberg. The 10km climb will start off at over 10%, but will level out near the top. Riders will need to save their energy for the last 15km, which will take them into Villiersdorp, where they will settle in for 2 nights.
Date: 23 March 2009
Villiersdorp, the "The Pearl of the Overberg", is graced by oak trees and surrounded by tranquil fruit and wine orchards. Sixteen degree slopes are perfect for crafting fine wine but will make for tired legs early in the stage. This kind of climbing will require expert balance and poise just to avoid having to climb off and walk. In a loop that circumnavigates the valley visiting the Brandvlei Cellar, there will be several more steep climbs. The ruts and loose shale that characterises the Karoo region could end a rider’s race on a single corner.
Date: 24 March 2009
Start/Finish: Villiersdorp - Greyton
The third stage will take riders from Villiersdorp to Greyton, an 85km route with 1950m of climbing. Their legs will remember stages 1 and 2 all too clearly as they tackle a long ascent up a rugged 4x4 trail. It will be another day of tough ups and downs, breaking the riders’ rhythm. A portage section with 180-degree mountain vistas will ensure that their spirits stay intact as they head to the next town, Greyton, another gem in the Overberg.
Date: 25 March 2009
The fourth day of 101km and 2303m of climbing will begin on the open roads with a steady climb followed by a tricky section on fast rocky tracks, testing the reactions early in the morning. After crossing the causeway, a windy trip through the farmlands will take the field back towards Greyton. Much of it is rideable but with some 20 degree slopes, testing their technical skills. This devastating series of hills will deliver a knockout combination to ill-prepared legs. Riders will have earned their second night’s rest in Greyton.
Date: 26 March 2009
Start/Finish: Greyton - Oak Valley
Stage 5 will take riders from Greyton to Oak Valley, a 113km ride with 2405m of climbing. Early on, some jagged climbs will strike a cruel blow to the morale, but riders will be rewarded with the beautiful flowing dual tracks alongside the railway line. This will offer a temporary respite as Elgin / Grabouw appears on the horizon. When riders see orchards they will see more steep climbs on the way, but not before passing through another Cape Nature Conservation area. With several kilometers of swooping forest single-track, even the most tired competitor will be smiling and as they leave the forest, they will arrive home for the night in Oak Valley, Elgin/Grabouw.
Date: 27 March 2009
Start/Finish: Oak Valley
The second last stage of the Absa Cape Epic, will take riders on a 120km journey with 2604m of climbing. This stage is the most technical in the Absa Cape Epic’s history. No sooner than leaving Oak Valley, riders will encounter more hills heading towards the N2. Riders will be traversing through Kogelberg - a world-famous biosphere featuring some radical descents and narrow tracks with unique Fynbos grabbing at the handlebars. After a river crossing and more steep climbs, riders once again find themselves in the single-track heaven of Lebanon. They will then return to Oak Valley to cap off a very demanding day in the saddle.
Date: 28 March 2009
Start/Finish: Oak Valley - Lourensford
Finally the last day of the taxing Absa Cape Epic has arrived and riders will end their adventure at Lourensford. Traditionally the last stage is always the shortest, but never easy and will take riders over 70km and 1770 m climbing. Again, they will see short, sharp climbs and then some longer and even steeper ones though Nuweberg. Soon the riders will begin to smell home as they near the bottom of Gamtoe Pass. As any Absa Cape Epic veteran will tell you, it is a compulsory portage section through this National Heritage site. A close look at the path will reveal Voortrekkers’ wagons tracks, heading down to the railway line. Through wine country, riders will head home to Lourensford to collect their finisher’s medal and a well earned rest."
So…that’s it. All in a weeks work…ehhhr… and 8months training! : )