For various reasons more than 1 200 riders started the Absa Cape Epic this year, the most ever. So it has come as quite a surprise to me to find that my partner Jakes Jakobsen and I have been riding alone for fairly substantial sections of the route.
Today’s Stage 2 – the 100th in the race’s history – was a case in point: after the wagon trail ascent and then the short descent into the Witzenberg Valley, Jakes and I on occasion found ourselves to be quite alone – nobody that we could see immediately in front and nobody close behind. This was special for two reasons: first was the fact that we could ride through and enjoy mountain biking on great trails without much congestion, and the second that you get to appreciate the countryside a little bit more when you are not having to worry about the wheel just ahead of you (or trying to keep dust out of your eyes). It has been quite a surprise to me that some of the riding on the Absa Cape Epic is just you and your mate enjoying yourselves in great countryside and sometimes on trails that you cannot access at other times of the year.
I must say though that I have also been enjoying the company of like-minded people in the race, and the camaraderie is something you can only experience when you are among them on the route.
Talking about the route, the designers and builders had again done a great job on the route again today and I was amazed to see the improvements since we rode out here a few months ago. The original trial ride team say the wagon trail is unrecognisable from when they rode it in August last year, so thanks again to everybody involved in this valuable work.
Tomorrow we take on what promises to be another testing stage from Tulbagh to Wellington. Jakes and I are feeling good and enjoying our ride: I hope the same is true for all our fellow riders.
It’s also been good catching up with news about the pros. Well done to Ariane and Annika for their great ride today – it is good to see the level of competition in the women’s race this year.
Copyright © 2015 Absa Cape Epic. All rights reserved.