Epic Magical and Untamed African Mountain Bike Race, a great
inspiring name conjured up by the organisers. Little did they
know that it would become superfluous, because 5 years later
all you need to say is ďThe EpicĒ and thatís enough to raise
an eyebrow. In such a short space of time word has spread
especially amongst everyday people who donít even ride a bike.
It is amazing how widely the story has travelled and how it
has created a common purpose for non cyclists who know an Epic
rider. I guess thatís part of the magic of it. Successful and
hardened ironman triathletes wonder in awe how you manage to
complete this amazing feat.
The Cape Epic was the first ever stage race in South
Africa. Despite the luke warm reception from some skeptics the
race started off well in its first year and just got better
from there on. Subsequently many smaller stage races emerged,
and it is arguable that the Epic has created the new stage
racing market. But the Cape Epic remains the ultimate
challenge and the benchmark. The level of competition at the
Cape Epic has been increasing every year. This is evident from
the level of competition at the front of the field as well as
the increasing speed of the mid pack and the increased level
of preparation of the back markers.
As more and more people discover the magic of completing
such a tough event they realise just how the impossible
suddenly becomes achievable. To rub shoulders with the worlds
best riders were an interesting dynamic of mutual respect
emerges. Back markers wonder in awe how the pros manage to
race at average speeds exceeding 30km/h and finish by mid
morning. Meanwhile the pros show great admiration for the
courage and endurance of the backmarkers who spend over 8
hours a day in the saddle, day after day.
The start at Knysna seems surreal as you can no longer
contain the energy, nerves and anticipation of getting on the
road. You start the race not knowing how you are going to
finish or how you are going to get there. All you have is the
faith in your partner, your training, ability and your bike.
For 8 days and over 900km you will ride from water point to
water point, town to town and day to day until you arrive in
Lourensford. The first days seem impossible the middle days
blur and the final days pass too quickly.
The post epic depression is common for all. The struggle to
return to a life of normality far removed from the mindless
peaceful pedaling of your bike with nothing but mountains all
around you. For some once is enough, others would love to be
back and then there are a few who return year after year.
Wiser stronger and better prepared, it never gets easier just
The epic decision and getting