2010 World Champion Tracy Moseley and Anka Martin have just completed one of most gruelling mountainbike endurance races there is, the Cape Epic Challenge in South Africa.
A big well done To Tracy and Anka, riding 8 hours a day for 8 solid days off road is one hell of an achievement!
If you want to donate to the World Bicycle Relief fund then check the link below.
Day 6 of the Epic was the longest day 143km with a lot of flat fireroads that took us from Worcester to our final camp in Oak Valley. Anka and I were so well matched for this event as we were both great on the downhills and pretty good on steep techy climbs and we both hated the flat !! We just went backwards for the first 3 hours as pack after pack of roadies passed us on the flat, just going too fast for us to hang on to their wheels.
We also had a pretty big headwind most of the day, so it was a tough day made even harder with the main climb of the day as we reached the 100km mark!!! It was a beautiful climb and we were both just happy to be off the flat and riding some terrain that took some concentration and our minds off the pain in our legs !!
It was a 17km climb over a mountain pass that then dropped us into the valley for the final 20km to Oak Valley. 143km done and this was the furthest I had ever ridden a bike either on or off road, so I was pretty pleased to make it to my tent and just get off my saddle after 8hr45min…one long day to be riding your bicycle !!
Having spent so long out on the bike it left little time for the evening routine of queuing up for your shower, preparing your bottles and kit for the next day, getting a massage, going for dinner and being in bed by 9pm ! The following morning really came around so quick and sitting on the starting line back on your bike felt like you had never stopped. I was riding my bike for more hours than I was sleeping…this can’t be good for you !!
Day 7 was also a long one 125km with 2700m of climbing, the most climbing of all the days ! I resorted to two pairs of cycling shorts as it was beginning to get pretty unbearable sitting on my saddle for hours on end ! I think it helped a little, but it was still not good…This was the day where I realised that 5 days is plenty for a stage race, these last 3 days were tough and there was more suffering than enjoyment occurring !
I was unable to appreciate the views and had no desire to stop for photos, I just wanted to get it over and done with at this point !! My lower back, bottom and my legs were really all starting to become quiet painful and I spent many hours just starring at Anka’s back wheel in silence just watching the km’s on my bike computer creep up more slowly and more slowly !! The scenery on day 7 was beautiful with views out to the ocean, but I was hurting and even the last 20km of singletrack was almost too hard to be enjoyed when you were that tired !! There were people crashing everywhere in the final few km’s, just so tired it was crazy !! The final big day took us 8hr15min and we moved back up to around 15th in the women’s race.
The final day came and I now started to believe that I was going to finish this race, the last 2 days had been tough and all I kept thinking is you have to finish this race so you don’t ever have to come back and do it again!! So finally the last day was here and at only 65km it was such a nice way to finish the race with only just over 4hrs in the saddle, still some good climbs and beautiful views of the Cape Town bay as we crested the last mountain range to end up finishing in a beautiful big wine estate not far from Stellenbosch. We made it and it really did feel like a pretty awesome achievement, not only to finish it, but to have been a part of such a massive bike race, it was an amazing experience. I have had the chance to see so many beautiful parts of the Western Cape of South Africa that you would never normally see on a trip to this area. Having the opportunity to pass by and ‘high 5’ so many people in their villages and communities and to get such a warm, smiling reception along the way is some of the best memories I will take away.
707km of off road riding with 14500m of climbing along the way, a true adventure of a lifetime.
A massive thankyou to Anka for planting the seed and giving all the tips and advice from someone who had done the epic now her 4th time. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in terms of our strengths and also our characters, we both just got on with it and suffered silently!
A big thanks to Rob at Cycles Africa for working on my bike each night to make sure we did not have one single mechanical incident. Pretty incredible considering the distance and terrain we covered, something which I think owes itself to all the good product I used for this event. A big thanks obviously to Trek, Shimano for the new XTR which worked perfectly all week, Maxxis for the new tubless Lust tyres that I don’t know how they survived with all the thorns we rode through, pretty amazing !
Thanks to Osprey for their support and hydration pack that enabled me to drink between 5-8 litres a day whilst riding !
Finally a big thanks to World Bicycle Relief for their support and I hope that by this weekend we will have reached the goal to try and raise enough money to equip 10 schools in Zambia with bikes.
If you would like to support the charity and find out more take a look here www.capeepicchallenge.blogspot.com
Every 25$ donated will enter you into a prize draw to win a bike and bike products so take a look and see if you can support this great cause…
Thanks for reading and if I haven’t put you off for life the entries are already open for the 2012 Cape Epic !!