Rappel : Pendant la durée de la Cape Epic, deux de nos trois partenaires principaux étant étrangers (American Classic et KMC), le blog sera en anglais, vous pouvez cependant nous suivre en français en utilisant Google translate, les traductions ne sont jamais parfaites mais vous aurez je pense le plus important. Pour traduire en français l’article ci-dessous, cliquez ici (vous verrez la traduction rigolote, il semblerait que nous aillons fait du cheval sur une plage aujourd’hui 😉 ).
There is always one day at Cape Epic when it feels like you spend the day riding on a beach, well this year it happened very early, right on the first stage.
After a good night in the tent, one that starts with a super hot temperature and ends up at 4:30am in a very cold tent (between 5 and 10° celsius outside when we woke up !), followed by a cold shower of course, we got ready for that first « real » stage. The information we have is that the stage will be 96km long with more than 2000m of climbing and a few climbs sections that won’t be rideable, well on paper it sounds quite doable. Now let me get straight to a conclusion : it was a hell of a day, probably the hardest stage I’ve done at Cape Epic, was it the trails that were so hard, was it a bit of me not being 100% prepared for that race… there is probably a little bit of both.
This is how I looked at the end of the stage, thanks to the team marathonmtb.com for taking that shot… and after the picture let’s discuss the reasons for my poor finish face today 😉 !
So let’s go back to two years ago, my Cape Epic experience was simply incredible, probably something you can’t make happen twice : no puncture, no bad day, no crash except for a silly one in the sand at zero speed while checking where Jeff was. I was scared like hell all winter before that Cape Epic and I trained well for it, the weather conditions were quite helpful too. I suppose the simple thing to do would have been to just not go back, keep that memory of making the impossible possible and sticks from now on to my new sport « aka » triathlon. But then we discussed about going back in 2012 and I couldn’t resist, unfortunately I had to cancel at the « last minute » and go to Taiwan (Taipei show) instead. So going back together for the last time (at least it will be the last time for me) in 2013 was in our head many months before the start of that edition and this time we made it ! What am I going to gain from going back ? Well… I definitely don’t expect the race can go as well as it did in 2011, it would be like playing at the Lottery twice and winning twice in a row, no chance. So I’m here to live the real race, the one with mechanicals, the one with bad times during a stage and even completely bad stages. How stupid is that ? 😉 . The only thing I’m trying not to do is crash.
So I prepared this Cape Epic with a bit more confidence than in 2011, knowing I finished it once, but also with an unfortunate bad weather this winter. I trained, by that I mean that I swam, ran, rode and even did quite a bit of gym room work this winter. But I didn’t get enough riding and definitely not enough long rides. I actually had one long ride in the last 6 months, 4 hours and 30 minutes 2 weeks before the race… on the time trial bike ! Other than that it was 3 hours MAX. So the question mark was : can it be enough ?
Today we got our answer and yes… I suffered like hell ! Actually the start went well for both Jeff and I, no crash, good position where we wanted and the first 15km which was actually 1 hour (yes it’s not a typo, 15km/h !!!) went pretty well, appart from me loosing a bottle in a downhill (thanks Jeff for stopping) and Jeff having a small crash. There were lots of huge crashes in the first downhill so we were lucky. After that we were on my « soil » : sand, I can really ride the sand, I grew up riding in Chantilly (north of Paris) forest which is well known for horse riding and for that reason there is lot of sand. So I gave Jeff a tough time but mostly like in 2011 I tried and helped him out riding in it by giving him advices, showing the good lines (when I actually took them) and so on. Hum… that’s all I did for Jeff today, for the rest of the stage I owe him a big thank you, after 3 hours my body turned down on me, low energy and it seems eating regularly from the beginning didn’t do the trick it should have. I felt like I stayed empty for the rest of the stage. And if you think about it, it definitely makes sense, I didn’t have long rides before, so my body is not use at this point to use a good mix of carbs and fat for endurance and also it is not use to getting the best out of the carbs I’m eating during the stage. All in all, I’m not ready ! Again, I’d like to thank Jeff for his patience today, I did wait for him a few times in the sand but he had to wait for me much more in the long climbs. And don’t even start me talking about all the climbs we had to walk, not because I was so bad but because they were all sand, I told you, beach day 😉 ! In the end we were both dead and as an extra bonus I had a flat with 8km to go… talk about a bad day. But we managed all the damage pretty well, we never completely cracked and the flat was a fast repair luckily, so we we still managed to get a top 50 today and of course we are still in the top 50 overall which is great for a bloc A start tomorrow again… We’ll be heading to Saronsberg in Tulbagh, « only » 146km to get there, longest stage of the week. I trust my body will adapt quickly, I might have to be careful again tomorrow but I’ve learnt to pace myself pretty well and if I’m patient I’ll be able at some point to use my new found power (worked hard this winter and it’s showing… except I’m now lacking endurance) during the week.
As the real conclusion for that post, I’d like to say that I’ve finally discovered what a day at Cape Epic can and maybe should be. It was hard, very hot and sandy so yeah… very hard, but isn’t that why we are all here for ??? 😉
You’ll hear from us again, tomorrow after the stage, we need to get to our next home in Saronsberg as early as possible tomorrow if we want to have time to work, write, eat and recover in the afternoon so we’ll try to not stay too long on the trails…
STATISTICS (by the way, I had forgotten those links in yesterday’s article but they are now added at the bottom if you go back to it). :