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.
After a last agitated night in the tent, not from the rain this time but from Stellenbosch strong wind, sunday was our last stage at this year’s Cape Epic and probably our last stage with Jeff at all as we don’t plan to come back, we have other things in sport and in life to explore in the future 😉 ! This last start for a shorter stage (54km) is not at 7:00am for the first time this week but at 8:30am, so for the first time this week I’m not late to pack my bag and bring it to the truck. Actually we were so early that our bags we some of the first in the truck which ended up being bad news when I found out thirty minutes later that I didn’t keep any gloves with me and now my bag was under hundreds of other bags so I was going to ride without gloves today (maybe to express my Xterra / triathlete way of riding 😉 ) which is not the right thing to do in a rocky and technical stage like that so please don’t do it ! Second funny moment before the start was when I found out with 10 minutes to go that my crankset had a lot of play… so I got out of our start line, sprinted to the SRAM support truck and asked for their hex wrenches –> 10mm wrench first, ok at least my crank arm was tight, then 2mm wrench and that confirmed my hope, it was just the pinch collar that got untight from all the riding of this week, tightened it back, tightened back the pinch bolt and I was good for a sprint back next to Jeff at the start line with 3mn to go. Good warm up 🙂 !
With bikes and riders ready, we also had our strategy in mind for today, we were 36th overall at the start of the stage with pretty much no chance to get passed as long as we didn’t have a mechanical but a small chance to get to 35th (which we said sounded like a good number, « worth fighting for ») as the « 1974 » south african team was 5mn in front of us but we saw the previous days that one of the two twin brothers in that team was pretty tired. So the strategy was, if we see that team was with us and no chance to take 5mn out of them, let’s back down and enjoy our last day together… but if we see we can create a gap right in the first climb then let’s start that fight for 35th and for a good position in that stage too.
Last gun shot meant last start of the week, we took no risks again and soon came the first climb and who do we caught there, the « 1974 » team of course with one brother being pushed by the other so… « game on » and I guess we won’t get an easy day after all this week. By the way, those brothers « Stu » and « Bru » were very nice guys and good riders so it was not a fight against them but really a fight for 35th overall… what can we say, we are competitors ! Today was also a pushing competition as we knew these guys were helping each other and are pretty good at it too. But the great thing about riding with « feather light Jeff » is that we created a new discpline, it’s not just pushing, it’s called the « Jeff throwing » (in reference to javelin, hammer or discus throw in athletics), I would sometimes sprint back to him at the top of the climbs then accumulate lot of energy in my arm with one hand on his back and then before loosing momentum I would push him as hard as I could to help him get up to fast speeds with as little effort as possible on his knee, that would stop me for a second every time but then I would sprint back on him soon after and protect him from the wind and we would both be at fast speed from there, yeeaaaah ! So I would help Jeff every time we got a chance but everywhere else he was fighting with lot of courage considering his knee was still hurting him pretty bad. He didn’t complain for even a second, he tightened his teeth and worked as hard as he could so that we would keep a perfect memory of our week together and get the result we wanted.
The stage today was not an easy final, the climb in the middle was quite insane, it took us 53mn between bottom to top with a couple of sections we had to walk and most of the rest was very rocky, slow and technical with the smallest gear used most of the time (25×36 for both of us). After that, the downhill was a blast, technical and steep at first and then fast and fun with awsome views on Lourensford where we were heading but also on the ocean in the back. We had to stay focus though and caught some teams in that fast section. Then there was a steep climb again which drove us to awsome singletracks, I mean kilometers of them and we had so much fun out there. We took them on the safe side though with only a few kilometers to go but thanks to great suspension, great wheels and tires and our own « better than average » technical skills we managed to increase the gap with the teams behind us to finish the last ups and downs on our own.
Then came the finish line, lot of emotion to finish together with no mechanical during the week, no big crash (only a small unharmful one for Jeff) and a friendship still intact (actually that grew even more) after our second Cape Epic together. After a couple of pictures and drinks next to the finish line, we didn’t see the « 1974 » team coming in the minutes after our finish and we knew we probably got what we wanted ! Indeed we finished 30th of the stage (best result this week) and ended up 35th in the overall GC with quite a good margin over 36th, we actually are one of the first amateur teams (race number over 100). What an awsome way to finish this second adventure together. That one started hard on me (I was simply not ready) and finished hard on Jeff (with his painful knee) but ended up being even better than the first one, we’ll keep that one with us in our memories forever !
Thanks a lot for following our news here this week. It’s not completely over, within a week or two I will add lot of pictures (that we will buy from Sportograf.com when they become available) and I will also write a bike and nutrition report. I want you to see what we used in term of bike and parts (some parts from sponsors, some parts we paid for) and how those things held up + the nutrition aspects of Cape Epic. We won’t be at the start next year but if our reviews and advices can help future participants I think it is our duty as 4 times and 2 times finishers to write about it. More coming soon then before we close completely that 2013 Cape Epic adventure 😉 !
Picture of the final finish line below, we look tired but I promess you we were very happy and proud on the inside !