Stage one of the Cape Epic
Wow, what a day! The start saw us hit up a cobbled climb through a winery before a brief flat section and then yet more climbing, and more, and more…then we were in some awesome singletrack before a long steady climb up to Water Point 1. In between sucking up the pain in my legs as I clung to Shaun’s wheel, I was able to take in the scenery below as we wound our way up the valley. It was sensational and riding in a bunch of guys from all over the world, a new experience for me.
From there it was a hairy tarmac descent and into Water Point 2 for the biggest climb of the day. This was a tough one. Shaun set a solid tempo on the front and I did my best to keep up. This was the hardest point of the race for me and I was begining to wonder what I was getting myself into!
But soon enough we were into some rocky double-track and I felt a little better again. It was a long stage though. At about the 110km mark, over 4 1/2 hours in, we hit a 7km section of rough railway track with sharp rocks and railway sleepers every half-metre. Our bikes bounced around as we grimaced our way through it and hoped it’d be over soon. It wasn’t, it dragged out like nothing else and was damn tough, seeing the smooth road after that hellish section was pure bliss.
So we got through that one and were able to enjoy a short downhill before the finish. What a massive day: 117km and a shade over 5hrs on the bike, bring on day 2!