We arrived a few days early to get settled
in, shake off the jet lag, and acclimatize a little.
Unfortunately, the weather was cool up until
prologue day. It was the first hot day we had and it was hot! We were able to
do a little pre riding on the 27K prologue course. The course not only
had some steep climbing but also had a few nasty singletrack descents.
Our tactic for the day was to stay clean and
not crash. In the end it was the heat that really bothered us. We both felt
very comfortable racing on the techy stuff and at the end of the day we were a
bit surprised with how well we actually did, 38th.
Considering we held back a little to prepare
for the long days to come we were pleased. A few of the other north
Americans also faired quite well.
The CF girls Selene Yeager and Cheryl
Sornson (Team CF) from Pennsylvania had a good day and felt right at home on the
technical terrain. The German American duo of Jason Sager and Ben Sonntag (Jamis) are our best hopes for a top finish coming in about 7 minutes down from stage
winners Sauser and Stander.
Today's stage, #1, was not too long compared to what is to come but it certainly
was no walk in the park. The climbs were steep and the pace was fast.
I feel a little spoiled, the Cape Epic
organizers do an amazing job taking care of the riders here. This event
feels more like a vacation most of the time rather than a race, that is, until
we start racing.
Today started on flat roads for about 10 K
before we hit the climbs. Everybody is gunning for the front. The pace these
guys ride on the flat is ungodly. We fell back, way back in the beginning.
Chuck was riding very strong and as the race progressed he pulled us closer to
We are learning the Euros who make up most of
the field are super fit and furious but more fit than they are skilled, we seem
to make most of our time when the trail goes up or down, and the rougher
However, better is a relative term, we are
both talking about buying full suspension bikes now. Tire selection seems
to be a key component at Cape Epic. I believe you have to run a heavier casing
and higher psi just to get through the day. We are rolling some new
Reynolds carbon 29 rims that seem to absorb a little more vibration. The rims
also have a wide flat surface on the top of the bead that make a wider platform
to resist pinch flats.
We are fortunate that we didn't have any
technical issues and feel super confident in our equipment.
At the end of today we finished about where
expected, Chuck is a smart rider and helps me resist the temptation to chase
and attack the other teams. Our plan is ride our own race and see how it all
pans out when we have the 150k stages later in the week.
After the race, climbing
specialist Blake Harlan, coming off a win at the at the Trans Andes,
commented on the difficulty of the climbs on the day. We are all in
awe and fear of what is yet to come.