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Greg Gibson's Cape Epic Report Prologue and Stage 1

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |March 30, 2011 10:13 PM
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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 the front. 

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 the better.  

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.



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