News contributor Greg Gibson is currently racing the Cape Epic in South Africa.
The Cape Epic is widely regarded as the toughest MTB stage race on the planet.
This year's Cape Epic features a seemingly endless list of MTB celebrities
including: Olympic medalists, World Champions, National Champions, World Cup
Champions, and on and on.
as Greg checks in after each stage sharing the pain and joy that go along with
a week-long stage race.
competing in the Open Men's category with his brother Charlie. Together they
make up team TruckerCo.com.
The 8th and final day of the Cape Epic was around 40 miles and around 3
hours. The shorter day made for some faster speeds and more interesting
attacks. The Cape Epic is often said to be the Tour De France of mountain
While we approached everyday with the goal of having the best overall
time on the GC it was interesting to see the pros going for stage wins.
The day before Jose Hermida and Ralph Naef won a stage, we spotted them
spinning through the stage further back in the back. Other pro teams went for
mid stage money sprints and fell back in the pack.
After finishing we got to see the action we missed during the race on
the local television channels. It has been fun to see the race both from within
and from the spectator view.
One of the most amazing things about the Cape Epic is how the 1,000 +
amateur riders get to line up and mingle with the worlds top professionals in
the sport. All the riders, regardless of category, are over pampered by the
Absa Epic staff.
A typical day for a rider more closely resembles a 5 star accommodation
(when not riding of course) than your typical mountain bike race. Facilities
are clean and well organized.
You are awawkened in your own tent with mostly good music to
get you going. It is usually a short walk to the dining tent for a full
breakfast. My favorite breakfast item was the muesli. After chowing, you
retrieve your bike from the secure bike park. After getting dressed
you throw everything else in your race bag and give it to the "Baggies"
to be transported to the next stage. You will then usually lube your
chain one last time and begin staging for the start.
When crossing the finish line each afternoon, your bike is taken, washed, and placed in the bike park.
You are then over-fed with all kinds of food and drink. After retrieving
your race bag it is a short walk to find a tent and hit the showers. The
showers are hot, but you will most likely want them cold at this point. After a
shower, my favorite place to chill was the Absa Capital VIP lounge, a big tent
with leather couches and beanbags. Free ice cream and drinks are served from a
bar. Riders can have a massage at very reasonable prices or have their bikes
serviced for a nominal fee.
Chow time in the dining tent doubles as entertainment, awards, and
rider's meeting for the next day. All the facilities are kept clean and
While most stage races have complicated travel and hotel issues, the
compactness and organization of the mobile race village helps keep rider
stress levels low.
The lottery for the 2012 race closes May 30th. You can also apply for a
wild card entry or purchase a charity entry. 2012 registration info can be
found at www.Cape-Epic.com.
Team TruckerCo.com finished in 34th place in the Men's category
Team CF with
Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yaeger took 8th in the Ladies divison
Team Jamis with Jason Sager and Ben Sonntag finished in 17th