I decided to not write a traditional report on the Epic as it could become a bit long and maybe boring. During the Epic week I gave you snippets of how long and tough each day can be especially when Mother Nature decides to throw a curve ball to a ridiculously tough course already. I do question at times where does Dr Evil find some of the ‘roads’ we ride on.
I instead wanted to write about some of the different aspects of the race, a more ‘behind the scenes’ look at the race if you will, something you may not see on the daily highlights package.
The Epic vibe is awesome. Quote this. 🙂 In ten years’ time on some of the major climbs of the epic we are going to see 100+ people lining the slopes. Granted there were a couple of thousand people at the prologue (where I thought I had rewound a week and was back in Pietermaritzburg at the World Cup), compared to when I last rode the epic in 2010 there are much more people at the spectator points and out in what feels like the middle of nowhere supporting the riders. If you were one of these people thank you very much. I know we didn’t always acknowledge you, sometimes we were k@kking off, but thank you very much. Your support is incredible en ons waardeer dit!
The pro’s bikes are meticulously prepared. Our first camp was in Robertson and for two nights we stayed next door to the Topeak Ergon Pro team. After every stage their mechanics would literally strip their entire bikes, clean, re-grease, check for wear and rebuild them. To give you an idea of this, after the second stage the mechanic took apart the front shock, thoroughly examined it, changed the oil and seals and rebuilt it. They also changed tyres almost every day when to the normal rider there would seem to be nothing wrong with them.
Cool people do the Epic. In general there are cool people associated with mountain biking and I have made some of my best friends through the sport. As I mentioned earlier our camper was parked next to Alban Lakata(Topeak Ergon) for two nights in Robertson, what a cool guy. For those not in the know he is a legend in marathon mount ain bike racing and a former world champion. This same guy was camping next to us and was down to earth and super friendly.
We were fortunate enough to be in the ‘A’ group every morning and would line up alongside numerous world and national champions every day, all friendly guys and girls and all sharing a laugh or a smile. Don’t get me wrong when the gun goes things get serious out there!
Behind the scenes is where the difference is made I have some huge thank you’s to say here. To Sean for sponsoring my whole Epic and without his backing I wouldn’t have been on the start line. Staying in the camper definitely made life a bit easier. One day I’ll have to do a ‘real’ Epic and stay in the tents. To those of you that did, I think you’re pretty hard core. Tash and Mike: our awesome support crew. I couldn’t begin to list how much they did for us without filling another two pages of sentences. Their help and support made the world of difference to our Epic and I am so grateful. To Caryn for the massages, strapping and listening our bitching every day and finally to Luke for looking after our bikes.
Finishing at Lourensford is amazing. Our finish to the Epic involved a dice in the last few km’s with two other teams which we managed to get the better of, it made it that bit more satisfying. Riding the last few hundred metres on the green grass fields at Lourensford with hundreds of spectators lining the chute was an amazing experience and it was great to soak up the atmosphere after a very tough week on the bike.
All images credit: Sportograf.com
3oth Senior Men
11th African Team