Keep an eye on www.fullsus.co.za for daily Cape Epic updates from our eyes and legs in the pack, regular Full Sus contributor Kate Slegrova and Full Sus newbie Rens Rezelman of the Nguni Bulls team.
Kate Slegrova – rider number 53-2:
The race organisers matched me up with Celina Carpinteiro, the Portuguese lady who received a marriage proposal on the finish line of last year’s Epic. She arrived on Thursday, three days before the start. So our first ride together was on Saturday – we went to check out the prologue route, after a busy day of registration and buying last minute supplies.
Celina is a national champ in XCO and a champion on the road. That means her technical skills are great and she’s very strong. I’m very excited to ride with her as I’m hoping she’ll teach me some technical skills as we go.
We had awesome race on the prologue.
We had the advantage of sleeping in until 7am, while others were already on the start line, as our start was at 10:22 only.
The weather was perfect. Meerendal can get very hot so the overcast conditions were really pleasant to ride in. The build-up of nerves before start wasn’t too bad. Celina and I were both in good moods and quite relaxed, all things considered. Celina took the lead after start going first down the Manor House stairs and I went behind her and taking lead later up the first climb where I felt strong. Soon the RECM ladies passed us, as did Pragma ladies and Meerendal’s Esther Suss and Sally Bigham.
I led us onto the steep climb from the old quarry, but Celina passed me half way and took the lead for rest of the stage. I just followed her perfect lines and got pretty out of breath on the last two steep climbs.
Getting back in between the spectators was really cool. We enjoyed the sculpted track filled with lots of fun berms and turns. We powered it down to the finish and really enjoyed the route!
Hearing lots of “Go Kate” being cheered from the spectators from my friends, family and other spectators was great. It adds on the excitement and helps with motivation to push hard.
We were happy to finish in 10th place in ladies category.
Rens Rezelman – rider number 144-2:
Follow Rens’s live ABSA Cape Epic Tracker here.
Prologue done. What a great course. Our tactic was well carried out: take it easy, be safe and have fun.
We’re hoping to start in C batch tomorrow. Fat Bob, Assos Cyclelab, Nguni Bulls and Zone 2 were all within two minutes of each other and we finished in 1 hour 24 minutes and 26 seconds in 182nd place overall and 36th in the Masters category.
From the race village at Arabella Wines:
Righy. So tomorrow (Stage 1) was always going to be a Bastard of a day. It’s tradition on the Epic to quickly filter the pack into those who should be here from those who haven’t prepared properly.
The race briefing is over and we’ve just been informed of an additional 12km thrown into the day… bringing us up to a moderate 113km with three big climbing in the way. Big climbs.
10 hours 15 minutes is the cut-off time and some people will not achieve that. The plan is or none of our group to be there. Nguni Bulls tactic: sit tight. Grind the climbs out. Pace the jeep track. Ride for Tuesday. Eat for Tuesday. My tent is cosy (although I’m blessed to have Americans opposite me. I already know where they’re from; what races they’ve done, etc… and that’s just from unavoidably listening to them talk… loudly!)