We are 25km into Stage 4 of the Absa Cape Epic and my heart rate is near maxed out as today’s stage is not only one for good riding but also for race tactics. 2 kilometers ago we head to make the decision to ride up a climb with a group way faster than what we should be riding and therefore have a train to ride with in the long 5km flat bit to water point one or go easy on the climb but therefore face the headwinds on our own. It all sounds so nice and pretty but at this point we had already ridden 25 kilometers above our usual speed as it was a flat start to the stage.
Now I am sitting here with 5km to go until the first water point and while my pulse is beating through my eyeballs Stefan clearly has a moment of great legs and decides to attack the group ahead of us. He is on fire like a race horse chasing the carrot and while he is slowly closing the gap I decided to not yet throw in the towel but after a quick calculation of potential energy reserves I decided I can hang on by a thread until he catches the group. As he rides up to the rear wheel of the group I have this brief moment if relief and happiness. Just a split second though until Stefan pulls out to the right and decided to destroy this group as well….
It must be about 5km later that I finally regain vision and see other things than just dust and a wheel and we head on at top speed to water point 2 at KM60. A quick refill costs us our group but the following climbing and single trails – today’s stage is 112km with 2100 meters of climbing brings the other riders back in sight and with a strong push on the final climbs we pass another roughly 10-15 teams before descending into Oak Valley to finish an awesome day on the bike. The longest I’ve ever ridden on a MTB.
3 Stages left but with the King Stage still waiting for us!