Cape Epic - Stage 4
The queen stage
Just over 12 hours after finishing yesterday’s stage; I am still no closer to processing possibly one of the hardest days on any bike; the guillotine of the 10 hour cut-off seemed to rush inexorably closer; personally the saving grace being the long road climb up Bains Kloof; where we set a pace and hauled in the kms.
My fear is I won’t be able to explain how tough and demanding this event is; the testing nature of changing surfaces, of relentless single track riding where those around (including me) are forced to dismount, sometimes forcibly by the terrain itself...... I am sure it was not the case but at moments it felt like I walked 10km of the 111km.... and there were others in the same boat- and then again there was the chance to see the ease and control with which more skilled riders handled the terrain.
To put in context we started over an hour behind the pro’s; they finished as we entered feed station 1.... so a dual track start, onto sand that grabs your wheels, and then onto single track which probably made up 50% of the route... onward upward then dropping down over little wooden bridges, climbing what seems like a downhill MTB course.... and the heat!
After 9.5 hrs a relief to be in before cut off but the relentless sense of pressure; the tight muscles..... onward!