Saturday, 27 March 2010
Absa Cape Epic Stage 7
Day 7 of 8 and i can't eat. Most of us simply sat, staring at our breakfasts. I have blisters on my palms and fingers and have worn through the grips on my Specialized. I've cut holes in my shoes, cut the fingers off my gloves and cut the elastic off my jersey sleeves. I've erased all graphic elements from my saddle and worn the paint from the rails.
Despite daily massages, my legs are siezing up and worst of all, every effort is countered by a gut wrenching stomach cramp.
It is however, easy to look past all of this when you are reminded of how exciting it is to take part in the only HC mountain bike race. The only other races with Hors Categorie status are the 3 Grand Tours. On the start line are the top ten that you would expect at any World Cup race. Then there is the world class race village which houses and feeds 1200 racers with a Medi Centre -the queue for which was about 30 people this morning, though i don't know how many were waiting for the Bum Doctor (later found out is was 60 people, all queuing for the bum-doctor) which at any given point has at least 5 or 6 guys on a drip.
Then, all the race action is covered for South African tv by some dare-devil in a Robinson helicopter -he's pretty handy with it as well!
Today's and yesterday's stages were utter purgatory for me. I ate a handful of jelly-baby type sweets and that was it. 100-odd kilometres and 2000 plus metres of climbing saw me blow my doors off completely -a daily occurance now.
Funny thing is though, after 7 days (45hrs) of racing, sometimes you think you are creeping along but you look down and see that you're in your second highest gear and cranking out 30kph...
After over 6hrs in the saddle, we were treated to some of the best singletrack i've ever ridden and we even got entangled in some sprint action running up to the line!