Friday, March 24, 2017

Stage 5

If yesterday was a road race, today was a mountain bike race! It was probably the most spectacular scenery of the entire race today. Of course, it is also the day I wasn’t able to capture any of it on my GoPro. So I will just have to try to describe the ride today as best I can. I was actually pretty nervous about the stage today because there was so much singletrack, and I wasn’t sure how technical it would be or how well I would be able to keep up with Brad. 

Me and Grant, our bike mechanic from Trail and Tar, before the stage start today. The heat has broken and it was actually quite cool at the start today.

We always line up at the start with a team from South Africa, Alex and Robert, who are really nice and give us tips about the day's stage. Alex makes these front fenders as a hobby and gave me one for my bike which was super nice and helped keep the mud out of my face today.

The combination of ESI grips and Handup gloves have kept my hands blister free this race

The day started off with a bunch of climbing through beautiful craggy mountains with views over the farmland below. Then we started this climb up a mountain pass called white knuckle pass, which was a steep white sandy double track section. The descent off the mountain was like traveling across an alien planet. It was a white sandy rocky mountain side with the remains of charred tree stumps all around from a recent fire. The singletrack sections that followed were pretty fun especially the downhills. Lots of long easy switchbacks and swooping berms. We even came to a section composed of all wooden suspension bridges and ramps. It was like mountain biking on a jungle gym. The trails were really fun, but it was still a hard 5 hour day on the bike. As Brad says, “fun isn’t always easy.” Brad and I are doing a good job of keeping up a consistent pace. My legs actually feel really good on the bike, but the fatigue is definitely starting to sink in. When my alarm went off this morning, it felt like I hadn’t slept at all.

Here is the official Cape Epic video of some of the landscapes we biked through today. Just imagine 2 people in green jerseys cycling along well behind the pros.

I did make 2 silly mistakes today. The first was trying to mount my GoPro on my handlebars instead of the seat post to try and capture a different view of the race. Everything was going all fine until the mount slide down on the tapered part of the bars and the camera started flopping around. Then it completely fell off on one of the steep rocky downhills. I had to make a split second decision. Stop and go get it or keep racing and leave it on the trail. I decided to go get it. Luckily it was only about 20 feet back up the trail. I grabbed it, stuffed it in my pocket and was back on my bike pretty quickly pedaling to make up for lost time. Hopefully Brad isn't too mad at me.

The second mistake was wiping out in one of the sandy singletrack corners. It didn’t hurt, my bike was fine, I was up and back riding quickly, but of course I landed on the same knee that has been injured since Monster Cross and skinned all the newly healed skin right off. Oh well. It is the knee that will never be healed. Or at least the knee that will have the most impressive scar.

My poor knee that never gets a chance to heal
Tomorrow is the Queen Stage and will probably be the toughest one yet. 103km and 2750m of climbing; the most climbing of any stage yet. 


  1. Hey take it easy on that knee, you're going to need it to coast through WC next weekend!

  2. Thanks for sharing the Stage 5 video. I love seeing the types of terrain and the view that you are cycling through. I know y'all killed stage 6 and hope you enjoy your last day tomorrow. Proud of you guys!