Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stage 6

Today's stage was a play day in the mountains. I loved it, and I think Brad did too. It was a day of climbing and descending. The day started with 2 long climbs up Groenlandberg and Die Nek. We had beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and farmland below. It was cool and breezy at the tops of the passes and the grasses that lined the trails were constantly blowing in the wind. The climbs were more gradual than Brad and I anticipated, and we had a great pace going. We had our best day on the bike today and probably our best finish. We finished 6th in the mixed category and 82nd overall. 

A picture our friend Stephen took from the top of one of the mountain passes

The climbing profile for today's stage

Brad and me with our new South African friends and starting line buddies, Alex and Robert.

CTS group with Sipho, the Cape Epic mascot. He pumps us up at the start line each morning and brushes our helmets with his green toilet brush

I can't believe we didn't get a flat tire today. The descents were very steep with very jagged rocks. Unfortunately, it was also the day my suspension decided to stop working. I was literally riding a rigid frame down the mountains. I wanted to murder my bike but decided that would be a bad idea. The entire point of schlepping a full suspension bike to the tops of those climbs is to be able to actually use the suspension for the descents! Jeff knows how mad I get when things like that don't work! A mechanic at the 50km aid station was able to partially fix my problem so I may actually be able to sit on my saddle tomorrow.

Last night, George Hincapie sent us a text about his stage win yesterday. He basically said that they got a small gap on their competitors and "then Cadel went ape shit for the last 30k." With 30k to go today, I asked Brad if he wanted to go ape shit. He initially said no, but then changed his mind at the 20k mark. We charged so hard to the finishing line. I definitely left everything I had out on the course today.

I am really tired right now. I was having trouble concentrating on the last descents today. I think my mind was processing everything 1 second too slowly which led to some near crashes, but I kept it together enough to finish the stage with a clean ride.

Tomorrow is the grand finale! We start an hour later which means an extra hour of sleep tonight. I am really looking forward to that.

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