The penultimate stage six of the Absa Cape Epic was an 85km loop around the Elgin valley.
Okay, we’re on the home straight now. There is just one more day of racing/riding/meandering to get through, from Elgin, over Nuweberg and down into Somerset West and on to the finish line at Lourensford.
We can’t wait. We’ve had fun, but there is a Groundhog Day-like monotony that we are keen to break. Up at 5am, don lycra, cram down oats and almonds (who ever really feels like eating at that time of day?), nature break in a porta-loo, into the start chute, shivering in the cold, by 6.45am, ride, hurt, consume Coke and expensive ride concoctions, eat fruit cake at the water stops … etc, then later sitting at a laptop to bash out a missive, beer, wine … okay, actually this all sounds awesome. Perhaps we should just keep going?
When we escaped the Cape Epic race village to eat and sleep in Bot River last night, it felt like we’d left behind a lunatic asylum and were allowed to mingle with normal people, just briefly. Then back to the start chute this morning. It was a shock to the system.
But Saturday's ride was incredible. Stage six, the penultimate stage of the race, was an 85km loop around the Elgin valley. From the wine estates of Oak Valley, Paul Cluver, Thandi, through Houw Hoek, up over Lebanon forest station and back, the farmers have built rollercoaster-like trails, over bridges, down peaks, criss-crossing narrow kloofs and through a heady new bike park at Paul Cluver.
Finally, after six days of riding we have found our groove. Finally, without any mechanical issues, we got to see a reasonable result. We put our heads down and attacked the single track, passing loads of teams in the last third of the stage, a great feeling.
One last ride and some bodily aches and pains are all that lie between us and Lourensford tomorrow. We hope our good run continues so we can meet our families nice and early and enjoy a good couple of beers.