Stage 2 Results round-up:
Stage 2, day 3 (93KM - 2200m Elevation- Saronsberg to Saronsberg) was less of a brute than stage 1, but only just, which is reflected in the times. There were very few 'easy' km today, much of the pedalling on single-track trails, up and down, requiring intense efforts on certain sections: to keep the tyres from losing traction on the way up and intense bike handling on the way down. The final descent towards the final few flat kms was intense. A super long rocky technical single-track descent was hard on the hands, littered with sharp rocks ready to puncture tyres of the over zealous.
The scenery today though was just spectacular as the trails wound their way around the higher reaches of the hills with views of the valleys below.
Stuart is pushing hard to get the job done, the heat is his nemesis, but we are moving up the leader board!
Full results here https://www.cape-epic.com/fans/hall-of-fame/results
Bit of a mix up in the Men's race today. Anything can happen in a stage race, even at the pointy end. Topeak Ergon of Lakata and Hynek coming in 9th due to unfortunate mishap with Lakata's shoe. The buckle broke early on in the race and he couldn't fix so had to use one of Kleinhans spare shoes from off the support truck. A puncture later on also slowed them again. The Novus OMX Pro pairing of Martin and Weber were having a great ride for 6th. The Bulls team of Platt and Huber get 2nd but retain their 1st overall, giving them a 6th over all in GC. Whilst the Cannondale pairing of Fumic and Avancini break into the top 5.
For the 1st time the women have had a separate start, 10 minutes in front of the men, allowing the competition between them to be more intense - which has been reflected in the results. The lead changed a few times in the day with Topeak Ergon leading late into the stage, but were over taken on the long descent back to the finish.
Spur Specialized pipped Topeak Ergon of Bigham and Morath to the post by just 45 seconds, with Sport for Health only 3 minutes behind and the winners of the prologue Ascendis Health a minute behind them. Meerandal Wheeler with Esther Suss and Brit Catherine Williamson are doing well in 5th.
In the mixed, the all French Open Kappius Componenets team of Bossler and Bourdon dominate again to take an overall lead of 30 minutes.
In the Masters, CST Superior Brentjens take a strong win today by 10 minutes putting them in 3rd, the all RSA team of White Inc sit in 1st overall. Us Momsen boys broke into the top 10 with a 9th place finish.
Team Momsen UK report (Stage 2)
Yesterdays tough stage had all but finished me off, to be honest I was pretty disappointed, I feel I can suffer with the best of them but with the heat blazing down and a profile that made you work for every kilometre I had crumbled. Able to keep going but it was not a triumphant all conquering Stu the rolled across the line, all I could hope for was a slightly less horrific profile and a little mercy from the weather gods…or heres a thought, how about just the odd tree to shelter under here and there?
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint, this is a small cry for help!
We lined up, as with all races and especially multi days, you can but hope the legs fire, I’m afraid this is no exact science and to my huge relief all seemed to work just swimmingly and we thundered out of Saronsberg a modicum of self preservation entering the A bunch with less of the late braking stupidity of yesterday, its ‘8 days of courage’ people, not ‘4 seconds of insanity’!
Exiting the farms that dot the low lands you are again given a lift by the school kids, supporters and land owners yelling encouragement, the resident stunt flying helicopter pilot sweeping along to the left of us makes you feel like you are a part of something rather special, though quite how the guy manages to go backwards and sort of sideways without dropping the cameraman into a field I have no idea, good thing he’s only about 5 metres off the ground I guess, remarkable skills.
We pushed into the base of the first big climb, Scott happy to let me set the pace and offering encouragement, all is well. Wham! The rocky single track bites and pitches up, its ratcheting gears and scrambling for some space time, we had found a vacuum that meant we could ride onto the wheels of the guys ahead and not feel like we were being held up. Unfortunately there is always a rider who loses concentration, just one dab on a rock and the ripple hits the whole line, damn!
Summiting this beast was an achievement, mostly we had been in the shadow of the mountain so for us this was a bonus. I can honestly say the next 40km rolled together so well I was allowing myself to be a little more confident, we had linked up with some flying French Masters and two South Africa Masters teams that were only too happy to share the workload. We kept popping in and out of single track sections, flowing tracks that never seemed to end but again, you get cocky, things take a turn south.
Rocks, the unrelenting rocks, how on earth some teams are on hard tails I have no idea but our French compatriots were soon being quite literally bucked off their bikes and considering both these chaps were not exactly heavy weights I could see both of them taking some serious hits. But on we rolled, hitting a dusty path it was like a scene out of Mad Max, I honestly couldn’t see a thing bar dust, it really must be a sight to behold!
[caption id="attachment_14171" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Nicola Rohrbach and Matthias Pfommer of Centurion Vaude by Meerendal 2 during stage 2 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Saronsberg Wine Estate in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 15th March 2016
Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS[/caption]
It can be a lonely place on the stage, best find a train or best dig in and get it done
After the last official water point we were lying around 7th, this was no small feat, this was more the pace I would race a one day at than a multi and the warning lights began to come on, not now please! We had to push to the top of a lunar ridge, I tried to take in some scenery but this lasted about a second, Scott could see me dragging my heals and was quick to give me a shove. Ah yes, that controversial chestnut, team assistance, some people have pretty strong views on pocket holding and pushing, it's a marathon thing. Well here's how I see it, define ‘teamwork’, thanks.
Soon I was needing a regular pocket grab just to get over the umpteenth undulation, Scott was there anytime I needed a pull, it's a fine art, two riders tend to follow each other on rutted roads but this was a case of Scott taking the bad line and me taking the path of least resistance!
Finally! The descent, but when they say ‘wagon trail’ in the race manual you would expect a wagon to actually be capable of going down the thing, maybe they had skinnier wagons around these parts? The Wagon Trail was a brutal affair, lots and lots of rocks and enough dust to choke you up one more time while coating dangers and dusting slippery boulders. The big run offs were awesome, we were holding position nicely and I was feeling partially recovered.
[caption id="attachment_14172" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Adrian Enthoven (L) and Nic White (R) during stage 2 of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Saronsberg Wine Estate in Tulbagh, South Africa on the 15th March 2016
Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS[/caption]
The ‘Wagon Trail’, tough wagons out here, look a lot like bicycles too
No sooner had this joyous moment of zen been achieved than I was cast into a pit of pain and agony, the last 6km felt like a marathon in themselves and as if by tradition I had to yell out the marathon racers final kilometre yell ‘WHERE IS THIS ******* FINISH!’ Oh, there it is, brilliant!
Alas we slipped to 9th or 10th in Masters but that still felt fantastic, top ten, get in! I was decimated, Scott was a silent killer today, determined and watchful, he knew this had taken a lot out of me and shovelled the recovery drinks into me, this is what makes this racing great and this is where bonds are made, admittedly they can be very broken by tomorrow!
So as the sun sets on another beautiful and brutal day at the Absa Cape Epic, I do my usual camp chores with a large degree of trepidation of what lays ahead and massive sense of contentment, a friend I grew up with mentioned ‘you are truly crazy, but you look truly happy’ yep, this is my happiness, painful as it may be!
[caption id="attachment_14173" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Lady of Saronsberg, silently watching the carnival, must say its very hard to race in a place that makes some of the best wine in the world![/caption]