John Speed, our guest contributor, is out racing in the elite men category, riding to raise money for the JAG foundation. This is his first Cape Epic experience and first stage race, emulating my first stage race experience back in 2006 with Matt Carr, the 3rd edition of the Cape Epic. The stunning scenery and riding hasn't changed, but the scale of the race has. The race is certainly an epic ride through amazing landscapes and definitely one for the bucket list.
Here are John's daily race experiences.
Such a great way to start a stage race. Individually announced teams off the start ramp for the TT.
Prologue day of the Cape epic, 20km with 600m of climbing! For me this is my first ever event like this and the first time I get to ride with my race partner? after my previous partner fell in training, damaging his shoulder.
We were up very early for a 7.15am start, but in some ways that was good as the temperature was cool and weather overcast.
We started with a climb straight away which warmed up the legs working hard riding up towards Table Mountain, so a fantastic feeling just to be a part of this event. Nerves had settled a little as we climbed up to Dead Man's pass. Named as such for a reason? Epic riding from the first stage!
As we approached the final steep ascent we were working well together as a team, passing quite a few riders but making sure we weren't pushing to hard. Now for some hard earned descending. Fantastic tight singletrack which took out many riders due to the rocks and loose terrain.
The descent was claiming many victims, steep, loose and rocky. Surviving that, it was onto more fast flowing singletrack back the the UCT university and the prologue was almost done. The roll back to the start was still along some superb trails, across bridges. People lining the finish cheered us in. What a fantastic feeling.
We came in the top 300 overall which we were pleased with for the day of my first stage race.
Tomorrow the big days begin. 113km 2800m of climbing.