Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The 2012 Cape Epic - By Jarrod "Buzz" Crosby

The Cape Epic is oftern termed "the Paris Dakkar on Mountain Bikes. It is a demanding eight day mountain bike adventure of 780km with 16 300m of climbing from Durbanville to Lourensford in the beautiful, yet rugged Western Cape region 100k outside of Cape Town in South Africa.

Roelof who is one of the Manly Boys
racing the Epic in 2011. Roelof is giving us plenty
of tips for the race!
The route, which changes significantly each year, will lead 1200 participating athletes, world champions and dedicated amateurs through vast distances of challenging terrain. With its exhilarating landscapes, the stage locations of Robertson, Caledon and Oak Valley await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world, before riders again finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate, as has been tradition since 2007.

For the fourth time in the Absa Cape Epic’s history, riders will compete in a prologue. A common feature in grand road cycling tours, the prologue on the Meerendal Wine Estate just outside Durbanville, will allow spectators to see teams race against the clock. This showcase event will decide the teams start order

Where's my tent again??
The Cape Epic route designer, Leon Evans or as he is best known amongst riders, Dr Evil, has managed the perfect balance between exciting trails, challenging terrain and wider vistas in the pursuit of the ultimate mountain biking experience.”
Says Leon Evans, aka Dr Evil: “There are no easy days in this race. Registration day is easy and the Monday after the race is easy. Anyone who thinks there’s anything easy about the Absa Cape Epic, is a fool. My job is to make sure that no rider, in any previous edition of the race, can say ‘the 2012 Epic riders had it easy’.”

With this as a backdrop, we have decided to enter the 2012 Cape Epic!

Roelof adn Paris tasting success in the 2011 race
The journey for this great race and adventure started back in 2011. My now partner in the race Mike Foster (Fozz) threw a bait out to our riding crew saying he had secured a race entry in the lottery system for the Cape Epic. He needed a race partner and it just so happened that I was going to be over there watching this race that I knew nothing about as my girlfriend and now Fiancé was doing the race with her brother. It would be my first time to South Africa and a trip I was really looking forward to.

I was an AFL footballer turned road cyclist in my retirement from footy. I thought how hard can the transition be to mountain bike as well and my form on the road wasn't too bad given I had only be doing it for a couple of years. I put my hand up and said Fozz I'm in!!

So it was done. it looked like we were going to do this Cape Epic race in South Africa. As time went by I began to learn more about it and was wondering what I may be getting myself into.........

In the end we pulled the pin on 2011 for various reasons and one being Fozz wanted to celebrate his 50th year on this planet by doing the Absa Cape Epic 2012. After watching first hand the 2011 edition of the race with my beautiful Fiancé Christelle Van Niekerk racing with her brother Ben Van Niekerk, I wanted in. It from what I could see, was a massive, professional production of an 8 stage Mountain Bike race in the amazing wine regions around Cape Town South Africa. I wanted to take the challenge and I wanted to do it with someone who would complement yet challenge me. Anyone who rides or races with or against him knows that he may be 50, but he shows no signs of slowing and can smoke most riders 10,20,30 years younger. Mike Fozzy Foster is the CEO of Fujitsu Australia and works like a dog, sleeps little, tries to satisfy his 2 busy kids and wife and manages to get up at 5am and smack us all on the group rides each morning.

tough race!
I had my work cut out for me if I was going to come up to par and be a valuable part of the team. I did my first ever 50km MTB race on the last day of the 2011 Epic at the finish line in Lourensford winery. It almost killed me, my core gave way around 35km I had serious back pain, my legs had blown up and I thought, get me back on the road PLEASE. I have now completed my first 100km MTB race in the Highland Fling. That is nothing compared to what we are about to embark on but I now know what we are up against. There will be plenty of hurt ahead and I am sure we will be a great team.

It just so happens that I'm getting married to that crazy Safa Christelle, 3 days after the race in a town she raced through last year during the Epic. Funny how it all works out. Christelle will be the spectator this year and fingers crossed.... I roll up to our wedding in the unbroken form :-) Can't wait for both in March/April 2012

To do a race like the Epic, you need sponsors. We needed to get some generous people or companies to support us with either sponsorship money or product. My good friend George Markos was the first person I approached. He had started a new business called Spectrum Natural. Health products based around the famous Tea Tree. George without hesitation has become our major sponsor for our cause and holds centre stage on our race kit. Keep your eyes out for these emerging products and be sure to give them a go

The race is done in teams of two. Buzz and I cant be more than
2 mins from each other for 8 days!!!
Our great mate Kable Mitchell from KMD Designs put out his feelers with Chris Reynolds from Champion Systems Australia. One of the biggest suppliers of custom made cycling, Triathlon and general sports clothing. Given each team needs to ride in the same kit we wanted to have a special edition for the Cape Epic that advertised Australia and all our great sponsors in this International race. Chris generously helped said yes to Mitch and helped us out with what I think is the best fitting and most comfortable kit going around, check them out at http://www.champ-sys.com.au/

I knew I needed a new MTB and it had to be a 29'r. Our good mates at Hampton cycles in Melbourne run a fantastic Specialized concept store and namely Damien Jones the owner and gun cyclist in his own right was the man that would help me out and Foz as well. Hampton Cycles are in the top 5 sellers of Specialized in Australia and have a massive cult following in Melbourne. I made the trip to Mebourne as both Foz and I do on a regular basis and picked out a new Epic comp carbon while Foz ended up with the top of the line S-Works. Awesome bikes and to go with it to help the KMD out he sponsored us with new s-works shoes and helmets. Check them out http://www.hamptoncycles.com.au/

Foz was on the case as well and managed to secure some great sponsors in Fujitsu, Cisco, and Symantec. We will use the internet to keep everyone up to date with how we are going at the end of each stage/day.

Cisco are the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. You can find them at http://www.cisco.com/

Symantec are the largest makers of security software for computers, they are perhaps best known for their Norton anti virus software. Check them out, they may just save you some grief with your computer and keep you up and running when it counts. http://www.symantec.com/

The man behind the road team of KMDracing.com Daniel Wright has started his own great cycling business called The Fixed Wheel supplying the everyday cyclist with everything they need. From mobile servicing, (yes that's right, he'll come to you, your business, home etc and service your bike,) to top of the range bikes - he sells ONLY top quality second hand road and MTB bikes as well as new bikes, along with servicing in store and stocks all sorts of great cycling products. If you want the best service you'll ever get on your bike, drop in and see Daniel and his crew in Manly, Foz and I do for all our cycling needs. http://www.thefixedwheel.com.au/

There will be plenty of this!

The wheel man that has supplied our bulletproof wheel sets at more than mates rates Nick Both of WheelsbyBosch is a gun wheel builder at more than reasonable costs. Mountain bike, road or Triathlon deep dish wheels he has it all covered and custom for you. Find him at http://www.wheelsbybosch.com,au/

A massive thank you to all our generous sponsors and we hope to do all or supporters proud and give the sponsors some great exposure. Please visit their sites or shops and support them with some great products to offer.

The race is drawing close and we still have some solid training to get in the legs before we hit the start time. The blog has begun and there will be some stories to follow so keep the computer on you never know when we will shoot out an update,

Hear a little about our other Manly mates and competitors John Miller and Mark Hardy who are also on the mill training hard to try to keep up with team KMD...........NEXT TIME

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