Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Team KMD straight after we finish (taken from my Go Pro)
We awake to a beautiful crisp sunny morning with no breeze. 

Today is the last stage. After a prologue, and 7 stages of racing over 800km of rocky trails, up mountains, down mountains, across ridge lines, semi arid deserts, winery's, apple orchards, we "only" have a 65km stage from Oak Valley Winery in Elgin to Lourensford in the next valley.  Nearly 85% of the field is still in the race, so out of 1200 riders at the start, there are just over 1000 left to ride this last stage. I must admit, I seem to have noticed  a lot of fresh arms and collarbones in slings over the past week, as falls are the main reason teams have to pull out.
Mark shows the strain of the week!

On the start line there is a feeling of light heartedness and almost relief as riders sense that barring one final mishap, they will see the finish of the largest and toughest mountain bike stage race in the world.  Jarrod and I get into our "usual" spot of just behind the pro's to take advantage of the fast start. We seem to be getting stronger as the week has progressed and our bodies have held up reasonably well. I have a very sore back, saddle sores that I cant describe!, and my hands cant pick anything up as they are so tired from holding the handlebars and brakes for 35 odd hours, and double blisters on the back of each heel that are as deep as a golf bunker!  But we are looking for a good last stage.

Part of the Field watching the Aerobatics
The music is blaring just before the start and the South African Red Bull areobatic Champion comes spinning over the top of us at 100m in height 3mins before the start. The adrenilin is pumping as the starter fires the gun.  The start doesnt seem as fast or as hectic  as previous days and Buzz and I hold  our position

reasonably well. I am feeling much better than yesterday and are keen to get the gas on, especially over the 3 main climbs that come in the first 25k today. Buzz is a little flat and is looking to find his legs, so he tucks in behind me.  We ride our own pace, and at this stage of the race, know what teams we can pull back over the stage and those we wont. As we hit the only drink station for the day at the 35k mark, most of the climbing is over and it is a 30k blast to the finish. Buzz's legs come good and we take it in turns "swapping off",

Buzz showing his adept bike handling skills
on one of the climbs
We start moving through the field, catching teams that have gone out to hard early and are now paying the price. We see the 10k to go sign, then the 5k, then the 1k to go. Both of us are yelling with excitement as we are going to not only finish the race, but also have our best stage result. We come into the finishing chute at full throttle, with thousands of people lining the chute, cheering. The announcer is saying over the top of all the music and noise, “ here comes Team KMD Racing from Australia, who have been strong all week….go Aussies !!”. We roll over the line, jubilant, excited, happy and relieved. It is quite an emotional moment, and one made better as you do it with a team mate that you have spent every moment with over the last 8 days, and you respect him more at the end than the start! Jarrod and I teamed extremely well together, similarly matched in style, fitness, riding ability and temperament. This race is a great lesson in what being a team really means.

We pose for photos and get our finishing medals. Christelle (Jarrod’s fiancée), her family and Jarrods Parents are all there , as I have done my bit, getting Jarrod to the finish in one piece, ready for his wedding this Wednesday!!

We are 58th on the stage, our best result for the week and finish the race in 92nd place on the GC overall. The time lost with my broken chain on stage 3 has cost us dearly in the GC, and if we had of not had it and got the 80mins back that it took us to fix it, we would have finished around 65th-70th overall. Not a bad result!!

We spend the afternoon in the sun, eating and having a few beers. Johnny and Mark also have a good result on the stage and come in around 110th place and around 150th overall in the GC.

For some it’s off to a wedding, but unfortunately for me, it’s back to work. I am now in JoBurg at the airport in transit back to Oz.

So that’s it from the Cape Epic. It was an epic week with a tough race. I loved every second of it.

Thanks to our sponsors, Champion Systems, (who make bullet proof kit!), Cisco, Symantec, The Fixed Wheel, Hampton Cycles, Specialized, Spectum Natural, and ZeBosch Wheels.

We have a heap of Go Pro Video footage that I will be posting on You Tube once I edit it, so watch out for it on channel Fozzyaabb

So only one question remains to be answere, because know I am going to be asked……..Would I do it again?

My Answer: There are somethings in life that should only be experienced ONCE!!!

1 comment:

  1. Mike, what an amazing read. You write pretty well for a CEO ;-)
    Some of those days sounded unbelievably hard and horrendously difficult.
    Glad you did not get picked up by the grim reaper.
    Wonder how you refuelled at the end of each stage to get your body weight back to a reasonable level and also what was your body weight difference between start and finish of the race?