Absa Cape Epic Stage 2
It’s hard to look very far beyond the conditions when talking about today’s stage. The Absa Cape Epic is associated with heat and dust; but even in South Africa, it sometimes rains! And boy did it rain, all through the night and into the morning.
New stage winners in Men, with Topeak-Ergon’s Mennen and Hynek coming out on top. And in the Women’s event, RECM pulled some time back on Meerendal’s Suss and Bigham.
The photos of the day hopefully speak for themselves.
Team Open-Rotor-Asterion’s race
Good days and bad days are an intrinsic part of stage racing. And they are one of the things that make races like the Absa Cape Epic such an interesting challenge. You can never tell when the bad days are going to turn up. At the front of the race, good days might result in stage wins, but it’s avoiding bad days that could win the GC; certainly, one bad day can lose it.
Not that we’re contesting stage wins or the overall, but at our own level of competition, the challenge is the same – avoid the bad days, hope for some good ones. Unfortunately today was one of the bad ones, at least for me. Unexplained stomach cramps overnight left me feeling as weak as the proverbial kitten, and unable really to eat very much at breakfast, and then totally unable to handle anything apart from Coke during the stage. Not a healthy way to go about riding 100km.
Heroic team-mate Jeff took on the task of nursing me through the full six+ hours; the occasional burst of good humour, but not forced; some pushes on the climbs, and plenty of pulling on the flat. Plus fixing my puncture when my frazzled self was unable to dodge a hole and pinch flatted the rear tyre.
Officially my second-worst ever day on the bike (beaten into second place only by the queen stage of the 2010 Transalp with even worse stomach problems). Needless to say, plenty of places lost – it was pretty dispiriting to see all shapes and sizes of rider breezily overtaking all day.