I hope you’ve been enjoying the live feeds, updates, Instagram photos, Tweets, Facebook coverage, etc. etc., from the ABSA Cape Epic this week. I say “enjoying” – it’s a particular type of “enjoyment” when you’re stuck at your desk (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) or up late at night at home (southern hemisphere). It’s particular because it’s thoroughly vicarious – a bunch of people are having an amazing time, pushing themselves to the limit in a fantastic event, while you’re stuck back in normal life, just dreaming of doing the same.
The Epic is particularly good at this stuff; no other event manages to deliver quite the quantity or quality of media material. There’s a live video feed from the finish line, so you can see the dust, fatigue, joy, pain, relief, or any assortment of other emotions and sensations, on the faces of the riders as they cross the line.
The photos from the Sportzpics team of Gary Perkin, Nick Muzik et al are always worth a look. Gary Perkin in particular always makes great use of the helicopters that the organisation lays on for the photogs, and his shots are at least as much art as they are great documentation of the racing.
And all this gets fed relentlessly through Facebook and Twitter, so that you can stay up to date, while your frustration at not being there yourself steadily mounts…
The live results feed is compulsive viewing. You get real-time updates of times to the first, second and third waterpoints, and at the finish. So you can follow the racing as it unfolds, even without watching the video. I’m told from previous years racing that friends and family can sometimes be sat at home, following avidly – “they should have been through Water Point 2 by now – what’s gone wrong?”
In fact, the whole thing is made better by the inclusion of mates in the racing; the size of the event means that pretty much any of us who is serious about racing MTBs will probably know someone at the Epic, and will be rooting for them from a distance. For myself, being at the Epic the last four years, along with a lot of return customers at the event, means that I know plenty of people racing, which only ups the stakes when watching at home. I’ve been chuffed to see team-mate Jeff Bossler finish on the podium twice for Team Open-Kappius in Mixed, and also to see Nic Lamond and Carl Pasio from Biogen clock up some top 20 stage finishes; while gutted for Laura Turpijn losing her partner Daniel Gathof, and for high-flying Brit Sally Bigham from Team Sellaronda Hero also now flying solo as an Outcast after her last-minute replacement partner has dropped out with stomach problems.
So what are you waiting for? Get onto www.cape-epic.com for the last few days! I recommend it, although I guarantee it will have you reaching for the race calendar and seeing what amazing events you can enter, or checking when the ballot for next year’s Epic opens…