Australia’s most popular marathon stage race, Cape to Cape, is set to kick off this Thursday 22 October. Set in Western Australia’s gorgeous Margaret River region, it’s famous for beautiful scenery and a relaxed vibe. The fantastic (equal) prize money and fabulous trails also attract some of Australia’s top talent.
For Australia’s Elite Cross Country racers the Cape to Cape is often the first race of the season. It’s a chance to test the legs, to see how preliminary training has paid off, or to whip into shape. Since 2008, Cape to Cape has grown to attract top XCO and Marathon talent, boasting the best of the best: a full-service race with deep fields and amazing singletrack.
For everyone else, Cape to Cape presents an early-season opportunity to celebrate bikes, beer, wine, food, and the beach. The focus of Cape to Cape has always been the vibe, and in a region that is basically a collection of cellar doors and craft breweries wrapped in a sparkling blue sea, there’s little trouble getting riders into the mood. Organisers host social get-togethers over the four days of racing, happy hour starts at around the time most riders have finished servicing their bikes, and there’s special events like the ‘Sundown Shootout’ on Friday afternoon, when the fastest men, women, and locals lay it down time-trial style over jumps course just over 1.2km, competing for cash, bragging rights, and time bonuses.
In the men’s field, a host of hitters include the likes of last year’s winner Mark ‘Tupac’ Tupalski, Paul Van Der Ploeg (returning from injury at the recent XCE World Champs), and local young gun Reece Tucknott, while the women’s field includes Australia’s most talented all-rounder and Rio Olympics hopeful Peta Mullens, and Imogen Smith, recently returned from racing the Swiss Epic.
With most stages around 50–60 kilometres, including plenty of climbing, sand, and singletrack, the course looks fun and challenging in equal measure. Also on offer this year is the last chance to ride the iconic trails of The Pines, with the area earmarked for logging before next year’s race – although plenty of other trails and experiences will no doubt make up for the absence in 2016.
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