With just 95 days to go until the world’s most prominent mountain bike stage race, Australian mountain bike racers Imogen Smith and Briony Mattocks have confirmed they will team up for the women’s category at the 2020 Absa Cape Epic in South Africa.
Imogen is a part-time writing and media professional and full-time academic. Imogen is a seasoned stage racer and has competed in all of the Oceania Epic series (Port to Port, Reef to Reef, Cape to Cape) and achieved stage and overall results at international events such as Transalp, Sudety MTB Challenge, The Pioneer, and Swiss Epic to name a few. Imogen lives in Brisbane, Queensland.
“This is a really big deal for me,” said Smith. “First of all it’s a massive step up. You can do any stage race in the world but the Absa Cape Epic is always the one and only – the biggest, the wildest, the most demanding.” Smith has already completed The Pioneer, and has won 6 stages at the Swiss Epic in the Mixed category. “Secondly this is a big deal because I’m just purely excited to be racing on a women’s team, which I never have before. With Briony Mattocks I have an awesome team mate who is fun and inspiring and an amazing rider. I feel like I did when I signed up for my first ever mountain bike event – that mix of fear and excitement that is the essence of racing for me.”
Briony Mattocks is a full-time manager at Australian telco Telstra and an accomplished road, MTB XCM and stage racer both in Australia and abroad, having competed and placed at The Pioneer, BC Bike Race, and the Epic Oceania Series. Briony lives in Sydney, New South Wales.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to South Africa to take on what is arguably one of the toughest mountain bike races in existence,” Mattocks exclaimed when their entry was confirmed. “The Cape Epic has always had such enormous appeal given the great distance, the rough and rugged terrain, the superior level of competition and the stories that are retold by those who have previously conquered it (or had it conquer them).”
“Having had a crack at it before in 2018 – which sadly ended in a badly broken collarbone on day two – I definitely feel I have unfinished business over in the sands of Africa. I’ve known and raced against Imogen for many years and am very excited to have her by my side heading into this somewhat terrifying but incredibly exhilarating adventure!”
The 2020 Absa Cape Epic starts on 14th March with a prologue in Cape Town, and the 8-day mountain bike stage race covers 647km with 15 550m of climbing.
Both riders will be sharing their journey to the Cape Epic across MarathonMTB.com and their own social media. The women’s field at the Cape Epic has not experienced the growth that the men’s field has, but these two riders want to show that with hard work and dedication, even riders who hold down full-time jobs can get themselves ready for the biggest mountain bike stage race in the world – and likely be a very competitive team at the same time.