For 16 years, mountain bikers around the world have known that March is Absa Cape Epic month. Of course, until Covid-19 arrived and the 17th edition of the Absa Cape Epic was cancelled with just 24 hours notice.
12 months on, the Cape Epic organisers plan to reclaim March for riders across the world – but this time the greatest race meet up will be digital – with the Virtual Absa Cape Epic. From 7 – 14 March 2021, riders with access to Zwift and a smart trainer will be able to race the Virtual Absa Cape Epic on Zwift’s mountain bike routes in Watopia, for free. Even a new smart trainer is a lot cheaper than a Cape Epic entry – although the experience just won’t be the same.
climbing, and each presented by one of the Absa Cape Epic sponsors, namely Oakley, Dimension Data, ABUS, and Assos. All riders who complete Stage 1 or 2 of the Virtual Absa Cape Epic will unlock a branded in-game Assos Absa Cape Epic kit that will be loaded to their Zwift Garage. Riders who progress and finish Stage 3 and/or 4 will unlock the virtual Absa Cape Epic Scott Spark paint job, while all riders who have what it takes to go the distance and complete all four stages are entered into a draw to win a custom-painted Scott Spark RC 900 Team, kitted out with SRAM AXS in real life!
Every rider who completes all four stages will be invited to race the pros in the Virtual Absa Cape Epic Pro-Am style race on 17 March. The Pro-Am race, will see the world’s best riders line up to battle each other on the brand-new Serpentine 8 Loop, on Zwift. With 26.5 kilometres of racing and 204.7 metres of climbing included in the loop, the racing is sure to be flat out like a prologue at the Cape Epic. The action will be broadcast live to the world across the Absa Cape Epic and Zwift social media channels with Paul Kaye and Hannah Walker on the microphones.
Entry to the Virtual Absa Cape Epic is free and all riders who have access to Zwift and a smart trainer are encouraged to join. Sign up for the Virtual Absa Cape Epic here or learn more about the race by visiting the dedicated Virtual Absa Cape Epic website.
In total, riders will cover 73.4 kilometres and 788 metres of climbing during the Virtual Absa Cape Epic on Zwift. But, come October, those brave enough to answer the call of The Race That Measures All will be tasked with tackling 655 kilometres of the Western Cape’s most wild and untamed trails and summit 15 550 metres of climbing over the race’s eight days. Fingers crossed that can go ahead.