ABSA CAPE EPIC – PROLOGUE
Josh and Jackie are heading into day 3, stage 2 of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic. The prologue started at the Meerendel Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa with cooler temperatures and a lot of fans. A timed gate start, Josh and Jackie were nervous but had smiles on their faces.
The announcers warned that even though it was a short race (27km) it was going to be one of the hardest in terms of climbing. Climbing into the gate, it was hard to see whether these two were nervous – I’m sure they were. It was the beginning of 800km of riding and over 53,000 feet of climbing over the next 8 days.
The Honey Badgers headed out for a shorter day of riding in hopes of placing mid-pack out of 1,200 riders. After 1:58 of climbing, tricky single track and some quick dirt roads, the Honey Badgers finished 350th in the pack and placed 20th in the mixed category! Way to go!
The Honey Badgers packed up the car and headed to Robertson Wine Valley for the next three stages in the race. Two hours from Meerendel, space was tight in the car on the way – lucky for the Honey Badgers, their Wrangler is incredibly small and fit in the corner of the back seat next to all the bikes.
In Robertson, we found everything was incredibly organized. Showers were ready to go, marquee tent ready for dinner, signs and directions everywhere, and tent city up and ready for inhabitants.
ABSA CAPE EPIC – STAGE 1
Stage 1 race began with a bang (literally) and temperatures quickly rose to over 100 degrees. We anticipated the Honey Badgers to finish between 7-8 hours. With the heat, it was up in the air as to how long the race would actually take. Over heating, dehydration, leg cramps, injury – it was all on the table.
After 4.5 hours, the first racers came through the finish line. 114km in 4.5 hours!?!? INSANE. With several more hours on the agenda for the Honey Badgers, anticipation began to grow as more and more racers came across the final time clock.
The Honey Badgers had to battle to pass and struggled to avoid flats with a copious amount of thorns in their tires. A small scare fairly well into the race, Josh sprayed Jackie in the face with Stan’s as his tire tried to hold together after a thorn puncture. Spraying for 15-20 seconds, Stan’s sealed up the hole and the Honey Badgers were able to continue on without stopping.
7 hours into the race, finishers from yesterday’s race were identified that finished close to when the Honey Badgers came through. They must be close.
7:23 in, the Honey Badgers crossed the finish line. With the heat and distance and crazy amounts of climbing, the Honey Badgers did better than we had anticipated AND moved up 50 spaces overall to sit at 278 out of 600 teams.
A proud moment for these Honey Badgers – they worked as a team, helped each other through, and came out above their target placement.
Currently, the Honey Badgers are off on stage 2…120km; their longest day yet. We’re in Robertson through tomorrow’s stage and then we head out to Caledon for Stages 4 & 5.