It has been confirmed overnight that MarathonMTB.com will be on the start line at the 2011 ABSA Cape Epic. Lauded as the best mountain bike stage race in the world, our team of two racers will represent MarathonMTB.com in South Africa to bring you daily reports, blogs and updates through out the grueling eight-day event.
The race will get underway on March 27, 2011, and run through to April 3, traveling 707 kilometres from Tokai to Lourensford. Along the way, there will be 14,550m of climbing. Each of the 1,200 racers will have their own highs and lows on such a course, however you will be able to follow MarathonMTB.com’s resident blogger Mike Blewitt and teammate Will Hayter as they pursue their own sporting goals.
Blewitt, from Sydney, Australia, has competed in a variety of mountain bike stage races since 2008, and said he will be motivated to “do as well as possible while still remaining friends”. Mike already writes a number of blogs for MarathonMTB.com, so stay tuned for his race feedback.
Will Hayter is London-based, and races predominantly on the road for London Dynamo/Prologue. As a Cat 1 racer, Hayter is a breakaway specialist and keen time triallist. Having reviewed the planned course for the 2011 ABSA Cape Epic, Hayter said he was relishing the prospect of the event’s two time trials. However, Hayter isn’t a newcomer to mountain bike stage racing. Despite a poorly timed injury in late winter in 2010, Hayter was able to bring himself into top form for July, and finished inside the top-25 at the Craft-Bike TransAlp.
Despite residing on different sides of the world, both the two riders are confident they can maintain a strong team dynamic for the ABSA Cape Epic. Being able to race a stage race of this style is an art; there will always be a stronger and weaker rider. The differences may be meagre, and it may change daily, or even throughout the day. But being able to support your team mate is essential. Having trained together in reasonably adverse conditions in the 2010 Northern Spring, both Blewitt and Hayter have experienced hard times together, and helped get each other through.
“A good friendship is essential for team based stage racing,” explained Blewitt. “I sometimes get the mentality wrong, but you have to be willing dig deep into the pain cave for your team mate. Whether it will be suffering on their wheel or towing them up the climb, you have to be motivated to do it.”
Stay tuned for updates from both riders as they prepare for the 2011 ABSA Cape Epic. They will be flying the MarathonMTB.com colours, which you can read more about shortly.