With the ABSA Cape Epic travel epic out of the way, and the ensuing recovery process underway, Will Hayter and myself have begun the count down to the start of our race day: 8:07am on Sunday 25th March. We will take to the start ramp at Meerendal Wine Estate for the 27km prologue with 900m of climbing. As we have opted to not chase UCI points, we have an earlier start time. Those aiming to race for cash and points are starting later in the day. This race isn’t about just turning up and riding. There is a lot to do beforehand, and right up until you hit the start chute.
It’s the last day before the ABSA Cape Epic 2012. So if you don’t feel prepared by now, there’s probably not much you can do to get you in the position where you do feel that way. However, there are a few things that need doing, before getting in as much resting as possible.
Jobs for the day:
- Final leg-loosener – this one was in the not unattractive environs of the foothills of Table Mountain. A tarmac climb from Camps Bay up to the saddle between the Table and the Lions Head, with some efforts, and some gentle but still pretty rocky fire-roads on the way down. Done.
- Register, get official race bag, transfer stuff across, realise you’ve brought way too much and have to jettison the excess – casual shoes? Nah, flip-flops will do fine. Jerseys that don’t match any your team-mate has brought? No point. Done.
- Dump bike box in truck to be taken to the end of the race. Done.
- Get bike in full stage race mode: canisters, quick-link, zip ties taped to seat post; second tube strapped to top tube; race number attached, once-over check to make sure everything’s still tight after the post-flight build. Done.
Jobs left to do? None, apart from maybe eat, drink a lot of water and sleep, and be pretty excited at starting the race tomorrow.
The last time team-mate Mike Blewitt and I saw each other was about eight months ago, when we managed to make our paths cross for a beautiful summer’s afternoon ride in the Surrey Hills outside London, when I was en route between the Alps and the Rockies, and Mike was between Poland and France. So it’s been great to have a couple of days of each other’s company, before things start to get tiring from 8:07 tomorrow onwards.
All over Cape Town it is a similar scene. Similarly clad riders are moving about getting their tasks done: a spin up the hill, booking massages, or just having a beer together. From this time tomorrow, 1200 riders and a huge support crew will be in ‘Stage Race Mode’. Little from the outside world interrupts you. Your focus is so narrow that sometimes it can only absorb the image of your team mates seat post.