The ABSA Cape Epic is a world renowned Mountain Bike Stage Race. And rightly so – I can think of no other race where an amateur athlete can race with such a deep field of professionals, and be so well looked after by the event team. As such, having to pull out of the event in 2012, after not finishing as a Team in 2011 was pretty gutting. This race is justifiably the biggest goal of the year, or a few years, for many Marathon racers out there. So to pull out injured has left a bitter after-taste, and made me feel pretty ashamed for clearly not preparing well enough for the rigours of such a tough event.
Unfortunately, pulling out of an event to prevent making an injury worse isn’t a miracle cure. Racing a UCI Marathon World Series a week later probably wasn’t ideal – but it didn’t seem too bad on the day either. The rest of April was designed to be a chance to catch up with friends I don’t see too often, chill out, then get some quality riding in on a road bike, in one of the best places possible – the Cote d’Azur. In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 I have spent some time here, getting some ‘monster blocks’ done. This time is a little different, with the focus being a Bucks party, recuperation and stretching for a still painful soft tissue injury, and now finally – some training.
The past three days have been reasonably solid, with about 500km total. Some things don’t lie though – and joining Strava has been a great indicator for that. I’m not moving very quickly after a couple of weeks just turning the legs over as required!
Travel, racing and riding create opportunities and amazing friendships and connections. And so this weekend I will find myself in London, and figured it would be as good a time as any to see what sort of latent form may be around from the Cape Epic. I’m lucky enough to be securing a demo bike from Condor Cycles – a Condor Super Acciaio to be exact. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. It has been designed by Ben ‘Cross Boss‘ Spurrier. A man who will turn up on the start line of any race, anywhere, looking more Pro than you could think possible. He may be only getting half a dozen hours of training a week in at the time – but this guy gets it. He understands the desire to just race because you can. It may not be a target event, or anything bigger than your local criterium. Ben races his bike, because that is what you do as a bike racer. Week in, week out. And this bike he has designed intends to meet that mentality: performance, durability and of course – class.
And what race? Well that is yet to be confirmed. The Surrey League event sold out (as I was warned) but I hear Hillingdon is running. EIther way it will be great to get the legs moving at a pace that will be beyond my comfort zone. From then, it will be back to Nice for some quality time in the hills, before making a late start on the Real Insurance XCM Series with some of my Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team mates at the Convict 100.