Monday, 6 April 2009

Posted by Velouria Posted on 11:56 | No comments

Epic 2009 - Prologue

Date: 21 March 2009
Start/Finish: Cape Town
Distance: 17km
Climbing: 650m

Nervously waiting to start our 2009 campaign with our supporters

Craig and I had ridden the route a couple of times before, and we knew what awaited us. LOTS of climbing. The steep kind of climbing. To make matters worse, we had been given a 12:07 start time - right in the mid-day heat. Craig later found out that the organisers had selected 50 teams they knew who could ride bikes to go before the pros, so there wouldn't be any congestion on the course. A bit of a compliment, but this also added to the pressure.

All smiles and ready to go.

The route

A perfect Cape day

The prologue started and finished at Herzlia sports ground at the foot of Table Mountain. A more picturesque and scenic venue would be hard to find. Below us lay the City Bowl,the harbour, and in the distance Robben Island. Lurking above us was Table Mountain, and that was the direction we would be heading.

The easy bit
The start of the ride took us on steep tar roads through the residential area, before we popped out into the Nature Reserve and started climbing. We had agreed not to go too hard, but the heat (42C) and the excitement of the moment made it difficult. The 15% climbs that we were climbing didn't help either. Before long the sweat was pouring off me - not a breath of wind. It was a pleasant suprise to see Mike on the side of the mountain, and he got some good shots of us before the suffering had really begun.

Let the suffering begin!

The fire that broke out 3 days before the Prologue
We climbed up to Dead Man's Tree and Tafelberg Road, where the roadie in me took over and hopped on the front to set the pace. Craig was playing the policeman today, and did a good job of keeping me in check. We were already going quite hard, and didn't want to overdo it on the first day. Our reward for the torturous climbing was a lovely descent through the freshly burnt mountain side.


Before long we were climbing again on loose gravel roads with ridiculously steep inclines. I lost my line and had to hop off, pushing my bike up the hills. My heart rate hit 190 bpm as I struggled to keep up with Craig (who was still riding). With the climbing behind us, we had some tricky single track to negotiate before Herzlia's fields awaited us.

We were going so fast that all Mike caught of us was a blur!
This was the first inkling we would get of the more technical nature of this year's Epic. Several riders came short on this last bit of single track, including eventual overall winners The Bulls. We, on the other hand had no such problems and crossed the line in 59:04, a whopping 18:08 behind the leaders. We were also a little surprised to have been beaten by Etienne and Cillie by 2:30 (another team from Hermanus). At least we had a team to compete with, and they had just fired the first warning shots.

Tongues hanging out, almost there as we pass another team.

The day's work done - the finish in sight.

Highlight of the day: The long fast downhills and the good crowd turnout.
Lowlight of the day: Being so far off the pace.

Stage:
GC 135 Cat 97 59:04
GC:
GC 135 Cat 97 59:04

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