8 Day Cape Epic finishes.

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by HowardSteele, May 1, 2006.

  1. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    KZN man's Epic feat in cycle race



    The 920km mountain bike race from Knysna to Stellenbosch,( South Africa) which ended on Saturday, brought out hidden strengths in the competitors, epitomised by Mark Perrow of KwaZulu-Natal, who ran the final 17km to the finish line after his bike had broken beyond repair, while team-mate Robert Tucker cycled with Perrow's bike on his shoulders.

    There was exhilaration and relief on the faces of hundreds of cyclists who rode across the 2006 Cape Epic finish line at Boschendal.

    Big grins on sweat-streaked faces said it all as cyclists climbed off their bikes and hugged their teammates after racing together for eight gruelling days, while friends and family cheered.

    Of the 1 046 who started the race, 824 cyclists finished, a mix of amateur and professional cyclists.

    </SPAN>There was exhilaration and relief on the faces of hundreds of cyclistsIt really was a case of blood, sweat and tears on this, the biggest staged mountain bike race in the world, which took riders along farm roads, mountain tracks, through rivers and up and down passes.

    Although the final day's riding on Saturday to the finish was 67km of tricky terrain, it was the 140km from Hermanus to Franschhoek on the seventh day that was the killer.

    Many riders ran out of water on what they called "The Hill" near Grabouw, where there was a 50km gap between two water points up a gruelling incline that took many people two hours to summit.
    Organisers had to send the medical team on quad bikes with water for thirsty riders.

    The toughness of the day's ride was summed up by Mark Bebb of Hong Kong, who said, as he crossed the line after more than nine hours in the saddle: "It was a pig's a... I am totally finished."
    Nadine Gerber of Milnerton had blood on her crossbar and on her pedals.

    'I'm wearing R1 200 cycling shorts, but they're chewing into me'"It's from my nose. It just started bleeding. Everything's sore. I'm wearing R1 200 cycling shorts, but they're chewing into me and the skin's come off on my bum. I'm dreading the showers," she said.

    Every day Cape Epic riders arrived at the end of the day's race at a massive tented village in one of the towns en route, with 1 200 tents for competitors and crew, an enormous dining marquee, a media centre, medical tents, physiotherapist's tents, 100 portable lavatories and 33 hot showers.

    Cape Epic director Kevin Vermaak said yesterday: "A highlight of this year's Epic was having a South African team win one of the stages, which is a first, and also having a Namibian team on the podium for the tough seventh day.

    "It's been 12 months' planning, and I think this year we've taken the Epic to new heights."

    • This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on April 30, 2006
     
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