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Cape Epic Day 1

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Posted by Tobias M under Cycling on 26 March 2012 at 8:51 AM

Day 1 - the Prologue 

27kms, 900m of climbing

The Prologue marks the first day of Cape Epic and is used to seed us for Stage 1 of the main part of the race.  With 600 teams taking part, all of varying standards from professional to complete novice, it's important to get the fast guys at the front and the slow coaches at the rear.

Our start time today was 8:28 and with us being Team Number 373, we were unsurprisingly the 373rd team to start. James and I were doing all the classic pre-race tricks of finding things that aren't working with our kit or our bikes.  My water bladder is leaking, my handle bars aren't straight, the saddle is loose, the pedals don't click in, my Garmin wasn't working, etc.
Basically, I felt as though I was trying to rebuild my bike in the 10 minutes before we were due to start.  

Despite starting reasonably early in the day, the weather was scorchio.  The sun was beating down on us with ferociousness, and tomorrow it's supposed to go into the 30s.  James and I were in a muck sweat from the moment go, trying unsuccessfully to mop our brows and wipe the sweat from our eyes. 

The start is pretty cool, with each rider riding down the ramp in 20 second intervals.  Within a few minutes we had already caught up the people in front of us, but whenever we overtook someone, we would be overtaken by another team.

With 900m of climbing in 27km, it felt as though we were going uphill all the time - which I think we were.  It also took us a while to get used to the loose soil and rocks, and with me being rather risk averse when descending, I was a bit heavy on the brakes.

Much of the course was single track, which is great fun until someone needs to overtake you or you need to overtake.  I had my first tumble of the day trying to sneak around a couple of girls, and ended up falling unceremoniously on my arse, feet stuck in pedals!

The finish is at the top of a rather steep hill, that had us huffing and puffing.  It was lined with supporters who had loyally trekked up it to clap us on as we passed.  It was during the ascent that I tried to snack on a Cliff Shot, whilst trying to steer with one hand, which resulted in my accidentally pressing my front break and immediately falling over.  Not cool!

But finish we did, in 1hour 59, coming 203rd in the Men's category and 335 overall (out of 600). Despite it not being a spectacular finish, we didn't want to take too many risks on the first day - it would be a shame to not make it to the second!

As I've got to get up at 5.30 tomorrow morning and it's now creeping on 22:15, I must stop here in order to get some shuteye.  However, I'll do my best to report back tomorrow - if I have the energy!!  It's 115km and has 2350m of climbing - which means I'll be in the saddle for about 7 hours!  I feel tired already!

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