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Stage 7 -Sunday 24th March 2013

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 7: Stellenbosch - Lourensford Wine Estate

Start Venue: Stellenbosch

Finish Venue: Lourensford Wine Estate

Date: Sunday 24 March 2013

Distance: 54km

Climbing: 1500m

Start Time: 08:30-09:00

Max Stage Time: 6 hours

The final stage of the 2013 Absa Cape Epic is short, with only one major climb at the halfway mark. Riders will leave Stellenbosch along the mountainside through Coetzenberg and Eden Forest, then work their way into the Stellenbosch Winelands. The trail climbs up through the vineyards, opening up spectacular views of False Bay, as far as Cape Point, and back to Table Mountain and Durbanville, where the journey started 7 long days ago. Having mastered the 9km climb up the side of the Helderberg Mountain into the Lourensford Neck, the finish line is almost within sight as the view into the striking Lourensford bowl opens up. This is the first time in Absa Cape Epic history that riders approach Lourensford Wine Estate from a totally different direction and not via Gamtouw Pass. The final 25km are predominantly downhill, on forestry roads on the higher elevations, interspersed with some singletrack, and into the orchards and vineyards on the lower slopes. The final run onto the lush green polo field packed with grandstands, marquees and supporters promises to be unforgettable.

Stage 6 -Saturday 23rd March 2013

Posted on March 23, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 6: Wellington - Stellenbosch

Start Venue: Wellington

Finish Venue: Stellenbosch

Date: Saturday 23 March 2013

Distance: 100km

Climbing: 2950m

Start Time: 07:00-07:30

Max Stage Time: 10 hours

With a maximum stage time of 10 hours, riders should prepare themselves for a long stage, the last real hurdle of the 2013 Absa Cape Epic. The first 20km are primarily in the forestry plantation on the slopes of Du Toitskloof, as riders tackle a steady 10km climb followed by an equally long, fast descent interrupted occasionally by some soft forest singletrack as well as a short spike. The second major climb is primarily through orchards that soon give way to mountain fynbos as the trail turns more rugged, including another single-track descent, but riders need to watch out for the handle bar grabbing fynbos. By the time riders cross under the National Highway (N1) at the 35km mark, they will have completed almost half the climbing of the day.


The next section is fast going, and riders clock up some easy mileage as the route takes them alongside the Drakenstein Mountains on a mix of farm and gravel roads in the direction of Franschhoek. The highlight being when riders past "Freedom Hill", the hill that former President Nelson Mandela looked out at from his prison house at Victor Verster Prison (now Drakenstein Correctional Facility) where he spent the last three of his 27 year imprisonment before being released on 11 February 1990. Once the route makes the turn towards Helshoogte Pass it's slow going, as the trail hugs the steep slopes of the iconic Simonsberg Mountain. As riders crest the pass, views onto Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, and its surrounding winelands open up, but it is still quite a way to the race village, passing through prestigious wine farms and the hidden Idas Valley. True 'tunnel vision' will set in as riders go underneath the R310. From here it is one last steep climb, before a sweeping descent sweetened by some more forestry singletrack which takes riders into race village for a one night stand, before the final stage looms.


Stage 5 -Friday 22nd March 2013

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 5: Wellington - Wellington

Start Venue: Wellington

Finish Venue: Wellington

Date: Friday 22 March 2013

Distance: 75km

Climbing: 1800m

Start Time: 07:00-08:30

Max Stage Time: 7.5 hours

The fifth stage is like a bonus day - short, sweet, and most importantly, great fun! Riders will already have had a taste of the Bain's Mtb Trails at Welvanpas on the previous day - a fantastic purpose built network of singletrack, perched between the Wellington vineyards and the slopes of Bain's Kloof. The relatively short distance of 75km offers more single-track than any previous Absa Cape Epic stage, featuring some amazing cross-country terrain, lots of twisting ups and downs - all in all an extra enjoyable day to re-energise body and mind. To avoid any congestion on the trails, the start groups will be staggered out over 1.5 hrs



Stage 4 -Thursday 21st March 2013

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 4: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Wellington

Start Venue: Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Finish Venue: Wellington

Date: Thursday 21 March 2013

Distance: 106km

Climbing: 1900m

Start Time: 07:00-07:30

Max Stage Time: 10 hours

Stage 4 is another transition day moving on to a new destination, characterised by three major climbs and extremely varied terrain. It is a stage of contrasts with smooth gravel, then very rugged, followed by the National Monument of Bains Kloof Pass on tar, then beautifully manicured purpose built singletrack.

The first 15km are 'free mileage', spinning out the legs on flat gravel and also some tar road. The route then turns onto forestry roads gaining some elevation skirting the side of the mountain. Before riders know they will reach water point 1, but the next stretch will be slow going. A 5km steady climb up on gravel road with an average of 7% gradient awaits at Kluitjieskraal. On the other side, riders descend into a desolate bowl. Soon the trail roughens until it becomes an 8km bike swallowing descent. The gradient is not steep but the track is washed out, rocky (and sandy) with many ruts and big holes lying in wait for the unwary rider. After water point 2 a flat minor gravel road leads to the foot of Bain's Kloof Pass. The climb on tar is 16km and not having to focus on any rugged surface, riders will be able take in the spectacular scenery of this National Monument Site. On the other side the Cape Winelands open up, with views onto Wellington, Paarl Rock and as far as Table Mountain, some 70km away as the crow flies. Only the first bit of the descent is on tar, before riders plunge into the beautifully kept Bain's Mtb Trails at Welvanpas, smooth flowing ups and downs, perfectly carved into the mountain side. However, there is one more big climb, most of it on forestry roads, and it is the best value for climbing a mountain biker could ask for, earning themselves 4km downhill of handcrafted singletrack through fynbos vegetation. There is one more tiny bump, and then the last couple of kilometers are all plain sailing into the new race village in Wellington.


Stage 3 -Wednesday 20th March 2013

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 3: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Start Venue: Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Finish Venue: Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Date: Wednesday 20 March 2013

Distance: 92km

Climbing: 1950m

Start Time: 07:00-08:00

Max Stage Time: 8 hours

Imposing mountain ranges, the Obiqua Mountains to the West, the Winterhoek Mountains to the North and the Witzenberg range to the East, surround the town of Tulbagh. The mountain basin enjoys equally attractive conditions for wine making and mountain biking, and both have seen advancements in recent years, with not only new vineyards, but also new trails springing up. What better combination than having the race village at the Saronsberg Wine Estate? Stage 3 offers a 'tour of the basin', with a figure of 8 traversing the vineyards and farmlands, skirting the surrounding mountains. By now riders should be used to starting with a climb - 400m over 15km, with a short warm up, being rather gentle on the legs though. This is followed by 3km of sweeping singletrack, finishing off with a section through poplar forest. This moderate start is characteristic for what follows, a pleasant day, with lots of ups and downs interspersed with flowing singletrack sections. However, it all becomes one big blur after the previous two days. What stands out is that the day is more gentle, the soil is softer, the vegetation more lush and the hills shorter. If through that blur riders happen to hear the finish line, smell the race village, but their speedometer only reads 55km, they need to keep peddling. So close and yet so far from home, they are about to embark on the second part of the figure of 8. This loop is shorter, but includes the same amount of climbing as the first one, and just when everyone thinks 'this wasn't too bad', Dr Evil and the route design team show their true face. After water point 3 comes the blow to the legs - a 1.5km climb on a steep farm road, followed by a short descent and 3 more short but sharp climbs on rough surface, before it is finally (almost) all downhill and back to the manicured fields of Saronsberg Wine Estate.



Stage 2 -Tuesday 19th March 2013

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 2: Citrusdal - Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Start Venue: Citrusdal

Finish Venue: Saronsberg in Tulbagh

Date: Tuesday 19 March 2013

Distance: 145km

Climbing: 2350m

Start Time: 07:00

Max Stage Time: 11 hours

Stage two will take riders deep into the Koue Bokkeveld, known for its spectacular sandstone formations. The area often gets snow in winter, but riders will only fantasise about that, with summer temperatures regularly in the upper 30s Celcius. Most of the work is done early in the day with riders putting mileage into their piggy banks when scaling Middelberg Pass, a relentless climb with 900m altitude gain over the first 18km, starting off on tar before turning into smooth gravel road. The descent onto the plateau is fast and exhilarating with no technical obstacles, but a few sharp bends to slow riders down. The route will traverse beautiful buckfields on rolling dual tracks and farm roads. Riders can make up some time until just before the half way mark, where a 4km climb takes them to the highest point of the entire race (approximately 1 150m above sea level). Shortly afterwards they will be rewarded with a 5km singletrack section, winding its way through red sandstone formations. Overall this stage feels fast and relatively flat, until riders hit the rugged and challenging wagon trail that takes them into the Witzenberg Valley. Cleared for the race by local farmers, who are keen mountain bikers themselves and happy to share their home playground, this part of the race will showcase some of the finest terrain the Western Cape has to offer.

The best is saved for last when riders finally get to cash in that piggy bank - a technical 5km singletrack, an old wagon trail opened up for the 2010 Absa Cape Epic, plummeting into the Tulbagh Valley. Stage two could almost be considered a 'roady' stage, although true roadies will be in for a wake up call when they hit the wagon trails. The stage offers a fantastic transition onto a new playground, from the rugged and remote Cederberg, to the fertile Tulbagh Valley with its quaint village and wine farms.



Stage 1 -Monday 18th March 2013

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Stage 1: Citrusdal - Citrusdal

Start Venue: Citrusdal

Finish Venue: Citrusdal

Date: Monday 18 March 2013

Distance: 103km

Climbing: 2500m

Start Time: 07:00-07:30

Max Stage Time: 10 hours

Stage 1 is a 103km loop on virgin Absa Cape Epic territory, starting and finishing in Citrusdal, a small farming town at the foot of the majestic Cederberg Mountain Range. The stage starts with a bang, climbing from the word go - up Piekenierskloof on relatively smooth roads. As the gradient flattens out, it will be the sandy surface slowing riders down as they scale the first major obstacle of the day.


From the top, riders are awarded with breathtaking vistas onto the Olifants River Valley some 600m below, and a fast, in places loose and rocky, 7km descent. Crossing the Olifants River will be a wet affair, before the climb out the valley on the other side - a steady 8km effort with 500m of elevation. The next few kilometres will become a blur until riders hit the 4km section of rugged dualtrack and a short, but thrilling, singletrack descent. This will be followed by a gradual descent to water point 2, the farm roads being just uneven enough to keep participants focused, but at pleasant cruising speed past the citrus orchards. Riders need to fill up properly at this water point as the most challenging section of the day awaits. Over the next 7km, riders will have the illusion of having climbed out of the narrow hot valley, only to see another steep trail forcing portage up ahead of them. To reach it, riders need to put their downhill skills to the test on the narrow, rutted quad bike trail. This short and technical section is bound to take the back half of the field over an hour to complete.

The long descent to water point 3 is followed by approximately 20km through the farmlands in the Olifants River Valley. With no significant climbs worth mentioning, though by no means flat, riders will enjoy a slight reprieve before reaching the final obstacle of the day - a tough, sandy slog up the mountain side and just reward of a fast, fun descent into the race village in Citrusdal.


Sunday 17th March Prologue

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Prologue: Meerendal in Durbanville - Meerendal in Durbanville

Start Venue: Meerendal in Durbanville

Finish Venue: Meerendal in Durbanville

Date: Sunday 17 March 2013

Distance: 23km

Climbing: 700m

Start Time: 07:00:00

Max Stage Time: 3.5 hours

 Following the resounding success of the 2012 Prologue, the Absa Cape Epic returns to Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville with a brand new prologue route in 2013.

 Set off with a bang, riders will leave the start chute riding through - yes, through! - the historic Meerendal Manor House and almost immediately thereafter face a challenging climb up "Stairway to Heaven" - to the top of Dorstberg, a mountain top boasting magnificent 360 degree views of world famous landmarks such as Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape Point.

 Pressed for time, teams will have to forego sight-seeing as they dive straight into a rugged, Renosterveld lined trail that descends into the quarry and adjacent Hoogekraal farm, where sweeping singletrack forming part of the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club trail system lies in wait. Well bermed turns make for a fun roller coaster descent as the route ultimately heads back through steep vineyards and a steady climb past dairy fields onto the picturesque Meerendal Wine Estate, finishing off with some more singletrack and ensuring riders finish the first day with big smiles on their faces.





Rider briefing

Posted on March 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Went along to the registration & rider briefing at lunch time to see what we have let ourselves in for again.


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Briefing for the prologue tomorrow        


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Panic..Steve's valves

Posted on March 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Minor panic this morning as Steve's tyres went down overnight so Steve was seen heading off in a taxi at 9.0am with 2 wheels. A quick visit to the local bike shop and things were sorted out. A quick ride along to Camps bay and back and the bikes seem OK.

Morning after the night before

Posted on March 16, 2013 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Basking in the glory of last night we are heading off to registration this morning. Getting closer the serious issue of racing we need to get out on the bikes later this morning to make sure they are 100%. Then this afternoon packing the one bag we are allowed to take to carry all our needs for the next 8 day.  Less than 24hrs!!

Said good luck to Karl Platt for the race. 4 times winner he has a new partner for this year, Urs Huber.


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Friday highlights

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (1)



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1st podium at the 2013 Cape Epic goes to Team Salty Balls

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Yes, after waiting 3 years Team Salty Ball have won 1st prize..........in the fancy dress.

The pinnacle of our cycling career...it doesnt get much better than this.


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The (bald) Eagles have landed

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The eagles have landed in Cape Town after the long flight from the UK. Cape Town is not how we remember, it's foggy and rainy!! The locals are saying it's much needed! We don't care we demand it stops.

Just booked into the hotel and starting to put the bikes together. Cape Town has gone Cape Epic mad with the logo everywhere. Tonight is the big night where we hope to take home the 1st prize in the fancy dress.

    Sunrise over Africa...but it's raining further down!


Desmond gives a hearty welcome to Team Salty Balls



                                    Cape Town...................Cape Epic mad.

Cape Town here we come (again).

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

In the morning we head from Scotland & Wales to meet up in London before our overnight flight to Cape Town.

Well if it's not in the bag now we'll have to do withoutout it.   Bike..check,....helmet....check,....saddle cream....check,.....matching kit....check,.....lotions, potions, creams, tablets (white ones, red ones, green ones and oh yes blue one!)...check...................................53 year old body..I'll let you know on Sunday!

Just been checking out the rival teams. Picked out this team that might run us close to the finish!


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 Love this video..........


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