Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cape Epic: Stage 2

Leading mixed category Esther Süss crests the climb of the historic Witsenbergpass
Photo: © Gary Perkin / SPORTZPICS (cyclingnews)

I managed to get out to ride this afternoon, and today's update on Dave's progress in Untamed, Magical Africa came through just as I send off a photo of a crazy ice flow covering a slope on Maxwell Road, near Wakefield. Thankfully, it was softish, so I managed to scramble down without incident. I was putting my fresh wheels to the test on the Truffle Pig. They combine a bit of the familiar and a bit of the novel: Chris King R45 hubs (I've used a King Classic rear hub for over a decade), Stan's Alpha road rims (first foray into Stan's for road), and Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes (never used Sapims on any of my wheels, let alone CX-Rays). I've shod this 1350g wheelset (without skewers, acording to my kitchen scale) with a set of Hutchinson Intensive tubeless tires in 25c, the largest size anyone makes at present in a slick tread. Today was a beat-down session, and the wheels held up perfectly; 'dead nuts on' in fact. Stiff and responsive too. Excellent. I'll do a post on these wheels specifically soon, after about 500k or so. Speaking of wheels, its nice to see Mavic is getting onto the wider rim program with their new M40 wheelset, a 40mm deep carbon rim laced with 24 bladed spokes to lowish flange hubs. These will be their go-to wheels for Paris-Roubaix, so one can expect them to garner some interest from the cyclocross crowd. And speaking of Classics, it looks like the whole dirt road race thang is slowly catching on in the US. The Tour of the Battenkill folks are putting on another race in May in Michigan...I wonder if its close enough to be worth the drive....

Ok, back to Dave's exploits in the desert. It appears as though my prediction that Dave and his partner would climb in position over the course of the race might hold water. Today the guys improved on Stage 1's result and bumped themselves up in both the Masters category and Overall general classification. I'm guessing they'll aim for top 15 from here on in. Who knows, perhaps they'll creep toward the top 10. Time will tell. If we're lucky, maybe Dave will have a few minutes to provide some insight into what they are going through. I won't blame him if he maintains his focus on eating and recovering, that's for sure!

Check out cyclingnews.com for more great photos from the Epic. Here's the rundown from the organizers:

Stage 2 - Saronsberg/Tulbagh to Saronsberg/Tulbagh (104km; 2300m of climbing)
A 12km steady upward drag took riders to a 6km climb on an ancient Voortrekker wagon trail, specially opened for the race. At the top, the 18km mark, riders already ascended almost 1000m. With the stage's major obstacle out of the way, the valley opened up ahead, with the route looping clockwise, following the buffer zone between orchards and mountainside. A look at the profile showed that the tracks were far from flat and a short section of singletrack compensated the labour of the first 50km. As it was a hot day, some riders were tempted to take a dip in one of the several dams dotted along the route as they begun to head home. After a 1.5km rise to the highpoint of the day's outing came the rewards of the hard work invested in the first climb, the unmistakable silhouette of Table Mountain was visible from the crest. Riders then descended the wagon trail towards town for a good night's rest.
David Stachon achieved the following results:
Stage Time:6:07.22,7
Stage Position:17. in Masters category and 85. in general classification
Overall Time:12:48.59,6
Overall Position:16. in Masters category and in 87. general classification
And how about a wonderful video to cap things off. See if you can spot the Steelwool(s)! Mystery prize goes to whomever calls it first.


Madmountainmike said...

epic is the word...makes Intermontane look like a sundy ride in the park !

rob.parniak said...

Is the tall bike a Steelwool?

Harry Quinn said...

Those wheels sound tasty! I'm interested to hear how they do for you.

rusty said...

Will you please do a post about the new Truffle Pig soon, with some pics?

Matt Surch said...

Yep, I've been planning in it Scott. At the latest, I'll have it up after Battenkill and the Roubaix so I can report on it's classics race performance. So far so good, it's handling everything I'm throwing at it with aplomb.

Matt Surch said...

...and yes, Rob called the Steelwool tall bike.