Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cape Epic: Stage 3

I received word from Dave today. Internet access is spotty around the race camps. Today the team bumped up to 15th overall in the Masters 40-49 category, further lending credence to my prediction that they'd continue to gain ground over the course of the race. And the pair is advancing in the ranks despite adversity of the painful variety. Here's what Dave had to say:

Brett and I are riding steady and smart.  He is riddled with saddle sores, so riding is excruciating for him. He's as tough as nails. I'm feeling like a million bucks and just lapping up what I'm calling "bicycle fantasy camp."

We still have quite a ways to go, but making to the half way point today is a great milestone.

It's interesting to hear what the riders think of the technical sections of the course. I'm biased....but man, they need to check out Fortune, Tremblant, or Mont Saint Anne.

I'm thinking the +35 degree highs are not helping in the saddle sore department; ouch! I hope Brett has access to DZ Nuts; as Pascal says, "that stuff is healing ointment!" Dave's perspective on the race epitomizes optimism. Rather than approach the race with a results oriented frame of mind, Dave's enjoying the experience, taking it as a cycling holiday that happens to involve a lot of really hard riding. Sure beats desk jockeying. When I have opportunity to take on my first stage race down the road, I'll take a page out of Dave's book and aim to enjoy the experience and take it all as it comes. 

Dave's last comment about reactions to technical sections of the course supports the impression many of us have had when riding away from out home range: there is not much out there more technical than what we ride around home. Camp Fortune is the most technical cross country course I've ridden or raced anywhere in Eastern Canada (I've not raced out West), and all the courses in Quebec are plenty technical. All of us who've ridden out West in the Whistler area were pleased to find that we had all the skills we needed (except for skinnies!) from our riding back home. Yep, there is a whole lotta excellent riding to do within striking distance from Ottawa. Being at ease on technical sections conserves a lot of energy.

Ok, so here's the spiel from today's stage, a long one:

Stage 3: Saronsberg / Tulbagh to Worcester (125km; 1200m of climbing)
With the fast roads out of town, riders covered 13km before the first climb. It was steep at times and very loose, requiring hard bursts of effort to gain momentum over the rockiest parts. If there was ever a theme for race week, it's "from effort comes reward." After the 4km climb, riders arrived at a plateau with a beautiful valley nestled between spectacular mountains that resembled the pictures found on the covers of fantasy novels. There were little time to look around during the race though - the deeply rutted descent tested the rider and equipment alike. After smooth farm roads and more rocky tracks, the tyres were put to the test, with devil thorns lying in wait. A long drag upwards on a rough path led to a remote hut at the foot of the cliff face of the bare rock of the mountainside - a geologist's paradise. After the final waterpoint, Absa Cape Epic veterans had some déjà vu, with a similar run into the race village through some winding singletrack.

David Stachon achieved the following results:
Stage Time:6:47.04,9
Stage Position:16. in Masters category and 88. in general classification
Overall Time:19:36.04,5
Overall Position:15. in Masters category and in 83. general classification

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