It was a real classic Absa Cape Epic day out, the longest stage in years. With fast open roads, marked by 3 obstacles along the way, riders were advised to save their strength and cooperate with other teams to form larger groups, to take turns at the front to lighten the load. The first climb of the day was a shock to the system, not only from the gradient but also the track's surface. In parts, the climb was rideable, barely, and only the fittest and best bike handlers were able to make it up without dabbing a foot. As with everything, what goes up must come down, and those with full suspension bikes were grateful for their weapon of choice. More open roads helped get some kilometres under the belt before the radio mast came into view. Down the other side of this deceptive climb was a fast chute into farmlands and waiting for riders was a set of rolling hills that deadened the legs of even the most hardened campaigner. At the 100km mark, riders reached the foot of the exquisite Groenlandberg, the grand old legend who invited the Absa Cape Epic back in 2011 thanks to Cape Nature Conservation. The 15% gradient on the concrete path should have been paced conservatively, with the remainder of the climb taking most riders well over an hour to complete. The north-facing slope made for a challenging ascent but the rocky downhill sections led to the famed Oak Valley singletrack to make it all worth it.
David Stachon achieved the following results:
|Stage Position||:||21. in Masters category and 98. in general classification|
|Overall Position||:||18. in Masters category and in 85. general classification|
Spring classics preparation this weekend: Clarence-Roackland Saturday and Almonte Roubaix Sunday. First time on tubeless Stan's Raven 35c cyclocross tires, woohoo. Will report back on conditions.