This past week has been quite a strange week. It is the week after the finish of the Cape Epic and with that comes some strange, sad, sort of empty, anti climatic feelings and emotions. After so many weeks and months of preparation, it is suddenly all over, with no more 3-4 hour training days and preparation of all sorts of stuff. It feels like I have way too much time on my hands now and I’m not really sure what to do with this new concept, already thinking about and planning the next challenge and adventure.

Tracy and I had an amazing week at the Cape Epic. The weather was abnormally cool and overcast, even raining the one day which made the long, exposed days very bearable and pleasant. The route this year was extremely scenic and we rode through and up and over some beautiful nature reserves and Fynbos clad mountains. It felt like we literally covered the entire Western Cape and rode over every mountain that appeared.

We were perfectly matched in every aspect, and made a great team with our main goal to enjoy all the downhills and to smoke some xc bandits on all the descents (Only to be passed back by some of them come the first climb). We both hated the morning starts with all the frantic people sprinting out as if we had a 2 hour ride ahead of us, only to pass them hours later after they were spent. We both hated the flat fire road stages when the packs of roadie pelotons would come screaming past us, way too fast for us to try and stick with a group for even a little while. We both had no problem enjoying all the yummy treats at the various feed stations and it felt like we never stopped eating – ever. Tracy and I both loved and excelled during the tough stages with the rough, loose technical climbs and challenging sand sections and generally ended up getting better results during those stages.

All in all we had a perfect week of riding with a perfectly matched partnership. Our knee’s held up, our bums held up and we still had a pretty good sense of humor by the end of every grueling day. Pretty amazing considering we did zero training together and our first xc ride together was a day or so before the race started. We ended up a respectable 306th out of the 603 teams that entered and 15th in the Women’s category. Not too shabby for some downhillers.

Thanks to Rob from Africa Cycles, we didn’t have to worry about the maintenance of our bikes, and they felt and looked brand new and shiny every morning. We didn’t have one flat tire or one mechanical between the two of us all week, which is pretty unbelievable considering the rough terrain and the massive devil thorns scattered across the route. A huge thank you also goes out to all our supporters along the way, the family, friends, the screaming school kids and cheering farm workers. Your smiling, happy faces really made the daily long slog a little bit easier and more enjoyable. Also a big shout out to my amazing sponsors who helped to make all of this possible: crankbrothers, FOX clothing, SRAM, Rockshox, Santa Cruz Bicycles – you guys ROCK!

The greatest motivation for me this year was to be riding for a cause such as World Bicycle Relief. So far we have managed to raise US$62 000, together with the other teams and are hoping to raise some more money to go to our cause of donating bikes to 10 different schools in Zambia. For more information on our fundraiser and to donate, please check out our blog/website at: http://capeepicchallenge.blogspot.com/

Now that it is all over, with my 4th Epic completed, it is time for Tracy to go and focus on what she does best – racing downhill very fast and for me to start plotting and planning the rest of my summer racing enduro events, undertaking some more crazy adventures with my beloved trail bike and submerging myself in lots and lots of yoga!

Peace out.

Anka

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