The Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike race is through three stages, and seems to be living up to its reputation as one of the most challenging events of its kind any where in the world. In this case, the race is held in South Africa, with competitors racing through some of the most beautiful, but technically demanding terrain in that country.
After three stages, the two man team of Songo.info, consisting of Swiss rider Christoph Sauser and local boy Burry Stander of South Africa. They hold a nearly seven minute lead over second place team, Bulls, made up of Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, both of Germany. Bart Brentjens from the Netherlands and Chris Jongewaard from Australia, who together make up Team Trek-Brentjens, are in third place, another 4+ minutes back. In the Ladies division, Sharon Laws of the U.K. and South Africa’s Hanlie Booyens hold the overall lead, while team Absa Masters, consisting of Doug Brown of South Africa and Bärti Bucher from Switzerland are in charge in the Master’s division. Finally, Adidas Big Tree, with Nico Pfitzenmaier from South Africa and Alison Sydor of Canada, are leading the coed Mixed division.
Stage Four consists of a long 111km (69 mile) route through some very rocky terrain that will test the nerves of the riders and shake their confidence early on. The stage is marked with demanding climbs, followed by crazy drops, that will eventually put them into a dense forest, as the trail narrows to twisty single track that will surely be a challenge for the wary teams.
The “Queen of Pain”, Rebecca Rusch is on hand for the race and competing in the Mixed category, along with Matthew Weatherley-White, as part of Team Specialized / Red Bull. She’s also blogging the whole experience, which you can read here. She has several posts up talking about her arrival in South Africa, riding the Prologue, and the first few stages. It’s an excellent read with some good insights on what’s going on in the race.
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