Terrascape goes to South Africa!
Alana and 9 other Calgarians have ventured off to South Africa for the 8 day mountain bike race, the Cape Epic. Included in the motley crew are her husband and fellow Terrascaper Jeff, Terrascaper Paul, Schmoe Steve Walsh who will be Alana's teammate, and Greg who rides for Top Gear. Along with them are friends of Greg's - Matt, George, Faisan, Kim and Drew.
Read on as Alana describes the details of their race preparation and the first few days of their adventure in South Africa!:
Race prep has been happening ever since we decided to sign on. Jeff had done the race 2 years ago, and I had come for the traveling. He had wanted to come back and do it again, but there is a lottery system for registration, so you are never guaranteed an entry. So what the heck??...I threw my name in too! I had a good season of endurance mountain bike racing - but I shouldn't have been so surprised when I actually got invited to register. After much deliberation and budgeting, we decided we could both go, and I found a teammate in Steve Walsh - all around good guy, Schmoe Racer. Fast forward 6 months through 10 - 15 hours per week of spin, core, weights and snowshoeing to get me race ready. Thanks Coach Jeff!
In March, we decided that a little visit to my parents in Phoenix to loosen the legs, put tires on dirt and hang with the folks was an integral part of training as well. We convinced 8 of the 10 Cape Crew to join us for a weekend just before departing for the race. National Trail, Desert Classic, Trail 100, and the Superstitions were excellent warm-ups for us. And the boys enjoyed the all you can eat pancakes at the Lost Dutchman Resort - race fuel beyond compare!
Steve leading down National Trail in Phoenix
Jeff and my flights to South Africa took us through Dubai, and we were lucky enough to enjoy time with friends during our 13 hour layover. Thanks Bruce and Jenn, Lane and Lachlan!
Welcome to Dubai!
Bruce, Jenn and I with a banana tree
Finally we arrive at our favourite guesthouse - Stellendal, in Somerset West, which is 30km from the start line. The past few days have been busy getting used to the warmth, the time zones, and getting in a few rides. There have been fires in the hills for months, so much of the mountain biking trails have been destroyed. Road riding along the coast in South Africa has been an exciting adventure, getting used to riding on the left side of the road, and remembering to LOOK RIGHT first, then cross the street!! Yelling "Death comes from the Right!" usually reminds the front rider to get this straight!
We all piled in the rental van yesterday to register, and got a close look at the scorched hillsides of Table Mountain, where the prologue is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Jeff, Greg and I are registered!
Table Mountain Fires, Cape Town
It was closed for preriding yesterday, but we are hoping that today we can pre-ride the prologue course. The prologue is 19 km up and around Table Mountain, with each team starting 30 seconds behind the previous team. Our finish times for the prologue will dictate which start chute we will be in on Day 1 of the race, so hopefully we will all be riding with our appropriate peer group. Ride fast!
It has been a bit of a challenge keeping 8-13 people together and organized, but we are moving forward! For now, it's breakfast time.