March 27, 2009
Cape Epic: untamed African mountain bike race – A Cape Town Tourism Flickr photo essay
According to the official Cape Epic website, The Absa Cape Epic is an extreme mountain bike race held over eight days and takes place every year around late March and early April.
Riders enter in teams of two to take on the gruelling race on a route that changes every year. Aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world cycle approximately 800km through the unspoilt beauty of the Western Cape.
This year’s race began on March 21, and Greg Beadle has been following all the action.
A team passes a farm cemetery, on their way towards one of the steep, rocky climbs on what is claimed to be the toughest Cape Epic stage ever – day one, 2009.
An MTN rider flies through a spectator point. There is a huge ascent ahead of him with a dangerous rocky descent to follow.
At the end of day one, a very tired rider reflects on what must be one of the toughest rides she has completed.
Early stage two leaders are followed closely by a media helicopter as they pass the halfway mark on day two.
Riders leave the tar at the top of Villiersdorp Pass in the early morning, descending into a valley full of ups and downs.
Day three brought a strenuous portage, hiking up a mountain. The leaders took 45 minutes to ascend. The average time for the rest of the field to ascend was 1h30 minutes. From there the day was mostly spent speeding down long descents into the Riviersonderend Valley, as Team Stoeckli-Craft are doing here.
Riders are nearing the end of the incredibly challenging race, which comes to an end on Saturday, March 28, 2009.
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Images © Greg Beadle aka through-my-lens 2009