Daily News from Team Bike4Africa

Stage 7 - 85km (26th March)

Stage 7 – the final stage is waiting for the remaining riders. Compared to the previous stages a simple stage. 30% tar road, roughly 50% farm roads and some trails.
After the bad luck at the beginning of stage 6 – the crash of Thomas ended with a broken rip – Thomas made the call >> he seriously wanted to ride stage 7!!! I asked him: Are you sure? The answer: Yes, let’s give it a trail as the doctor said it should be ok.
Final Sunday – 85km to ride … we started easy and Thomas had to listen to his body if everything is good or not. What ever happen overnight - Thomas started to push at the 1st climb. So all in at the last stage – we passed by quite a lot of people and we enjoyed the day in the fast lane. Crossing the finish line at Val de Vie was a great moment – 8 days of riding over some very nice and nasty trails in South Africa.
Even so officially the team Bike4Africa did not finished (due to the bad luck at stage 6 – Thomas couldn’t finish the stage) we started of as a team and we crossed the finish line together. We had some exciting times with ups and downs – more imported we had you following us + donating something for the kids of Tiwi (Kenya). Thx a lot!!!

Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 6 - 103km (25th March)

Stage 6 – very bad day!!! Officially the Team Bike4Africa is DNF (=did not finish). Thomas crashed 4km into the race. In downhill section he touched a tree on the ground which twisted his front wheel … I don’t need to tell what came next (btw – at a speed of just over 40km/h). I was directly behind him – omg. Long story short: He is alive but one broken rib, several new bruises and scrap wounds all over. He can walk and he didn’t lose his sarcasm – so all good ;)
However the team is officially out. After the race doctor picked him up I was allowed to continue the race as individual rider. An emotional ride but knowing Thomas is ok I manage the Queen stage well (103km with 2750m of climbing).
Us out of the race means we do have winner of the 200euro. According to the rules – the time of the last completed is the one which counts. The winner will be announced with the final report on Sunday night.
Tomorrow – I (Michael) can continue to ride and finish the race. Thomas will get the chance (if the body says yes) to ride the last stage. The doctor said it’s ok but he need to take it easy.
More news tomorrow - good night for now.
PS – I took quite a few video clips of the track. They will be shared during next week.

Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 5 - 84km (24th March)

Stage 5 – announced to be a fun stage. The question: What is the definition of fun. We had a nice day on nice track but it wasn’t an easy day. 84km with a lot of single trails made us tired. We had to stayed focus all the time. A single mistake could have turned the day into an disaster. Give a guess – we made it to the finish line. Just on issue on the bike – a loosen cable tie which holds the break tube … a new cable tie fixed it. Luckily no issues with the tube. Having no break on these trails isn’t an option ;)
After today’s race we visited the Scott team base. Nino Schurter (Olympic Gold and World champion on the MTB ) and his partner Matthias Stirnemann went into the overall leader position today. We expected them to do some serious preparation for tomorrow … instead they just had a pizza. According to Nino it doesn’t matter what you eat at the Cape Epic. Important is: You eat a lot.
LOL … with these words in our mind we went for dinner and called it a day.
Tomorrow – easy ride again :o) Just 4 climbs with a overall distance of 103km (2750m of climbing). Gonna be fun! (?)
Good night and have good start into the weekend

Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 4 - 112km (23rd March)

Stage 4 – 112km on today’s menu  We had an epic start … 30min into the race our start group hit the first climb and we went off. Racing mode was on … in the following flat section we made a lot of speed and catch the group in front of us which started 5min earlier. Everything went well until the #untamed hit us. A flat tire stop us. Two trails to fix the tire to a level that we could continue our ride to the next repair zone. The only solution for the remaining 80km > a new tired. So time passed by like all the athletes we just passed and more. Motivation was gone and it was hard to get back into race mode.
Other highlights of today – we arrived in a new location – Elgin. A nice rider camp as we used to have it. This is the other side of Cape Epic … the are a couple of hundred people taking care of everything behind the sense here. Preparing food for more than 1000 people somewhere on a field in SouthAfrica is an easy task. However I must say that everything is well organized.
One low light of today … just 3km before the finish line a ride crashed just a few meter in front us > broken collar bone "uff"! All the best for him.
Tomorrow the so called fun is waiting for us. Only 84km with 2100m of climbing – easy ride then ;)
Good night again – sleep is the best rest. Alarm clock is still at 5am :(

PS - Who knows the two guys on stage (pictures)

Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 3 - 78km (22nd March)

Stage 3 (Day 4) – have of the race days are over and we are still in the game. Statement of Thomas before we took of: There is nothing at my body which doesn’t hurt. Perfect conditions for a 78km ride. Whatever happens after the gun went off Thomas was pushing – it was a dusty and fast beginning. After 15km we hit the first climb – as the climbs have been busy and tight we had to ride with the others. Sometimes the wish was to ride faster but it’s hard to pass by in these sections.
The hardest part of today has been the downhill part. There was one hot section for roughly 25min where everybody had so stay full focused … sharp rocks with some steep sections on the left or right of the trail. Well manage by us – after 11 the sun did his best again to make our life hard again. Drinking, drinking and putting water everywhere was the solution 
Tomorrow the longest stage of the race is waiting for us – 112km with 2150m of climbing. Sounds fair but they mentioned that there will be some sand on the route … let’s see what exactly they are talking about.
Good night again – more tomorrow
Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 2 - 62km (21st March)

Stage 2 – As the heat is still on the race doctor decided the stage has to be shorten.
So “only” 62km instead of 102km towards the finish line. Learning from yesterday – take it easy all the time. And so we did … also it wasn’t that easy we made it style and without issues (the base pain is not considered as an issue).
Beside annoying you with single trail stories … have I mentioned that they are awesome? … we would like to share some words about the “life” in the race camp. You might think it’s just racing, sleeping and eating … actually it is but in between there are a lot of things to be done: bike check, nutrition preparation, massage, cleaning / preparing race clothes … all this keeps us busy and somehow the day is over quite fast. The good thing – everybody in the camp is very relaxed. There is just one issue – everybody is fighting for a free plug to share things like mobile phone, computer and whatever needs power.
Tomorrow – stage 3 is waiting with 78km. Overall on paper the route looks not too hard. Let’s see what the day will be all about.
Good night for now.
Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Stage 1 - 102km (20th March)

Stage 1 – summary in 3 words: Hot, hard, awesome!
Let’s start from the beginning > the start was 7:40am with 102km to the finish line. Goal of today … getting to the finish line with a smile again. All the way to the first aid station was easy. Single trails all day long … awesome but hard. Rocks, sand, rocks and sand again. Did I mention the rocks? Aid station 2 was well approached as well. Btw … the Oakley glasses cleaning service at each station is very nice 
After aid station 2 was the hardest part of the day … a long uphill trails (even the pro’s had to push their bikes) and a much harder downhill trail was waiting for all riders. To give you an idea about the downhill section: Put yourself into push-up position and stay in this position for 10min + do this on a vibrating plat. However – I was our choice so now complaints. We made it to aid station 3 and had 30km left to the finish line. The heat was doing its best to “kill” each rider. A lot of riders stopped a had to cool down in the shadow. We slowed down a little and finished with a smile again.
We have done mtb races before but we both must say: This was a hard day! With temperatures up to 40°C in some area we suffered a lot. Unfortunately roughly 70 teams dropped out today. A lot of broken boons + head issues.
Tomorrow another 102km are waiting for us. Guess what – the weather  forecast is the same – 35°C.

Good night for now
Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

The prolog - 26km (19th March)

Final - the race has started. An awesome nice 26km track at Meerandal was waiting for all 650 teams.
Single start for each team – roughly 30sec between the teams. 8:46:15am was our start time – we started off with a smile as we knew: homework (=training) has been done and it gonna be a short and quick start into the 8days of the Cape Epic. At the first uphill section we have been followed by helicopters … they hardly could keep up  We passed quite a few teams and it felt great to ride on these trails.
Unfortunately after 10km Thomas had a bad landing after a jump over a hill. It ended in a spectacular front flip – rating 7.8  This is nothing which will stop him so we went on. Overall 3 medium climbs during at this stage – the heat was the bigger issue. Drinking, drinking, drinking – simple rule not to run into troubles.
Today was easy – we took it a little easier on the 2nd half and finished with a smile > knowing that this was easy … every other stage during the next 7 days will ask much more.
Monday – 7:40am is our start time. 102km with 2’400m of climbing are waiting for us.
Time to rest – good night for now.
Check www.cape-epic.com – we are number 515. You can follow us live.

Last day before the race day - 18th March

So ... now it seems there is no room for excuses anymore. We are here, we got the bib number and we ate so much during the last 2 days that we have to ride. No matter what so ever.

Don't forget ... it's not just about us racing here at the Cape Epic - it's as well asking you to support the kids in Tiwi. All your donations will be forwarded to them. The money will be used in a efficient and for sustainable thinks. All about making their life a little better  and preparing them a better future. Thanks to all which donated so fare. We have received good feedback and more than 1700euro until now.
Tomorrow is race day – follow us under www.cape-epic.com >> hour bib number is 515.
Good night from South Africa

First ride in South Africa - 17th March

Great ride with great people - at 9am we started off with some other riders to discover our first trails around Cape Town. Good fun with some famous people - Cadel Evans (Tour de France winner 2011) and Georg Hincapie joined the ride as well.
Most important learning which we made - bikes are fine and it will be a thoug week. Rocky and dusty trails are waiting for us. However we got one good advise for the race >> if you ride faster we will gain some more recovery time.

Interesting Facts fo the come together at the dinner:

- people from 58 countries around the world will join the race

- 650 teams cannot wait to start off on sunday.


Good night for today

more news tomorrow

Getting to Cape Town - 15th/16th March

Getting to Cape Town is for Europaen people pretty easy - book a ticket and spend a lot of time in a plan. We made it - an over night flight took us to South Africa where blue sky was waiting for us but not the driver who was supposed to pick us up. Problem solved with a few phone calls ... not will stop us.

Getting the bikes ready was the task of the day + a Little walk through the waterfront area of Cape Town.

More nows tomorrow ... on Thursday we are going to discover the first bike trails around Cape Town.