Friday, April 1, 2011

2011 Absa Cape Epic Stage 5 - Oak Valley in the Elgin Valley 143km

Overall leaders Sauser and Stander win another stage

It was a real classic Absa Cape Epic day out, the longest stage in years. With fast open roads, marked by 3 obstacles along the way, riders were advised to save their strength and cooperate with other teams to form larger groups, to take turns at the front to lighten the load. The first climb of the day was a shock to the system, not only from the gradient but also the track's surface. In parts, the climb was rideable, barely, and only the fittest and best bike handlers were able to make it up without dabbing a foot. As with everything, what goes up must come down, and those with full suspension bikes were grateful for their weapon of choice. More open roads helped get some kilometres under the belt before the radio mast came into view. Down the other side of this deceptive climb was a fast chute into farmlands and waiting for riders was a set of rolling hills that deadened the legs of even the most hardened campaigner. At the 100km mark, riders reached the foot of the exquisite Groenlandberg, the grand old legend who invited the Absa Cape Epic back in 2011 thanks to Cape Nature Conservation. The 15% gradient on the concrete path should have been paced conservatively, with the remainder of the climb taking most riders well over an hour to complete. The north-facing slope made for a challenging ascent but the rocky downhill sections led to the famed Oak Valley singletrack to make it all worth it.

Master's category
Robert Sim and Doug Brown of the Robert Daniel team won stage 5 in 5:40.42 (overall 23:50.49), followed by the Juwi team (Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts) in 5:40.43 (overall 23:04.31). The Nandos team of Adrian Enthoven and Gerrie Beukes was third in a time of 5:53.00 (overall 24:27.53). Sim and Brown are still in second place overall in this category and the Juwi team lead by 46 minutes and 18 seconds.

"It was a privilege riding with Carsten and Udo today. They were taking it a bit easy," sais Brown. "I didn't participate last year and the Cape Epic is definitely getting faster and the depth of field is much better. When you climb a hill, there are always 10 guys with you so it's hard to get away. As an amateur rider it's incredible to race side by side with Udo who finished 9th in the Tour de France. I watched these guys on television. It really does give you extra energy."

"Robert is a very talented athlete. He's only been riding for a short period so obviously has the right genetics. He's going to be a name to watch in the Masters."
"It's a privilege to ride with Doug," said Sim. "He has a cupboard full of blue jerseys. We rode with the Juwi team for 80km and we're lucky they weren't competing hard for the win today. What an unbelievable privilege! I started riding three and a half years ago and to be riding with people of this calibre at the age of 45, is truly amazing."

Stage 6: Oak Valley to Oak Valley (128km; 2700m of climbing)
In the penultimate stage, competitors will be wary - the route profile and the total ascent tells how they will be tested right to the end of the week on this brutal Oak Valley loop. Again they head over Groenlandberg for the second time in two days, this time following the 2010 route in reverse.

After crossing the R43 comes the tough sandy climb, nicknamed The Beeatch. A short section on Highlands Road will be a relief before more loose and partially sand climbing - which will be rewarded with a dramatic view over the Indian Ocean, the Bot River mouth and Kleinmond. One last climb leads them through another Cape Nature area featuring some rare fynbos. Shortly after riders get to enjoy the flowing single tracks of Lebanon, before they dip under the N2 for more fun singletrack through Thandi and back home to Oak Valley - a great way to finish a strenuous day in the saddle.

Don and Gary achieved the following results:
Stage Time
Overall Time
Rider Status
Don is no longer riding with his/her original team partner but he/she is still in the race. As an individual rider he/she does not qualify for a position ranking but will continue to receive a time for each stage and his/her overall time for the race.

Sewell Gary did not complete a stage in the race.
He/she may continue riding but will not receive a position ranking or an overall time for the race.

1 comment:

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