I have watched many television broadcasts of the Epic Prologue. And, yes, I have imagined how it would feel to be in that branded van, waiting to roll down the ramp. Up to that point it was all very exciting, maybe even in a Christmas Day kind of way (for a kid). However, within seconds of starting, my heart rate leapt to 145, and remained above 170 for most of the rest of the 26km.
The climbs were steep, and everyone seemed to be in hurry-up mode, which led to a vicious circle of extra effort and higher heart rate.
On balance it was all fun and exciting. Plus, riding in this randomized order for what is effectively a time trial meant that we got up close with riders we won’t see again for the rest of the race. On the Hoogekraal descent, I was passed by some international riders. These guys were a treat to watch on the trails, even if they were disappearing at a rapid rate.
I’ll be able to report with more authority tomorrow, but it seems that the one great thing about the Prologue is that it releases pre-race tension.
The advice that is handed out by experienced riders is to take it easy for the first few days. I didn’t see much of that today. However, that didn’t stop Paul Valstar, who was commentating at the final climb, from describing Piet and my Prologue effort as “riding conservatively”. Take a look at my heart rate chart alongside – does that look like someone who is taking it easy?
Tomorrow we start the real work of Cape Epic, a 102km loop from Hermanus to Stanford and back, with 2300m of climbing.