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Cape Epic: Stage Six

Oscar Foulkes March 25, 2017 Cape Epic No comments
By the end of yesterday we’d been riding for roughly 35 hours. Barring some cramping on Monday, nausea on Tuesday, and an unspecified flat day on Wednesday, our bodies have generally held up well.

Except, I have been holding back on a delicate subject. It’s one you may have been thinking about, but have been too polite to ask. Yes, the point of contact with the saddle was raw by the end of yesterday. Soon after six this morning Piet and I presented ourselves at the medics tent for an advertised “brand new butt”. It’s a common problem, and they are very well set up for it.

Picture the scene – three or four men bending over with their pants around their ankles while a medic is applying plasters to sensitive areas. You may think that dignity is abandoned under these circumstances, but by tuning into the humour of the situation it’s possible to walk out of the clinic in a fabulously good mood.

Today was billed as the Queen Stage because it was the day with the most climbing (2750m), and a take-no-prisoners 103km over Groenlandberg and other big climbs. In preparation I changed my chain ring to a slightly smaller 32T to make climbing a bit easier on tired legs. After our steak dinner and a good night’s rest we felt good.

We climbed almost solidly for the first two-and-a-half hours, which is how long it took to reach the top of Groenlandberg. The descent can be treacherous, but that didn’t stop Piet descending at a pace that led me to asking him if he’d filed a flight plan with air traffic control. Much of this is thanks to his Santa Cruz Tallboy, which descends like a champion. In fact, throughout the day he rode that bike as if he was impersonating Greg Minnaar.

Our plan was for me to set the pace up the big climbs, and for Piet to do it for the rest. I did my best to hang onto his back wheel. After just under seven-and-a-half hours of riding we rolled over the line as the 18th Grand Masters team (an improvement on the previous stage’s 20th), which pushed us to 28th in the GC for the category. I can’t see us improving much from there because we lost too much time on the first few stages.

We’re looking forward to a positive finish at Val de Vie tomorrow.

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