In 2017, I’m planning to ride (well, start) the Cape Epic. However, I have a small problem, in that all my usual riding buddies just outright laugh in my face when I raise the possibility. I don’t blame them. In the words of Talking Heads: “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.”
I’ve done numerous two, three and four day stage races, most of which a reasonably fit weekend warrior can do on a last minute call up. Similar to the observation that “one does not simply walk into Mordor”, the Cape Epic is not simply a case of pulling on some lycra, jumping onto a Specialized (whatever its components), and starting to pedal.
The Cape Epic is eight days of pain, covering 800km with 15 000m of climbing. It’s euphemistically billed as “eight days of courage”.
But it’s not just the eight days of riding. There’s a year of preparation, bicycle components that get worn out several times before the race even starts, and a whole lot of money to enter.
Hence their reticence.
So, why do I want to do it? Well, there’s partly a ‘moth to a flame’ element. I’m fascinated, in an admittedly weird way. The Prologue once went past my front gate, and in 2015 took place on routes I ride every week. It’s probably no coincidence that in 2017 I’ll be 50. If only partially sub-consciously, I’m just another MAMIL clinging to a fantasy of virility.
The bedrock, I suppose, is that I am hardwired for endurance. Despite the inevitable pain, there comes a point at which I get a kick out of overcoming – or, at the least, enduring – the challenge.
But, as I said, I cannot do all this alone. I need a partner.
Will you be my Epic Valentine?
My preference is for someone who will also be 50, although this is not a necessity. You need to know that I am of average ability (in other words, definitely not a racing snake, but also not the last person home each day), and I’m a really crap bike mechanic. Residence in Cape Town is probably necessary, for reasons of training together.
There’s no need to send me a hand drawn card, by the way, just add a comment to this post, and I’ll contact you.
Update: I post a weekly diary of my Epic training, which you can read here.