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Epic 2018: Letting sleeping dogs lie

Oscar Foulkes November 13, 2017 Cape Epic No comments
It’s a ‘thing’ to have an answer to “where were you when [insert momentous event in world history]?” This isn’t exactly the same, but the saying “let sleeping dogs lie” has its own tags in my memory.

Whenever a teacher didn’t appear for a lesson (not often, admittedly), a schoolboy discussion would ensue. I say “schoolboy”, because there were significantly contradicting points of view, and the discussion would need to take place at low volume so as not to alert someone in authority. Inevitably, the day would be won by the person reminding the class about those metaphorical sleeping dogs, so that we could have a free lesson.

After a heavy schedule the previous week, I was feeling a bit knackered, even by Tuesday. I hadn’t yet received the next month’s programme, so I was very much in that “sleeping dogs” mindset. I knew that if I had the programme, Tuesday would involve a 90-minute recovery ride, but there was a gale force South-Easter blowing. Plus, I had all kinds of demands on my time that day. Monkey mind was doing a brilliant job of keeping me off the bike.

People, this is why one has to have the programme. There is no negotiating with a task that has a day assigned to its completion.

Thursday, I guessed, would also be a recovery ride (if I had the programme, that is). It was also a busy workday with a late finish, but I managed to persuade the kids to shop for – and cook – dinner, so I went out to do the work required.

I’m riding the Double Century for the first time this year. On Saturday, our team met in Green Point, for a 5.30am departure. We did the Cape Point loop along the Atlantic Seaboard. The one cool thing about leaving that early is that by 7.15 we were in Simonstown, and we were back over Chapman’s Peak by 8.30.

This ride would have happened regardless of programme, and was in any case the kind of activity that might have been on it, so all was good.

Sunday was bit of a problem, because I needed to be in Paarl by 10.00. Fitting in three hours would have required another 5.30 start, for which I really wasn’t in the mood (oh, the negotiation that’s possible in the absence of a schedule!).

I compromised by knocking out two hours on the mountain, but forcing myself to press on the descents. I also went down the Plum Pudding singletrack below the Blockhouse, which will be part of the Epic Prologue. The top video alongside was made when the trail was still in relatively pristine condition. It’s subsequently become very rutted, with much bigger drops at the steps. I included the second video to give another perspective.

There were several collarbone fractures the last time the Plum Pudding singletrack was part of Prologue, which has contributed to its ‘fear aura’.

Completing Cape Epic isn’t just about being able to pedal the bike for as many hours as required. Technical skills are just as important, if only to reduce the risk of a race-ending crash.

I wonder if riding a bit of technical singletrack makes up for going out for two hours, instead of three or four?

Yesterday, the saying “who will guard the guards” popped into my head. Time will tell whether it becomes fixed in memory the same way as the one about letting sleeping dogs lie.

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