As some of you may know, my husband and I are doing the Absa Cape Epic in 11 days time – and I freak myself out every time I say that. For the uninformed, the Absa Cape Epic is an 8 day race which covers approximately 800 kilometres and 16 000m of climbing, most people can expect to be out there for about 8 – 10 hours a day and this is all off road riding. Okay, heart rate just increased by 20 beats, count to 10 and stop freaking yourself out dammit! Breathe, Breathe, Breathe.

We’ve been training for the past 9 months now so to say that our weekends have become a little monotonous would be an understatement.

“So what are you doing this weekend”, a friend would say. And she would be met with the auto-responder “We’re riding. Saturday and Sunday”. “Wow, training hard hay, well enjoy your ride, let’s meet up next weekend”. I knew in my head that we would be riding the next weekend too and the next and the next and well you get the point but for my own sanity I just couldn’t bring myself to verbalise the words.

Our weekends usually go like this:

  • Wake up 4.30am – “No, no, no”. “Why oh why are we doing this?”
  • Drive to meeting point – a little more awake now, I think I can do this
  • Start riding 5.30am – Start Garmin. “This seat doesn’t ever get softer does it”
  • Ride for 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 hours – No comment
  • In between the riding we wait around for 1 – 2 hours (snack breaks, punctures, bike issues, emotional problems, laughing attacks)
  • Arrive at car park. Stop Garmin.
  • Have Breakfast at Oscars – stuff as much food down gullet as possible (and no we don’t feel like pigs afterwards, not one bit). Get a fright as someone gets a cramp attack and causes anything in the line of fire to go flying, usually it’s a chair or two. We commonly see cases of cramp in the foot or thigh (sometimes we mistake it for jaw cramp due to the intense facial clenches that accompany it).  Laughing attack follows.
  • Drive home
  • Stop at Kentucky – husband needs more food
  • Wash bikes – okay hunni the husband does that. Superjem!
  • Crash out for 2 hours
  • Five Roses Tea
  • Dinner
  • Bed

Next day: Repeat.

Next Weekend: Repeat

All our long rides are over now though. Eu-re-ka. No actually, Eu-frikkin-re-ka! We did our last session on Sunday but had to end it off in mountain biking style by riding through a tacky strip of freshly laid tar and splatter it all over our bikes, shoes, cycling shorts, tops, camelbacks and our sense of humour.  At that point we embodied the word grumpy but it was nothing a cheeseburger, chips, salad, Coke, Cappuccino and another Cappuccino couldn’t sort out.

So one of the biggest things I am looking forward to is actually doing this race and then having a free weekend here and there afterwards! Having said that, the actual training rides have been entertaining –  we have a full cast of characters in our training group, ranging from those with permanently fitted diesel engines, to the dismount prone, to the rut and mud finders, to the ultra careful, to the hill walkers to the snack pack & chamoix cream conscious. We have them all:

Binki Bonker: Strong affinity for ruts and deep puddles.

TC: There is no pursuit of happiness here. He’s actualising it permanently! Visualise this: We’ve just climbed for 23km in 36 degree heat, we’ve been on the bike for 5 + hours, we’re hot, we’re tired, we stink. We get to the top of the hill, no one can bleat – too tired.  But TC clearly has Gummy Beary Juice running through his system and he pipes up “What a beautiful day, that was GREAT!”. At this point we are all giving him daggers. Shut-up, just feel miserable for a minute dammit!

Pinkie: Moderate affinity for ruts and stones. Stitches needed occasionally.

Loo: Most comprehensive snack packs ever.

Superjerm: Organises all the routes on Google Earth, scouts them on his motorbike and then still takes us bundu bashing. We love bundu bashing. Delivers gross inconsistencies between the “easy fun route” message advertised via SMS and the actual 3000m-of-climbing-routes!

Grandma: Whinges from time to time but we forgive him because he tells funny jokes.

Jess: Gets upset with inanimate objects. Tantrums usually manifest uphill. Provides much entertainment for others.

Jay: Goes downhill fast and tends to knock people off their bike.

Mr Bean: Needs his head read – he loves hills. I mean really how childish!

For mountain bike (MTB) team races, competitors must have a team name and much to the amusement of friends, race officials and other cyclists, we have always raced under the name, CamelToe and HungryBum. My husband is CamelToe, thanks to his nutcracker Asos bib shorts. Please for your sake I hope that you are not visualising this. And I am HungryBum just because I didn’t want to be called Camel Toe and have men with bops looking down there to verify the name! I’d rather them look at my ass if anything.

We recently did a little warm up at the Subaru Sani2C and saw that most teams were wearing matching outfits but CamelToe and I wore different outfits and we felt kind of left out. So, we decided that for the Cape Epic, we would get some custom cycling jerseys made and I would punt Phuthu.co.za at the same time. A genius I know. Here are the preliminary designs, let’s just hope that this company Lassen can pull through and make these custom jerseys for us!

phuthu-cycling-jerseys1

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