I don’t usually let my delusional husband on the loose on Phuthu.co.za but he wrote such a lovely post that we made an exception! :)

So how did our Cape Epic adventure all start you may ask? A friend suggested that I take a lottery entry last year. Without much thought I entered, not thinking much of my chances of winning an entry.  I had the attitude that if it was meant to be it would be!

Then, on 13th of July I got the email: Congratulations, your Absa Cape Epic lottery entry was successful! Wow, now what to do? Could I manage the 8 days? Who would I ride with?

My obvious choice of partner was Louise (KAFNO (known as from now on) as Hungry), my wife and best friend, but would she been interested? I asked her and she said she would think about it! She said nothing about it for a few days, then at midnight on my birthday, 16 July, whilst I was getting up to go to the loo, she pipes up; “yes, ill do the Epic with you”

So, we needed a plan on how to get prepared for this thing. We got a training program from Polar and decided on the 16 week program which peaked at 18 hours per week. Think about it, 18 hours is 3 hrs per day 6 days a week!

We decided to make the training fun and set our goals at doing a new fun ride every week where possible. We had two other members keen for anything, the ever cheerful and positive Tony Cole (TC) and the ever so elegant Carla (Binky Bonker). The  “hardcore four” is what we named ourselves!

We had others join us for most rides and another regular fixture to our group was doughy Di. These fun rides with fun people made the training easy for me. I never had to drag myself to training, the ride and the gang was foremost and the training was secondary.

The first 7 months or so of training went rather slowly. However, it seemed as though the closer we got to the event, the faster it approached. The last month just flew past and before we knew it the Epic was upon us! The reality of the event finally hit home the Monday before we left for Cape Town when I packed up our bikes and delivered them for courier to Cape Town. Next thing I knew we were on the plane to CT and the next thing we were on the start line!

The week of the race seemed to go so fast.  Time ticked on relentlessly and the days we were dreading (long days of 115km) soon came and passed. It’s strange how time just keeps moving whether you want the moment to last forever or hurry up and move on!

The race went perfectly to plan; we had no technical problems or punctures. And although there were some tough sections and long days, I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed the actual event, not just the satisfaction of reaching the finish.

The race was so much more that I had expected it to be, it was special for many reasons, the satisfaction of completing a tough event, the support of friends and family before, during and after the event, the camaraderie of the other riders, the genuine congratulations at the finish and just being outdoors having adventure in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The finish was also a very special experience. I have finished many long tough events, the comrades being one of them but never before have I felt quite the same emotion just getting to the end. I am not sure why, if it was for myself or for my pride in my partner and best friend, Hungry.

The finish atmosphere was also amazing. Massive green fields full of smiling, happy riders and their friends and family picnicking all over the show on a beautiful sunny afternoon in a spectacular setting was awesome, we didn’t want to leave….

I suppose the main reason for the event being so special to us really was the people:-

To our fellow riders who we trained with week after week and finished the race with us: Carla Binky Bonker and Mylo, Doughy and Paul  M, Ursh and Paul, Gary and Howard, Jason and Chris (with a broken hand!) Jimmy and Roddy, Gordon and Jess, Phillippe and Rafael, GI and Travis, and all the other Toyota guys.

And to so many people who helped and supported us is doing this wonderful event, our good friend and doctor Stevie B for his daily calls, and to TC, Bridgi, Shane, Shirl, Chris VK, Jay Hall, Jilly, Mom, Dad, Sharon W, Craigie, Wobber, Mark F, Mike Bosse, Trav W, Juan, Terry F, Tim W, Jonny Dangerous, Eric for their calls and messages of support.

And at the race villages, to Rohan for personalized deliveries of results, Colin and Kirk from Morningside Cycles for their tech help, Mike and Des for being the worlds best seconds.(unluckily they weren’t seconding us!), to Maddeliefie for the great soothing massages and Ian for all his running around.

Also to Team Toyota for inviting us into their VIP enclosures and treating us as a part of their team, many thanks! Go out and buy a Toyota Folks!

To Trevor for house sitting and for feeding our cats, George and Frank and for the cake (We didn’t get any SMS’s from our cats but I think they were out of air time!)

And finally to the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their time to make the race a success. It was your spirit that made the event such a success.

All those people mentioned above combined to make the whole experience such a special one. So all I can say now is, if you haven’t done the Epic, do it! We have proved that anyone can do it if they are prepared to put in the training. Sure it’s expensive but well worth it, it was an experience to make you feel like you are alive!

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