It's been two weeks since the Cape Epic came to an end. 522 teams out of 620 started have reached the finish. With very few exceptions, it was a hard fight for everyone. But not only the drivers had to suffer, it wasn't exactly a holiday trip for the material either. Both my brother Sebastian and I completely used up two new sets of brake pads on the second stage alone with a lot of mud and our suspension forks have been waiting for a thorough interior cleaning ever since. The previously almost completely renewed drive train is also over and all bearings are running rough. This is mainly due to the fine sand, which gets everywhere, especially when it is wet.
All in all, we had surprisingly little sun this year for South African standards. But that wasn't bad at all. 40 degrees Celsius without any shade are certainly not particularly pleasant in the long run. The now and then interspersed river crossings would have been much more pleasant. But it only gets really fun when you can no longer drive through the river, but have to shoulder your bike and hope not to get stuck in the next mud hole. Fortunately, the organizers had chosen the route as conscientiously as possible and dangerous places were well marked. Only a few knee-deep gullies caused by the heavy rain came as a bit of a surprise and on the last day there was a longer mandatory section of sliding on large, rounded stones - not an easy task thanks to the rain.
Surprisingly, we were spared any major defects throughout the race. We only had to get off the bike twice to pump air. The tires with an extra puncture protection layer plus plenty of milk really paid off here. From time to time I had problems with my small chain ring. Since the third day, the chain has jammed quite frequently. On the last stage I had to ride everything with the big chain ring. Stepping up steep ramps at a frequency of fifty is unfortunately not fun for me. But in the end we managed to do it. Especially since, unlike many other teams, we had it pretty easy. We never had to sit on the bike for more than six hours and while we showered, ate and slept, the teams behind were still fighting for the time limit. I can't imagine sitting on my bike for eight to eleven hours every day. Respect for all those who have done this ordeal anyway. I have to thank my brother in particular, who waited for me throughout the race, pulled me and motivated me. At the finish of the last stage, I was very happy that the torture was finally over. I was pretty exhausted and tired. Still, it was a good experience to test your limits.
In addition, it is always interesting to get to know other cultures. In South Africa the clocks run a little differently than here. In the two days that we still had after Cape Epic before our return flight, we visited the Cape of Good Hope and hiked up Table Mountain. There is also a train going up, but taking the steep path was the better and much more eventful decision.
I've been back in Germany for a good week and a half now. Luckily the weather is nice here too. In the meantime I've recovered quite well and yesterday was the second road race of the season.