Heaven - Hell - ride
That was it. The 2015 Absa Cape Epic edition is over. As I mentioned on facebook, it was not where Milena and me were coming for. Of course we wanted to finish the race and to even do better than last year. Our plan was to not go all in during the first few days, so we would have some of a reserve towards the end. Things all got different...
The prologue was going super good! So cool! This result we really need to remember of this race I think. It's something where we can be very proud on! Such a big podium, such good team, world class top riders, even world champions. We did never expect to get our 3rd place at the this year's prologue in Cape Town at the Tablemountain. But we did! Juhuuu :). In Heaven now :)
The first real stage started good. It was not so warm, sometimes even a bit rainy, which I like:), all good. Milena got a flat rear tire. Aiii... Fixing it did not work so well. So new tire in. Again flat. Stop again. Etc. Etc. 4 stops, about 20 minutes total time loss. Too bad!!! In between we got a good rhythm with good pacing.. feeling was still good. Not in heaven anymore :-\
Stage 2: podium again! 3rd. Except for the first two longer, steeper climbs, it was really a cross country style course today. A lot of small climbs and so much super nice trails. This stage was really good to ride. It was long again, but a lot of fun because of the fun and fast trails. There was a very strong wind, but that's what you are used to coming from the Netherlands I guess. We were riding in 4th position all day. When we crossed the finishline it turned out that the leaders have been taking a shortcut, and were therefor getting a penalty. Which made us 3rd again! So, nice podium again! Proud.. A little bit more towards heaven again now :)
Stage 3: Sufferday. A brutal long stage, passages where you could hardly get your bike through, hot.. and.. Milena getting sick.. The morning of stage 3 Milena told me she was not feeling well. Having breakfast was hard and I could see it too. Still of course she started. From waterpoint to waterpoint. Riding your bike for 6,5 hours when you are not feeling good, or are actually sick, takes a lot of power and courage. Milena was fighting like a lion today. Glad this day was over, we made it over the finishline... also knowing it would be very hard to recover for her, after such a ride.
Stage 4: outcast. Unfortunately Milena was not able to get on her bike anymore. Too bad. Something we were both feeling bad about of course. But there was just no other option left. Shit happens... We both hope we can team up some other time again! I did ride as an outcast rider now. That means that you get a special jersey so that other teams can see you are not riding for the classification anymore. But still can finish the race. My focus was of course not on racing anymore. After such hard days in the saddle, being an outcast rider, changes the way of riding more into training mode. Heavy, long training though :). Nice was that I could ride with Laura Turpijn together. She was outcast too, so we joined forces.
The next day again a long outcast ride, about 6,5 hours!! What a week.. I was feeling good during the ride, but 2 hours after we finished I started to feel bad. This changed pretty quick in feeling worse.. now I was getting sick too. What is going on this year?!?! Not nice. I spent the rest of the day sleeping and on the toilet.. not so nice. The next morning I had to stop the race too. Aaaah noooo. Yes. No other option. I went to the Mediclinic on the Epic venue to see a doctor. They told me I was having 38,5 fieber. No wonder I was not feeling well. They gave me an infusion to stop the fieber and to get my body rehydrated again. After this it was going better slowly. Cape Epic 2015 was now over for me too. Such a shame. The day after I was feeling much more a live again and I could chear on my Meerendal teammates for their last stage. Very proud of you guys! We packed all our stuff and moved back to Meerendal to see the first riders finish the race. Mixed feelings of course, but cool to see them finishing. Of course after such a week it is easier to think about the sick days and the suffering, and almost forget about our super good start and good results the first days.
Now it is time to recover and focus on the start of the european season! I am looking forward to it and hope to get the good form back very soon! Hielke