PROJECT CAPE EPIC 2018 - PART 3
We, Cornelia and Hielke are sharing one big passion: mountain biking! Pushing ourselves to the limits in marathon races is something we love. That’s why we want to conquer the ultimate stage race in South Africa together once again. Follow us on our journey called ‘project Cape Epic’. Riding as team Shimano S-PHYRE.
It’s a wrap! Did I mention time is flying? I remember writing about winter training and how fast time passed by before the Cape Epic. Now I can tell you that it’s going even faster when you are in this race. Before you realise you are already back home and thinking about what actually all happened these last weeks. I am trying to find the right words to describe the feeling about how it was to race the Cape Epic this year.
NO ONE SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY...
The plan was to write you during the race, but time was flying and I just could not get any words on paper. No one said it was going to be easy, that is what I posted on my social media channels during the race. Every stage of this race proves it to be true. Since this is a blog, I think it is fair to be honest and to give you an impression of how things are at the Cape Epic. I would have loved to write about a good result and a super feeling on the bike, but unfortunately this wasn't the case. I was struggling to get through the race and I didn't find the form and the legs what I was hoping for. I don’t know why, but the power just wasn't there! This makes the Cape Epic, maybe, evenmore challenging than it already was. I managed to stay positive, to enjoy the moments and to make the race to a good end! Especially for Cornelia - the best teammate I could wish for in this kind of situation.
So we did! Crossing the line in Val de Vie felt like a big relieve. We ended up 9t in the GC. This was not where we were here for, but that’s also part of this sport. Realistic would have been a fight around top 5, but hey, it is how it is. Not looking to the result too much, you can say we finished this race. Another fact: 35 hours in the saddle. 35 hours (!!!) of hardcore suffering on the bike. Writing this, makes me a bit proud we kept on fighting and were not giving up. Despite everything, we tried to keep positive and we just kept on pushing.
Is it always about the results? In racing it mostly is! But when things go different there is way more where you can think of. A lot of people ask me how things were in South Africa. And this is my answer: The life-experience was super good. It was 100% a once in a lifetime experience. To go on this challenge with your buddy is worth so much more than just the result on paper. I think we will never forget those moments on the bike together. The memories you gather are so precious and make your friendship stronger! And what about our support crew? My father and cousin were helping us so good. Thinking back and realizing that my dad, out of Europe for the first time, was there to support me in this brutal race in South Africa. I cannot find the words to describe the feeling of seeing him being proud, cheering for us and waiting at the finish line. Memories for life. The Shimano part is something very special too. We felt so privileged to have such a partner at our side and to present the best brand out there. Both hardware and soft goods! Thanks again.
After the last stage we just had one day left in Cape Town. Packing the bikes and do something different for one day. We went to the beach and were drinking coffee in a brilliant coffee shop in this big city. We actually wanted to do some shopping, but after already five minutes we were too tired of the city life and went to the beach straight away. Taking a dive in the Atlantic Ocean and let your thoughts go over everything what happened was very good for body and soul.
In all of a sudden you are out of the big racing circus and ready to go home. Reflect, recover and come back stronger! After such an experience it is very important to reflect well and be honest about what went well and what went wrong. You can learn a lot from it. Maybe even more important is to be smart and take these lessons with you for the rest of the season and your career. The recovery part is a balance between getting back to normal (working) life and, in my case, have at least two weeks off the bike. If the feeling is good I will start slowly and more intense in week three and four. The next appointments: Cornelia will race in Croatia this week and I will be in Riva del Garda Bikefestival end of this month.
Cheers. I will keep you posted later in the season about the next races.