Absa Cape Epic – Take: 9

I’m going to casually avoid dealing with the fact that I haven’t posted anything to this blog for almost a year, okay? Ta. Moving swiftly along…

I’m stoked to be partnering up with my old mate Carl Pasio for this year’s Absa Cape Epic. And when I say old, I mean we have raced the prestigious event twice together. I don’t mean he is old. Actually he is disturbingly young. I, on the other hand, am starting to feel my 37 years and eight previous Cape Epics!

Early on Stage 4 cruising the descent off Babylonstoring, Caledon.Carl and I rub Adamatium cream on our bodies before the start of Stage 7

I made a bit of noise about him when we rode together for the first time in 2012. Check it out here. Some of the same fear is creeping back at the thought of riding with a man nine years my junior, who routinely clocks up 150km rides before lunch and calls the Spanish Pyrenees his training ground.

But I am quickly comforted by the fond experience of facing this crazy ordeal together before, and conquering it. We didn’t have it easy. In our first outing together Carl spent Stage 3 soft-pedaling while I spent the day stoically trying to hold onto his rear wheel while throwing up on my handlebars. In 2013 it was his turn – Carl caught an evil race village bug before Stage 4 that brought him to his knees. I dragged him over the Bainskloof Pass and into Wellington in 150th position that day, convinced our race was over. But Carl had other ideas and we stormed back into the top-20 on Stage 5. We have laughed out loud often and shed more than a few tears in the 1,479km and 31,900m of vertical ascent so far.

But the ultimate proof of our success as a pairing was when I asked Carl if he’d like to square up to the adventure again. His answer was unhesitating – yes. If we were nervous in 2012 before we decided to team up, we are mountain bike stage racing Zen masters now. We know it’s our friendship (and a bit of luck) that what will carry us through.

I am equally proud to be riding for Team RSAWEB. The Cape Town-based IT company is owned by two friends of ours, Mark Slingsby and Rob Gilmour. These guys have an innovative approach to business, and an industry-leading understanding of the tech world they operate in. But, even better, they love bikes. They just get it. RSAWEB has been proudly supporting the cycling industry and aspiring athletes for years. Carl’s early career as a pro triathlete and cyclist was made possible by their sponsorship. My brother Simon and I rode the our fourth Absa Cape Epic together for Team RSAWEB in 2009.

Another long-standing partner that we are very fortunate to have is Biogen. As with RSAWEB this South African nutrition company has supported Carl and I for years. While Biogen products keep us powered up and hydrated out on the trail it’s their support team back in the office who really make working with them such a pleasure. Biogen is sports-mad and its marketing head is Brandon Fairweather, another sports fanatic who understands the many demands of pro and amateur bike racing.

I am getting flippen excited about charging through the Western Cape on 15 March, with Carl by my side. And I’m amped to take you all along for the ride – on this blog, as well as via the Cape Times, where I will again be writing daily columns from the trenches of the race.

I also can’t wait to introduce my new bike, which has a couple of interesting race tweaks to the setup…

For a quick idea of what we’re signing up for this year, watch the 2015 Absa Cape Epic route video:

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Five by Chris Akrigg [video]

Funny, I’ve got five bikes too. Somehow, after watching this, I feel like I’m not doing them justice!

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Ready or not… the 2014 Absa Cape Epic

I’ve been incredibly slack. It’s been mooonths since I last posted. 1000 apologies and all that, but I’ve been busy riding, swimming, running, traveling, learning, crashing, winning… and proposing. And I believe that living in the moment beats pausing to make sure I’ve got the photo (or a blog post) to make it more meaningful. So there.

No, haven’t stopped writing. In fact I’m ramping it up! And I promise to post more on this platform. In 2014 I will again be writing for the Cape Times newspaper as I tackle the Absa Cape Epic for the eighth time. I’ve got a few other magazine feature stories up my sleeve too.

But the thing that has me most excited is the opportunity to ride with a real legend of the game, Hannes Hanekom. He’s one half of the formidable boer broers (‘farmer brothers’, for those, like me, whose Afrikaans is not up to scratch). Hannes and Sakkie are brothers who know how to dig deep, ride fast and suffer hard. Something I have experienced with my own brother, Simon. Over the past five or so years I have chased these incredible athletes across most of South Africa in countless races. They are tough and talented. But they are gentlemen. I’ll write a little more on what it means to pair up with Hannes in time, but for now, it’s enough to say I’m bloody excited!

To top it off, we are riding for a fantastic cause, in partnership with an incredible sponsor. Hannes and Sakkie have ridden the Absa Cape Epic five times together for fruit export company Tru-Cape. In 2014, Hannes and I will also ride in Tru-Cape colours, but with a special twist. We will be head-to-toe in pink kit, supporting the breast cancer charity Pink Lady.

I lost my mom to cancer a little over two years ago, so the cause is very close to my heart. She was lucky to have had access to regular world-class treatment here in Cape Town. This was an incredible comfort to my family during a very difficult time. I can only imagine how hard it must be for women (and men) from poorer communities, especially those outside of metropolitan areas, to access treatment. Although my mom didn’t have breast cancer, battling this disease in all its forms is the same terrifying challenge for all, and requires incredible resilience.

What Hannes and I will be doing over eight days at the Absa Cape Epic simply doesn’t bear comparison to the hardship and incredible courage those tackling cancer head-on experience. It is an honour to be associated with Tru-Cape and Pink Lady and the amazing work they do supporting the Tygerberg Hospital Breast Clinic. And we will do our very best to raise awareness and funds as we hit the trails. You really won’t miss us. Pink is the new black.

Pink Lady TruCape Cape Epic

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2013 Tour de France Road Gap

Is there a better way to celebrate the 100th Tour de France’s than boosting the peleton on Stage 20? I didn’t think so.

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Danny MacAskill is back – Imaginate [video]

http://imaginate.redbull.com/videos/riding_film

This takes me back to the hours I spent playing with cars, trains, planes and bikes scattered about my bedroom. Nice to know all that time mucking about was put to good use by someone… A simply superb bike video. Again.

*Trying to get the pesky video to embed. But no luck yet. You’ll have to go via redbull. Sure their incorrect code is no accident…

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Lines of Lofoten [Video]

Just too much of fun.

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2013 Mountain Bike World Cup Season Preview [video]

This year is going to be a ripper!

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