It’s official! I’m doing the ABSA Cape Epic again!
Well, it’s official! I am doing the Epic as a part of Team ABSA again! Ernst Viljoen, aka “The Boss” and team manager, invited me to coffee a few months back and all I remembered thinking as I walked in to greet him was, “Please invite me again! Please invite me again!” And so ABSA did!
I was over the moon at the second invite and even more so because 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of this prestigious event! What irked me though was that I had to keep it a secret!! The celebrity team was only to be announced on the 9th of October! So for the last few months I have kept this all quiet!
I wanted to do the race in 2013 come hell or high water but doing it as a part of this team again is such an honour! I can’t say I am not terrified (much like I was earlier this year before the 2012 race) but I kind of know what to expect now, so that edge is off. BUT Dr. Evil can throw anything at us and the route will be challenging at the least, and the unexpected is to be expected!
This year certainly has flown by at Mach speed! Where did September go? In fact, where did this year go? Last thing I know I was at the Ride to Nowhere mountain bike race in McGregor and now I find myself sitting on a farm house porch about an hour from Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape, right on the Lesotho border!
From McGregor, Team Sandes/Haywood/Thandi left on an epic journey to the exact place I find myself now – Balloch farm, Eastern Cape. We came here for a few days so that Ryan could get a quick scout of some of the Salomon Sky Run route (www.skyrun.co.za) – a fairly inhospitable, unmarked route! From here, our road trip took us to the Thule 4 Peaks trail run in Moolmanshoek in the Freestate, about 3 hours drive from Bloemfontein.
I had been at that very race 2 years before, when Ryan won it, but only as support. This time round, I was to take part in the grueling 24 km race. 24km, you ask? That doesn’t sound far. It’s just over a half marathon. One could finish that in just over 2 hours. Um, no, one can’t. The average person completes the Thule 4 Peaks, with over 1800m of vertical ascent, in an average time of 5:30hrs. Nothing had quite prepared me for this unmarked, super tough race of bundu bashing!
I LOVED every moment! I cannot explain to you how beautiful it was from the top of those mountains! It looked as though I could see Cape Town from where I was! The views were just endless and I was constantly reminded of what a beautiful country we live in! I finished the race in about 4:30 hrs but as a former version of myself! 😉 Tired-Ness. Very tired Ness!
The weekend festivities did not end there and were followed by a great mountain biking race (I was too broken to part take in this little adventure) and the Red Bull mountain run which Ryan took part in. The mountain run pretty much involves running up and down a very steep mountain as fast as you can. Fastest time wins. It’s uber tough though and the guys and gals who took part looked exhausted as they came flying through the Red Bull arch!
Our exciting road trip came to an end as we made our way back to Cape Town on the Monday morning. I was home for 2 days before I had to leave again and this time I was off to an early training camp for team ABSA. The “secret team” at the time, was based at a lovely private game reserve close to Montague in the Karoo. The food was incredible, the riding was hard (I had my 1st encounter with hypothermia – not fun!) but fantastic training and we had the opportunity to visit an awesome primary school in Montague and hand over a cheque. The kids were too sweet and when they saw the likes of Joel (Stransky), Tiaan (Strauss) and Corne (Krige), they went hysterical! Too funny!
The first 2 weeks of October involved some great voice over jobs, the opening of a friend’s sexy bikini store in Sea Point (Periquita), a trip up to Joburg for the ABSA team announcement, the Fondle bikini shoot featured in People magazine, meetings and just general fun chaos. And packing. More packing, because on the 11th of October team Sandes/Haywood/Thandi were off on another road trip! Sky Run is on the 3rd of November and Ryan is here to scout the route (it’s 110km of unmarked bundu-bashing) and to acclimatize to this altitude. I’m here to help him out but also to get some serious training in before Wines 2 Whales and I’ve also started training for Epic.
So I’ll bid you farewell now from my porch on the farm! I have to get a 3.5hr ride in today and since I’m so bored of my own company on these long training rides, I have downloaded some great audio books onto my iPod. 50 Shades of Grey is one of them… yes, I have conformed. What worries me more is how the narrator is going to read “those scenes”…. Ha ha ha! 😉