Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am in Africa

This is often a thought I have each day.  Not that the surroundings aren't a reminder.  It is just weird.  Racing each day is usually enough, but then throw in the fact that it is being done in Africa just blows your mind. Probably because my head is just not right.  It is a weird space to be in at this point in the race.  Easy tasks like filling water bottles becomes a research project.  How much water how much nutrition, wait how long is today.

Today is what they consider a rest day, but don't be fooled a time trial is not rest.  Each day has been truly a test, with yesterday being an ultimate one.  The spanish pro Hermida and other pros tagged it as being the hardest stage in cape epic history.  And it isn't even the longest one.  After today we have two long days:  89 miles 7700 ft of climbing, 74 miles 8858 ft of climbing and then the last day brings a mere 42 miles 5577 ft of climbing.  How will we come down from all of that.  The plane flight home should be interesting.

The race has such a great vibe.  There are so many people from all over the world here.   So many different languages are being spoken however most speak English.  A shame I don't know a different language.  Being from the gender that fills only 10 percent of the race, ladies are treated well.  I love to hear the voices of many accents saying "hello ladies"  or "well done ladies".  Speaking of being treated well, we are so fortunate to have the support of Specialized here at the epic.  We have a great team of mechanics that dial in our bikes for the effort of the day.  My bike has been a dream.  I thought I would miss 29'r wheels here, but I don't.  The 26'r Era rolls perfectly.  The Brain suspension is so pleasant to ride.

Additionally we are also being taken care of by Jenna.  She has been massaging our sore muscles each day.  I couldn't go on without it.  And then there is our sweet angel Antoinette.  She has been driving the RV and doing odd house chores for us.  It has been a dream.  It is all you can do to get the rest and food you need each day without other details to bother with.  Especially since after each stage you are so turned around and can't really function all that well.

The above photo is from Saronsberg.  It was the first race village.  Magnificent backdrop.

This is a photo of of the shower station.  Again look at the background.  Amazing.  It was like beautiful paintings on the walls of our camp.

A picture from the prologue.  Gorgeous.

The next two photos are for fun.  On our way to the prologue we pitted the RV for to inflate tires.  To our surprise (at 7 am) there were two beautiful women outside of there car with their music blaring an awesome beat and them dancing away.  Too much for Selene and I.  We had to join them.  Just part of the surrealness we have found on our adventure.

What about the racing you say.  Well that is for another day.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Or not.

Regardless it is around the corner.  I am putting the last touches on the fitness, pulling together logistics, and starting to get excited.  While anticipating what is to come, I can not help but reflect on how much I have enjoyed the front end of this amazing trip.  The training has been tough, but very rewarding.  Going out in crazy cold conditions were worth the effort and provided for some truly beautiful, serene riding moments. To keep things motivating, I also traveled to meet my teamate Selene and was able to experience great new places to ride.  One ride took us to a Pagoda in Pa and another took us to the pine barons of NJ.  There was no training camp or warm weather locales, but I found out that I didn't need that.  I can train through the winter without much travel and get all the goods in.  I feel like I have already taken a trip to new lands and now I am leaving on another.  It seems to some that I do the same thing each year, you know, ride my bike. In no way is it just that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March seemed so far away....

What better time than now to begin spilling out words.  It is March as you know.  In 20 days I leave for Africa, which you may not know.  How do I feel about this...well it is hard to explain.  I want to be excited and I do believe I am beginning to get that twinge.  It seemed so far away and just something I exclaimed and something I went out in the nastiest of conditions to train for.  Now that something is becoming more real by the minute.  It has been a crazy journey so far and I am sure its true amazement is yet to come.