If you have entered the 2020 Cape Epic, there are now full details of the race route to start amplifying your training anxiety.
Organisers of the world’s most prestigious mountain
bike race have revealed the 2020 Cape Epic route and although it has less
climbing than 2019, the overall distance is longer.
The new route starts like many previous
Cape Epic races, on the slopes of Table Mountain, with a prologue on the steep
trails which crisscross the famous landscape’s lower face.
Experienced Cape Epic riders are aware that the prologue is always a false sense of security, with the true racing starting the Monday thereafter.
Deep into the Boland
The 2020 route will take 1300 rides
(grouped in teams of two), north of Cape Town, into the Boland. Seven days of
intense mountain bike stage racing will total 647km of riding, with 15 550m
of accumulative climbing.
For 2020 the Cape Epic will test its riders
up and over some of the high Boland’s sheerest mountains. Stage 1 will take
riders to the famed Eselfontein farm trails outside of Ceres, where some of the
country’s most technical riding is found.
At all Cape Epic events there is one stage which strikes fear into the field. This known as the Queens stage and if you survive it, chances are, you will power on through the remaining days and finish the event.
The 2020 Cape Epic Queens stage comes early, on day two of the event. It takes the field through the inspiring Witzenberg valley, starting in Ceres and finishing in Tulbagh. Although just short of a three-figure distance (at 98km), it totals 2050m of climbing and the sandstone trails will test rider skills and equipment.
Wellington is home to some of South Africa’s best mountain biking terrain. Stage 4 of the event ends here and then sees a further two stages of riding on the fast and flowing trails around Wellington, including the fabled Groenberg climbs and descents.
Those riders still in contention for a
finish will have to master a final run from Wellington to Val de Vie, covering 66km
and 1850m on the final day.
After three years of high heat and drought,
good winter rains could markedly change the terrain for riders competing at the
2020 Cape Epic. More settled and less sandy trails will be welcome, but additional
protea and fynbos growth could snag handlebars and ruin drivetrains on some of the
more isolated parts of the route.