Cape Epic MTB Challenge

Put the pedal to the metal for this annual untamed mountain bike challenge


Africa’s most challenging mountain bike (MTB) race, the 2014 ABSA Cape Epic MTB Challenge, sets off from Durbanville for an adventure through the Western Cape from Sunday, 23 to Sunday, 30 March 2014.

Now, in its 11th year, the demanding test of endurance and mental toughness – it’s the largest full-service mountain bike stage race in the world – sees scores of MTB riders, from professionals across the globe to amateurs serious about competing, tackle 718-km of some of the nation’s most grueling mountain bike trails.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE 2014 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB CHALLENGE

THE TECHNICAL STUFF: The eight-day escapade sees 600 teams of 2 in 5 different categories – men, women, mixed, masters (40 years or older) and grand masters (50 years or older) – traverse 718km(14,850m of which is mountain climbing).

NEW ROUTES: Committed to providing riders with a unique experience, the ABSA Cape Epic organisers devise a new route each year, leading the 1 200 riders up strenuous rocky climbs, over dusty gravel paths and magnificent river crossings, along forested single tracks and down thrilling, technical downhills.

PIT STOPS AND SCENERY: This year the grueling competition takes mountain bikers through the picturesque winelands along the famous Route 62. Teams and riders kick off their week-long adventure with the timed prologue in Durbanville (23 March) at Meerendal Wine Estate, one of South Africa’s oldest vino farms, and promptly head to what is, arguably, the world’s longest wine route – Route 62 – for the first leg of the race (24 March). The first three stages take place in Robertson (24 – 26 March), where participants will travel along the jacaranda-lined town streets, passed Victorian buildings and through the breathtaking countryside. From there, teams head to Greyton (27 – 28 March) to complete stages four and five, and the final two stages (29 – 30 March) take riders to Elgin’s apple and wine country. Participants’ final destination is the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.

AFTER EACH STAGE: Teams must stay together at all times (there are penalties if two members are more than two minutes apart at any race stage), and the cut-off time for the race varies from stage to stage. The winners of each leg of the race will be given prizes at the end of the day, and leaders in the overall classification are awarded leader jerseys.

THE FINISH LINE: As always, the ABSA Cape Epic ends off with as much, if not more, of a bang as it started with. Welcome the weary riders at the final stage of the route and the finishing line at the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West. This traditional end-party not only marks the end of the race but also a celebration of a week-long journey. The day-long fiesta features activities for young and old, from the vineyard MTB and trail races to live entertainment and great food and wine. Attendees can take part in the Liqui-Fruit Vineyard races from 7am or wait at the finishing line to see the first teams cross the end point from 11am while kiddies enjoy activities and games in the Liqui-Fruit Kids Zone from 9am. What’s more, the Mother City’s latest pop sensation Beatenberg is scheduled to provide some live entertainment during the day and visitors can grab some top-notch nosh and Lourensford wines to fill up on.

STAGE NINE AFTER PARTY: Since competing in the ABSA Cape Epic is no walk in the park, the organisers host a fabulous after party at Grand Cafe & Beach in Granger Bay to celebrate this major accomplishment. The festivities start at 7pm on Sunday, 30 March 2014 and you can visit Cape-Epic.co.za for more information.

SPECTATOR INFORMATION: Whether you’re keen to see what the ABSA Cape Epic is all about or simply want to cheer on your favourite rider, the spectator guide has all the rules, regulations and information you need to safely spur on the participants. While fans are encouraged to support the teams, spectators are urged to obey the marshals at all times and to not assist any of the riders taking part in the race (simply holding the bike while the rider pumps up a flat tyre can earn them a penalty).

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2014 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB CHALLENGE

Registration for the 2014 race will take place on Saturday, 22 March 2014 at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront from 9am to 2pm. Riders need to register as a team and pairs must bring along a form of photo identification (ID or passport). Teams will receive their race packs with all the information they need regarding the race as well as their rider bags and participation shirts. Pariticipants are also afforded the opportunity to drop off any bags or bike boxes that will be securely stored for the week and available for collection at the finishing line at the Lourensford Estate.

At 11am at the V&A Waterfront amphitheatre, riders can view a number of video screenings as part of the briefing session. What’s more, participants and family members can also enjoy some live entertainment including a celebrity spinathon and interviews with top race contenders.

Do note that no late registrations will be accepted and teams that fail to register will not be allowed to participate in the race and there are no refunds.

HOW TO ENTER THE 2015 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB CHALLENGE

The mountain bike race is limited to 1 200 participants each year, and due to its popularity, spaces fill up well before race day. Early-bird entries for the 2014 MTB challenge opened at 3pm on Monday, 25 March 2013 and sold out in a record 34 seconds.

The full entry must be paid immediately to secure your spot. For more information on how to register, go to Cape-epic.com.

There are a number of ways to enter the ABSA Cape Epic, and eager participants looking to enter the 2015 event will need to keep their fingers on the pulse as early-bird entries open at 3pm on Monday, 31 March 2014.

WAYS TO ENTER THE 2015 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB CHALLENGE

Early-bird:

On a first-come, first-served basis. Only 100 of these entries for the next year’s race are made available the day after the race finishes (opens at 3pm on Monday, 31 March 2014).

Lottery:

The bulk of the entries are allocated via a public lottery process (closes on Saturday, 31 May 2014).

Wildcard:

Reserved for top Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) registered riders.

Charity:

Support a worthy cause and race the ABSA Cape Epic.

Media:

A limited amount of entries are available on request.

Volunteers:

ABSA Cape Epic volunteers receive a guaranteed entry to the following year's race.

 

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Also, have a look at our overview of annual March events to find out about more hot happenings taking place during the month.

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