SXC Racing finishing time 03:51:51
The last day of the Epic is one of many emotions. Relief and satisfaction that the last day is here and the finish in sight all the pain and physical exertion will be over. But also sadness and emptiness that a week of extreme physical/mental commitment and months/years of planning and training is over.
The day started in mist and rain, which instantly bought back memories of day 2 - no one in this year's Epic would want to experience that again. Fortunately today we were heading high into the mountains on most rough, rocky and sandy soil. The first climb of the day was a big one 600m up the Nuweberg and then over the Hottentot Mountain. Range. The good news was that about 1300m climbing would be over with inside the first 40km the bad news was there was not much down or soft peddling.
I again started in the first group, and like yesterday, settled in with the top mixed and women's teams. The tempo was high, but sustainable, and I found myself with all the same familiar faces of the last couple of days. I cant stress how important this is when you are riding solo - you want to be with other riders you can trust, will not do anything silly, can hold a wheel, and know are going to choose the correct line, up or down over loose rocky ground. The key is consistency - no surprises and this is exactly how the day unfolded.
Once over the last mountain pass, the rain and mist disappeared, and we were greeted with sunshine and amazing views back over Cape Town and False Bay. Here we had to get off our bike and 'hike a bike' over wet, steep, slippery rocks for about 2km. Here me and a Brazilian mate lost the main group erring on safety for the last day,
I crossed the line again in the Masters Top 10, which actually means little on the last day. The overwhelming feelings that you experience are hard to explain. Exhilaration of surviving the hardest 8 days I have ever experienced. Physical and mental exhaustion from this day and the culmination of the last week and months if training preceding the event. Sadness, of finishing as an individual, and not a team as we had started.
I am extremely proud of what we have achieved this week. The effort to get here and the accomplishment of completing the stages we could as a team and finishing individually and not something I will ever forget.
Will we be back? Personally I have some unfinished business here, so yes, I think I will be back. I have some idea what to expect now which will lend itself to better preparation and planning for the next campaign.
Now time for some relax and recovery time, and enjoy the wonders of the Western Cape.