How to maximise your Absa Cape Epic experience

Posted on 4 Oct 2021

Mediclinic Southern Africa understands that the Absa Cape Epic experience is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many riders.

We appreciate the arduous journey each cyclist undertakes in navigating the physical and mental demands of this iconic event. The sacrifice it takes to push through, despite the added obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on sporting events worldwide. With this in mind, we want to reassure you that we’re part of a greater team who are all committed to keeping our participants safe.

Dr Darren Green, Official Race Doctor of the Absa Cape Epic, has some tips to ensure you’re race ready:

You are not alone – Mediclinic and ER24 are here to support you!

Rest assured that whatever you experience during the race, Mediclinic Corporate Events, together with leading emergency services provider ER24, will be on hand to offer support. Please take the time to complete the pre-event health screening questionnaire – this will help us provide you with optimal medical care should anything unforeseen occur. Our primary objective is not to prevent you completing your race – but to ensure that you ride your best possible race.

Time in the saddle doesn’t have to be a pain
If you discover you may have spent too much time in the saddle and are showing wear and tear, visit our renowned “bum clinic” timeously so we can assist you before the next day’s travel! This valuable service is our way of getting you back on the trail without any unnecessary discomfort. Please don’t delay in seeking out our help.

Be prepared with your nutrition and conditioning for a multi-stage endurance event

The first element of this is your fluid intake – make sure you understand your sweat rate, to identify how much liquid you should be drinking per hour. This is why training is so important – assess yourself before and after rides, and then calculate how much you’ve lost during your ride. This will give you a better understanding for race conditions, taking into account the South African climate.

Understanding the balance between carbs and protein is especially important in planning your nutrition for multi-stage events. Keep carbs at the forefront of your feeding, while experimenting during training with how much protein you can handle (to ensure you maintain the balance of protein turnover – the synthesis and degradation of muscle). Once again, test out your nutrition plan before the race to understand what will work for you.

Most importantly, find the balance between the science of nutrition and what’s appropriate for your body. Once you’ve determined this, your race will be far more enjoyable and there’ll be less pressure on your body during recovery.

Recognise the importance of ergonomics and bike setup

During the Absa Cape Epic, we’re often called on to treat the effects of poor bike setup on the rider’s body – things such as back and neck pain following alignment issues, compounded with muscle spasms. We also see damage to the peripheral nervous system (neuropraxia) due to the recurrent shaking and shock absorption – especially in the hands. If the South African terrain is new to you, make sure you assess your bike setup and understand the type of terrain you’ll be facing each day.

Give yourself a chance to adapt to the environment and seasonal changes

Many riders travel from far and wide to participate in this world-class event. Understanding the unique conditions you will encounter is essential – our single-track courses with some stylish switchback routes, the dust and heat, as well as possible seasonal factors, are all things you need to consider. For best results, we recommend that riders either participate in other races before the big event or arrive early enough to familiarise themselves with the conditions.

Doing your homework does pay off – know the terrain

While the Absa Cape Epic does favour certain areas for repeat visits, the terrain may not always be the same. Conditions such as lack of rainfall or recent fires may have had an effect. So, while you’re reading up on the route, take the time to find out more about the area. Are the climbs on single-track or farm roads, are they short in nature or will they be open and exposed trails during peak temperatures?

The portage is a classic example of understanding what terrain you’ll encounter and how you and your partner plan to manage the obstacles. Accidents can happen, but let’s avoid the ones that come from not being fully familiar with the terrain.

Minimising your COVID-19 risk
We know COVID-19 remains a threat worldwide, but all our planning will reinforce key principles in COVID-19 risk mitigation. Riders can of course manage their behaviour to reduce their risk and we encourage careful attention to detailed COVID-19 rider communication strategies. Be prepared by informing yourself of all protocols and processes set out by the event organiser. Compliance is key to ensure the safety of all participants and crew.

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