Prologue complete: From now on, it’s the camping life!
Rain made today's 20-kilometre prologue in Table Mountain National Park anything but easy. Held as a time trial, the teams started one after another. This was the official start of the Apsa Cape Epic adventure for Kämna and Zwiehoff. Before that, a light breakfast awaited them, for now, still at the reasonable hour of seven o'clock, with the route being relatively short.
The first meal of the day was prepared by a chef, similar to the one at BORA - hansgrohe in the race, who Specialized brought along for all of their teams. "It's good that I don't have to cook, and probably better for the riders," jokes Mario Lexmüller, who is both the team manager and mechanic on site. "In any event, the bikes are ready. Yesterday after the Recon there was still a lot to do, the weather was already rather unsettled yesterday. The specialists from the other Specialized teams showed me a trick or two as well," said Lexmüller before the race kicked off.
"The trails were quite difficult in this weather, but we had fun. We found a good rhythm uphill, then I set the pace downhill and Lenni was able to keep up. I rode a downhill pace that was normal for me relatively quickly. So we were able to enjoy the course at the foot of Table Mountain despite the rain," said Ben Zwiehoff as he summarised the race start.
For Lennard Kämna, today was his first competition after a break of over five months, so one could definitely feel his enthusiasm at this "comeback". "It was really fun. There were also a few Germans on the course who really cheered us on. I had missed this kind of racing feeling a little bit, and it definitely makes you want more. I have to say I'm happy that the first day went so well. We really had fun on the trails," said Kämna after the prologue.
CAMPING LIFESTYLE IN SOUTH AFRICA
"We are now in our camper and on the way to Base Camp. It’s relatively spacious, but we seem to have way too much stuff with us, everything is piled up to the ceiling," says Ben Zwiehoff after first seeing his new home for the next seven days. Within the camp, Specialized has set up its own infrastructure for all of its teams. Kämna describes the camp within the camp as follows: "There are all the campers we sleep in together. Then there are the tents where the mechanics and staff spend the night, and the support trucks. The whole thing will be set up today when we arrive, and the transfer will take a few hours. Tomorrow we can show you some really cool pictures."
The fact that the weather is expected to improve over the coming days is also helpful in terms of feeling positive about this camping lifestyle. "Yes, if it were like this every day, I think we'd quickly have a problem here, because you end up taking all the dirt everywhere with you," Zwiehoff says. The question of which of the two would be responsible for cleaning in this case remains unanswered. However, it can be assumed that this job, like so many others at Camp Epic, would be done together as a team.
"Actually, the support is generally not that much different from on the road, it’s just that everything is more rustic. The biggest difference is that the jerseys are much dirtier," Ben sums up the first day of the two BORA - hansgrohe pros’ adventure.
Photos: ©Michal Cerveny & ©Cape Epic