It was a savage day in the sun for Annie Last, but team work kept the result strong. Martin was once again the first Outcast to finish.
With extreme heat and high humidity forecast for the day, the Cape Epic team took the unprecedented decision to shorten the stage and have it finish at Water Point 2 at sixty-two kilometres. Still, a Cape Epic stage is always tough, with every day and every minute counting towards the final General Classification.
Annie Last and Mariske Strauss were at the sharp end of the race at it headed out into the dawn. For much of the early part of the stage the top five teams were wheel to wheel, but as the day pressed on and the heat crept up Annie began to suffer. She talks us through the day,
“It was a tough race for me. It was not a bad call to shorten the stage, it was a really hot day and also humid. Me and Mariske stuck to the same plan as previous day – sixty-two kilometres is still going to be a tough day and we wanted to see how we went and maximise what we had. Unfortunately at about forty mins in I started to feel not so good – maybe it was the heat. I struggled to keep down water and food so I went through a pretty rough patch then and again towards the back end of the race because I didn’t have the nutrients I needed. Mariske really looked after me, she did an amazing job getting me through the stage by handing me water when I needed it and pacing me when my batteries were flat. I feel a lot better now. I have had some food and sleep and I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what we can do.”
Team work is so key to success at Cape Epic. It is a new challenge for our cross-country riders to adapt to, but part of what makes the OMX team so special is the fantastic relationships that the riders have with each other. With good communication and a good friendship, the Hansgrohe – Cadence Nutrition ladies could manage their situation and get through the day in the best possible way. Mariske reports,
“I felt surprisingly good, but Annie was taking some knocks so we just kept it consistent and got home in one piece. I shared bottles and did my best to look after my partner. I know what it’s like to suffer at Cape Epic!”
Annie was evidently struggling as she crossed the line, but the first thing she did was to thank Mariske for getting her through, and the two shared a hug and a joke. Together they still managed a fine fifth place, despite the struggle, and retained their third place in the General Classification.
Despite being part of Cape Epic as an Outcast rider, Martin is still representing us in the best way possible and showing some seriously good form. Here’s his update on the day,
“For me it was more a ride than a race. I started in group C so there was no point to go full gas when you have to pass a lot of riders. I spoke to my coach last night and we decided that I should go at endurance speed and keep a check on my heart rate and power, and then do some efforts during the stage. It was good training and good fun. I enjoyed the ride and the scenery!”
Annie, Mariske and Martin are all now massaged, fed and watered, and ready for a big sleep ahead of Stage three.