The Absa Cape Epic takes place in the Western Cape in South Africa but the route changes every year and planning starts well before a year in advance, with a team of route designers constantly scouting out new trails across the Western Cape.
In August – seven months ahead of the event – a trial ride of all complete stages is carried out by staff and key crew members, including the route designers. The course is then signed off for the 1300 athletes who will take part in the event.
Chris Whitfield has completed four Absa Cape Epics in the past and was part of the trial ride team for the 2015 and 2016 races: “It was quite an eye-opener how much work goes into getting the course right. All sorts of factors are taken into account to design a route that challenges the pros but is not completely impossible for the amateurs.”
“It also involves a lot of local assistance, typically from destination partners, venues and farmers along the route, appreciated by riders and supporters alike. Riders will be relieved to hear that some of the worst hills on the trial ride have been removed … but only after we had to slog over them.”