Veteran cyclist prepares for Cape Epic
One of Namibia’s top cyclist, Swiegers Swiegers spends 10-12 hours training in preparation for the Absa Cape Epic slated to take place later next month. Swiegers has been training hard since December and will start to take it easier from the beginning of March.
His training includes a 6-8 hour weekly regime on the network of mountain bike trails he has created at Gondwana’s Klein-Aus Vista Lodge. Swiegers, who has been cycling for many years, came fifth in the World Veteran Cross Country race held in Swiegersermaritzburg in 2013, and fifth again in the Veterans race in the Rainbow Challenge XC Marathon held in Swiegersermaritzburg in 2014.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world. It is also the only eight-day mountain bike stage race to be classed as hors catégorie (a name given to the toughest climbs and listed as ‘uncategorised’) by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), making it a highlight on every professional cyclist’s calendar.
This year the 13th Absa Cape Epic consists of 651 participating teams. This backbreaking 8-day event, attracting local and international mountain bikers, leads the amateur and professional cyclists through 800km of unspoilt scenery and 15 000m of accumulated climbing, over some of the Western Cape’s magnificent mountain passes.
The route this year takes cyclists through the hilly Tulbagh area, with rugged ascents likened to sharks’ teeth, and over the old wagon trail in the Witzenberg Mountain Range and the Bainskloof Pass to Wellington. During the following days, five steep climbs lead cyclists towards Stellenbosch and wine god Bacchus’s garden with a view from the vineyards towards False Bay and Table Mountain, climbing Meerendal’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ before reaching the Cape Epic finish in Durbanville. Participants spend at least six hours per day in the saddle.
His teammate, Atle Hansen, is a well-known cyclist on the European circuit who spends around 700-750 hours a year on a bike. Hansen came fifth in the World Masters Cross Country race held in Swiegersermaritzburg in 2013 and in 2014 came in second in the Masters race in the Rainbow Challenge XC Marathon.
Atle will join Swiegers in Windhoek on 4 March where they will train for the day before travelling to Sossusvlei, for a day’s riding to the dunes, heading back to Klein-Aus Vista to continue the rest of their final preparation on the Klein Aus tracks.
The ‘Klein-Aus MTB team’, as they call themselves, will depart on the 10th March for Cape Town to partake in the Absa Cape Epic Prologue a few days later on the slopes of Table Mountain. This 21km event incorporates a cross country course and a steep climb. Team Klein-Aus MTB aims to secure a start in Group B for the next day’s Stage 1 event.