Starting strong and making the best of the Absa Cape Epic

Posted on 16 January 2019

Making the best of the Epic experience.

Mediclinic Southern Africa understands that the Absa Cape Epic experience is often a once in a lifetime event for many riders. To ensure that you get the best of your experience, we have a few tips to maximise the riding experience and minimise the risk of injury. Mediclinic has been the official medical provider to the Epic for more than 15 years, and we would like to bring some of our experience to assist you in optimising your race.

Tip 1: Be prepared with your nutrition and conditioning for a multistage 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 – then evaluate how much you have lost during your ride. This will give you a better understanding for race conditions. Please take into account the South African climate.

For nutrition, understanding the balance between carbs and protein is especially important in 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 – doing the experimentation before the race to understand what will work for you during the Epic is essential.

But above all – find the balance between the science of nutrition and what is appropriate for your individual body. Once you have this – your race will be far more enjoyable and less pressure on your body during recovery.

Tip 2: Recognise the importance of ergonomics and bike set-up

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

Tip 3: 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 that need to be considered. For best results it is recommended that riders either participate in other races before the big event or arrive early enough to familiarise themselves with the conditions they will encounter.

Tip 4: Do your homework about 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 affected the territory so while you are reading up on the route – take the time to read up on 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 will encounter and how you and your partner plan to manage the obstacle. While we know accidents can happen – let’s avoid the ones that come from not being fully familiar with the terrain.

Tip 5: Remember Mediclinic is here to support you!

Rest assured – whatever your experience during the race – Mediclinic together with other emergency services such as ER24, will be present to support you. Please take the time to complete the survey we send out prior to the event – this will allow us to have all your details on hand – as well as being prepared with your medical history should anything unforeseen occur. Our aim is not to prevent your riding – but to ensure that your race is happy and healthy!

Also – for those that have had too much time in their saddle and are showing wear and tear – please visit our “Bum clinic” timeously so we can assist you before the next days’ travel!


Published in Cape Epic

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.