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Project Cape Epic 2018 - part 1

We, Cornelia and Hielke are sharing one big passion: mountain biking! Pushing ourselves to the limits in marathon races is something we love. That’s why we want to conquer the ultimate stage race in South Africa together once again. Follow us on our journey called ‘project Cape Epic’. Riding as team Shimano S-PHYRE.

Who we are

We are Cornelia Hug: Swiss, living in region of Thun (Switzerland), XC-Marathon biker, sponsored by Scott and Hielke Elferink: Dutch, living in Davos (Switzerland), XC-Marathon biker, sponsored by Maloja - Rocky Mountain Racing Team.

The Idea

Being in the marathon mountain bike scene for a couple of years now, we ran into each other 2 years ago during a very tough Alpine stage race. Discovering that we not only have the same speed ascending and descending, but also love chatting and laughing, we came up with the idea to ride the Cape Epic together. The following season we were representing the South African Team Meerendal. It was a great experience, but as always: extremely hard!  In the aftermath one thing kept coming back: “we have to tackle this huge challenge again, we’ll come back stronger!” 

At the moment we are in training in Gran Canaria. Train, eat, sleep, repeat.

Project Epic

That’s how we came up with ‘Project Epic’, because racing the Cape Epic can be considered as a project. A lot of things need to be arranged before you can actually give all you have at the end of March.

From A to Z, it’s basically all in our hands. The planning of our training, the days prior to the race, people to help us during the race, a mobile home, and many more. It’s not just a matter of what’s the best. Cornelia combines training with a part-time job as police officer and Hielke as a physiotherapist. Combining these two worlds is challenging, but feels just right for us! The fact that we are able to do ‘project epic’, makes us feel very privileged and happy.

One thing is clear, signing up for the Cape Epic means that we have to be super fit in March. Compared to the European marathon season the Epic is very early in the year! Which means; hard training, all winter long! Living in the Alps and getting top fit for a race in South Africa in March, where temperatures can be easily above 35 degrees Celsius, it needs some clever planning as well. At least one training camp, where there is no snow is a must. Also arriving in South Africa straight from a country where it’s still winter, we need at least one training block under the South African sun to give our bodies time to adapt and recover for the Race. We plan 10 days in Stellenbosch beforehand to get used to the dusty trails, the heat and focus on what we are here for!

winter training

For those not living in the alps, in our case winter training means:
Ski mountaineering (skitour): walking up the mountains with skins under your skis. After a few hours or when you are at the peak you change your skis back to downhill mode and you ski down. Perfect for endurance and power endurance training.
XC skiing (langlauf): endurance, high-intensity, VO2 max intervals, all body workouts.
Gym: Core- and power training.
Bike: both inside and outside. Outside it takes a few extra layers of clothing and good tires. Also when it might be cold. Riding on snow is not just super fun, but also great for your skills. If you handle the cold, we it’s the best! 

Gran Canaria

At the moment we are on a training camp in Gran Canaria. Train, eat, sleep. This schedule is repeated all the time, every day. Compared to our lives at home we can just focus on riding. Living the good life, right?!  But we are not just making kilometers. Also hard intervals are on the program; 30-30 efforts, 1 minute all-out efforts, threshold efforts, we’ve done it all. Testing our new S-PHYRE clothing also got us excited!!  We love the looks and are so impressed by its quality. Very comfortable, even after 7 hours of riding! We can’t wait for the final kits to arrive and to show it once we are in South Africa.

That’s it for now! Two 4-day blocks are scheduled. So it’s time to get some rest and let the ‘recovery-modus’ do the rest.  We will come back to you in a while and write you from or training days in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

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