Adam Craig » Stage 1 Highlights 2012 Absa Cape Epic
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Stage 1 Highlights 2012 Absa Cape Epic
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As the race's history tells us, stage one is always a rude awakening for the riders. Combining the length, the climbing, the severity of the trail surfaces and the speed of fresh-legged hares at the front of the field - all was a shock to the system, even for the best prepared. Three major climbs loomed ahead of the athletes. The first three-kilometre rise were littered with loose rocks and tilting to 25 per cent, forcing portage, and there was a risky descent lying in wait. Then it was Hangman's Tree, which may be short, but took up to half an hour to conquer. Beautiful flowing trails then traversed the mountain ridges, showcasing the breathtaking scenery we have come to expect from the race. Tortoise Peak was the third major obstacle (there were still a few lesser ones after) and riders began creeping up this slow, yet rideable five-kilometre ascent, named after its ancient residents. Riders with bar ends had to take care on the descent, with grabbing branches on the off-camber dual tracks. For their considerable efforts, riders were rewarded with a beautiful section of trails through Nama Karoo, with a few gentle rises before finally turning east, back toward Robertson with a final rocky plunge into town.