As expected, the registration process for the Cape Epic was an event in itself. Gav drove Megan and I down to the V&A Waterfront, and escorted us through a high-end shopping mall to the ferris wheel we'd seen before we headed across to Robben Island.
As we made our way through the mall, we saw increasing numbers of people carrying bags that looked suspiciously like Gav and Sara's laundry bag. The bags looked full, and were individually numbered. One bag belonged to Kevin Evans, star of the film we'd seen a few nights earlier. While Gavin greeted him, I noted that he was much smaller in real life than on the TV. (The race booklet confirms he's 171cm and a mere 62.5kg.
At the far end of the mall, we emerged into the bright sunlight, and were confronted with the sights and sounds of the 11am race briefing in full flight. We didn't need to panic - we'd be sticking around for the repeat performance at 1pm.
|Briefing #1. What sort of event has two briefings?!|
We followed our noses to the registration desk. Neither of us knew our team number, so I dashed out to the noticeboard outside which listed all teams against their prologue start times. I knew we were starting soon after 8:30am, and soon knew we were team 394.
Back inside, Megan and I presented our passports, and signed against our names on the master sheet. The dude at the table ran through the contents of our envelope: numbers for the bikes, numbers for our jerseys, numbers for our tents, cable ties, safety pins, top tube stickers, a sticker for Gav for the final stage finish area, personalised laundry bags and two laundry vouchers each and a few other minor bits and pieces. Before we moved on, the guy helped us fit hospital-style ID bracelets. For the next while, I am neither John, nor sifter, but RIDER 394-2!
We moved from their to an upstairs room to collect our gear bags, again personalised, passing the Yeti guys on the stairs.
My bag was inside Megan's, along with a couple of small down pillows, and a few other freebies. Next up was the Woolworths counter to pick up a towel and buff each (and inadvertantly one for Gav as I hadn't noticed Megan grabbing one for herself).
Next, the nutrition counter. Both Megan and I had subscribed to a personalised bottle service - four numbered bottles to be made available on course with whatever we've mixed in them, and one at the finish line, chilled for maximum drinking pleasure.
From there, we made our way slowly (on account of Gavin constantly bumping into friends) into some shade. Megan went shorts shopping, while I enjoyed being off my feet and without the now rather heavy combined gear bag weighing me down.
It was still a while until the second briefing, so once Megan had returned, we headed into the mall for some air-conditioning and coffee.
|Cape Epic branding abound!|
|Where's my team mate got to?!|
|Gooch crushing goodness|
Megan disappeared to get some food just before the briefing video began. It was full of information, and when she returned a minute or so after it had finished, and asked "did I miss anything important?", all I could muster was "yes". The detail had all been intuitive enough, some of which had already been covered off at the registration desk, but there had been a lot of it, and nothing instantly sprung to mind.
We watched a trials rider attempting a world record jumping between two boxes, but just as he neared the 3m-odd record, he decided to quit while he was ahead. He'd made the shorter distances look easy, but only nailed the 2.95m jump on his third attempt, and obviously felt like his powers were waning.
We were back in Gav's wagon soon after, and not much after that, we were starting to put things on our bikes, and loading up our gear bags. It was hot work, and not entirely obvious how best to pack for eight days of camping and racing.
Everything we don't carry riding must fit in the bags, and the organisers will transport those (and those alone) between the three camps we'll be using.
My bike's numbered up, as is a jersey for tomorrow. I'll be rocking my beloved Roadworks bibs for the prologue, mostly because I love them so, but also because the chamois has seen better days and might not see much action between the first and last stages.