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Plenty of books about suffering written in the single face of Alex Moos....  Photo: A. Kuestenbrueck
Plenty of books about suffering written in the single face of Alex Moos.... Photo: A. Kuestenbrueck

ABSA Cape Epic: Stage 3 - Difficult day for BMC Mountainbike Racing Team

30. March 2011

Worcester, South Africa

Stage three with its 125km in length and 1,900m of elevation change gave our team a lot to worry about. It wasn't only the stress of moving places from Tulbagh to Worcester for the entire race village. Our team had a terrible day racing and facing the cruel conditions on and beyond the course.

Our guys quickly came to realize that the day would become a difficult one when they hit the first tough climb in the beginning of the race. It wasn't only the elevation change that put strain on Alex and Balz, the rough surface giving little grip to move on loose rocks made moving uphill that much harder.

At the finish, Alex Moos commented: "I have never raced mtb on trails like the ones we are presented here! At the Grand Raid Verbier-Grimentz we know the terrain. Here, we ride from surprise to surprise... and every day is a battle in itself. Sandy roads, washed-out earth, gravel, paved roads, and creek crossings with water reaching to the hips - we pass by it all... there is not a single minute to recover on the course. " After having made acquaintance with "the hell of the North" at Paris-Roubaix as a pro road cyclist, Alex is now going through the hell of the South with his BMC Mountainbike Racing teammate Balz at the 2011 Cape Epic - all because of the work of Dr. Evil, race course director Leon Evans.

Balz Weber wasn't in good spirits, either, tired and frustrated from four torturous days of racing across the African outback: "I had a very bad day today. Despite great support form our soigneur Chad, I didn't recover well from yesterday's stage. My legs were empty. It was impossible to turn the pedals like I wanted."

The competition equally had a hard time overcoming the rough conditions of the day. Race organizers took consequences of the delayed arrivals and postponed the departure of the following stage by one hour: what a truly terrible day for the "warrior of The Epic"!

Alex and Balz got to the finish in Worcester after 5:35:16 hrs. with a 30-minute delay on today's winners, German duo of Hannes Gaenze and Jochen Kaess - double German Champion in the marathon - of the Multivan Merida Biking Team. Every day the who-is-who of the world mtb scene battles it out for stage as well as overall victory. Meanwhile, riders of the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team are mixing it up going all out fighting to stay in the Top 10 in GC.

Stage four will host a time trial in the hills around Brandwatch, in the half-deserted neighborhood of Worcester. On the menu: a deceiving 32-km loop with 800m of elevation change that will demand everything out of the athletes and leave marks in their already strained organisms from 336km and 7,000m of racing. Tomorrow's stage will mark the midway point of the Hell of the South... the Cape Epic 2011.

Text: Ugo Dessimoz, translated from French