Stage 4 certainly lived up to the pre-event hype as 2018’s “Queen Stage”. Reflecting on our time in the cave today, it feels as if Stage 4’s route was not the deciding factor in it being designated as the hardest, but rather the accumulative fatigue of the previous three 100 km-plus stages that have ripped the legs off most riders.
Thinking back, I can’t seem to remember an Epic route that has featured four consecutive 100 km stages … especially four that were so heavily peppered with lekker trails. If this is true, then surviving these past few days is reason to celebrate in itself!
It seems that the infamous tummy bug has decided to make a few riders’ experience just a little tougher! So for those of you spending quality time on the throne, commiserations, I sincerely hope it’s not in a porter loo! As a precaution, it’s a great idea to take probiotics before, and during the event itself, in an effort to keep your tummy in tip-top shape.
Race ending germs are an unfortunate reality when our bodies are on the rivet. I have had the ****s before (in 2010 Epic with Erik Kleinhans) and I do not want to relive that nightmare of trying to finish such a gruelling event on half a slice of marmite toast for brekkie.
On a practical level, if you’re riding and reading this … be wary of what you put in your mouth at water tables. While the water point staff really do everything in their power to keep things clean, riders who are popping into the bushes also have to refuel … one just hopes they’re taking their gloves off when the spice goes down, and putting them back on when deciding whether to snack on baby potatoes or date balls!
On that note, here’s to keeping it pinned during the remaining three days, off the throne and on the throttle!