This is Lourens’ fifth and Giliomee’s maiden Epic. Why did Giliomee enter? “My aunty forced me,” she joked. Lourens said she had asked Giliomee to ride with her when her regular racing partner Anne Harrison wasn’t available. Giliomee, who is doing a BComm honours at Stellenbosch University, declined. A few weeks later, though, Lourens’ received a text message from Giliomee. “I’ve got FOMO. I’ll do it.” And with that message, Team Speed Structures was formed.

Marleen Lourens (front) Nicky Giliomee (Rear) during the Prologue of the 2016 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa on the 13th March 2016. Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

But Giliomee nearly didn’t make it to the start line. A month earlier she was racing the Tankwa Trek, and was in the lead in the mixed category, when she went down a drop too fast. “I woke up in an ambulance,” she said. Her doctor only gave her the go-ahead to take part in the Cape Epic a week before the start.

“I’m not as fit as I wanted to be, but at least I’m here,” said Giliomee.

Lourens said she was impressed with what a strong rider her former flower girl is. “She’s got so much talent, her head is very strong, and she doesn’t give up. I will go to war with anyone who will crawl to the end,” she said.

After Wednesday’s stage, the two, covered from helmet to toe in dust, were making themselves human again in the riders’ recovery zone with fellow riders giving them high-fives.

Lourens said she loves this race because it’s so unpredictable. “You can’t have any expectations. If you’re not a pro, you come to enjoy it – and then deal with any misfortune.” So far, they’ve had a puncture on the Prologue and a bent hanger.

Hopefully Giliomee will enjoy the Epic a bit more than Lourens’ wedding. The pretty toddler’s flower girl services were in huge demand and this was her fifth wedding. “I’m not going to get married ever again,” she told her mother.