The 2012 Absa Cape Epic welcomes newcomers to the event, pro-riders Waylon Woolcock (29) and Neil MacDonald (34), who will be competing as Team RE: CM. This year’s race, which takes place from 25 March to 1 April 2012, will once again take 1200 riders through some of the Western Cape’s most unspoilt territory. The race will kick-off with the prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville and will finish at the traditional Lourensford Wine Estate.

Previous winner of the Joberg2sea, Macdonald finished first at the Compendium Derby mountain bike race, third overall in the Nissan Half Marathon series, first in the Down and Dirty event, second in die Karoo to Coast, 4th overall in the Cape Pioneer Trek and second in the 94.7 mountain bike race. Woolcock won the Joberg2sea with Macdonald, finished second overall in the Sani2sea and Compendium Derby, placed first overall in the Nissan Trailseeker series, won the Karoo to Coast and finished 4th overall in the Cape Pioneer Trek. In 2007, he won the Tour of Egypt, the Jock Cycle Classique, and won a stage in Tour of Morrocco. He placed second in the 2008 SA Road Race Championships and also won the Tour of Soweto in the same year.

Woolcock says he is “excited about the Absa Cape Epic, with a huge side serving of nerves. Luckily Neil and I have been team mates on the road for six years which means we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well. It makes for a good team.” Adds Macdonald: “I’m really looking forward to the race. I’m sure it’s going to be a super hard challenge, but we’re up for it.”

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From left to right: Neil MacDonald & Waylon Woolcock

In terms of training, these two manage to ride together once a week and on weekends. Says MacDonald: “Waylon and I both started mountain biking last year and achieved some great results together. We both take the same approach to racing, which is a lot more conservative to the younger riders and normally works to good effect. We try to train together as often as possible but it can be quite difficult as he lives in Fourways and I stay on the West Rand.” Both Woolcock and MacDonald train under the guidance of Dr Jeroen Swart from the Science of Sport in Cape Town. Adds MacDonald: “He monitors all our training sessions and issues us with our training programme throughout the year.” In terms of dieting, both riders tend to eat everything in moderation and mostly healthy foods. Says Macdonald: “I normally eat a lot of pasta, but I’m also a big fan of red meat!”

Woolcock mostly trains on his road bke and every so often on the mountain bike. “Gym work is also included in my training programme. I have acute achilles tendinitis that flares up every now and then. I’ve had it from a young age, basically due to the fact that I over trained as a youngster.”

Commenting on the new route for the 2012 Absa Cape Epic, Woolcock sees it as very interesting with a good mixture of stages. Adds MacDonald: “I went to the route launch and think it’s going to be one of the hardest. But seeing as I’ve never done a Cape Epic, I can’t comment.” Macdonald continues: “A stage win and podium overall will be out of our reach as it’s only our first Absa Cape Epic. Winning the African leader jersey will be high on our list of achievements or even just to make it on to the podium will be great for us as a team.”

Woolcock reckons one should take each day on the Absa Cape Epic as it comes. “You’ll have good and bad days – that’s a guarantee. So enjoy the good ones and get over the bad. The right training programme, having the right mindset and being consistent throughout the race are important. Not to mention the right equipment We’ll be participating against the world’s best mountain bikers.” Adds Macdonald: “If the Cape Pioneer is anything to go by, cross training and hours in the saddle are very important. Although the hard training and perparation are important ingredients, I believe there’s a fine line between knowing when to take risks and when to back off. If you can get that right, you’ll be fine. Waylon and I alweays call it ‘Risk and Reward’.”

Woolcock’s advice to youngsters is the following: “If you have talent in something and enjoy it, do it 100%. Rather not be a jack of all trades and master of none.” Macdonald reckons “you need to dream big and never give up on something you believe in”.

When describing himself, MacDonald is a calm person but mentions how this is sometimes to his own detriment. Regardless of this, he finds he is more calm when taking part in some fly fishing in his free time or spending time with his family. Says Woolcock: “I’m a self motivated type of person. I try to be different and not follow the trend but I prefer to keep to myself.” In his free time, he enjoys spending it with his girlfriend.

Being a self-motivated person, Woolcock is aiming for 2012 to be the year where he can win and podium in any of the other stages and one day races on the team calendar as well as defend their titles in the races they have won over the past year. MacDonald is hoping for a win at the Sani2Sea and Joberg2Sea in 2012.

“I think most people take part in the Absa Cape Epic mostly for the challenge of just finishing it. For me, it is attractive because they call it the Tour De France on dirt. For 14 years, as a professional road cyclist, the Tour was never possible so the Cape Epic is the next biggest challenge for me in my career,” concludes MacDonald.

Visit www.cape-epic.com for more information.