Cape Epic 2021 Training and Advice

I think we need a Cape Epic 2021 thread!

Here’s who’s going from TR with teams:

  • Sofia + Nate
  • Brandon + Amber
  • Pete + Chad

Who else is going? Did anyone miss the reg?


Have you ridden it before.

Not going but planning BC Bike Race for 2021. It will be my first stage race so I’ll intently follow this Cape thread and discussions for ideas to apply to my training and race plan. :+1:


Nope, but it looks pretty easy. :joy:


I did it in 2018. Apart from lots of structure training, 4 weeks out I did a block of simulation prologue Friday, 2x 100km mtb races Sat and Sun and another 100km mtb ride myself on Monday to get a good feel for the demands. I was also in Aus then so was already heat acclimatised…

Extras to think about. I did the Cape Town Cycle Tour the day after I arrived in SA (not sure if it will line up next year) then taper week just cruising Stellenbosch and Table Mountain trails. Awesome!!

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I had slot for 2020 edition, but got cancelled on Friday when all the athletes were already in Cape Town. I have swallowed my pride and will be back to race in 2021 .

Even though I haven’t gone through the grueling 8 stages, at least I put the hours in the saddle / gym and figured out a list of tips from mates that raced previous editions and from my own findings during the training blocks:


  • Consistency is key and developing a good base is essential. As a cyclist friend says: “The Cape Epic is a wattage race, not a technical race”. Having ridden Table Mountain trails, I agree with him and wouldn’t worry in excess about the technical aspect of mountain biking
  • Big weeks pay off: Festive500 gave me a lot of confidence
  • Practice riding with your partner and develop a bond. You need to know each other’s stregths and weaknesses and have the trust in her / him to give and receive honest feedback during training and the races (after all, you will be spending ~5h in the saddle together + time at the camp)
  • Simulation races are helpful too - Find a couple that fit your calendar and try to race with your partner to practice race day (week) tactics and see how you do in race conditions
  • Cape Epic is a huge goal, but don’t make your only goal: In my case, I think I started focusing on the race way too early (april 2019) and got a little burnout through the winter. This made me feel anxious in the weeks leading to the race and if I could go back in time, I’d rather peak in october, rest and have a solid 24 week macroblock.
  • Practice nutricion: It’s an eating contest. Find your go-to-brands.


  • The bike matters: if you’re not racing for the podium, comfort beats speed. Full suspension > Hardtail. Plus, if your bike has room for 2 water bottles, bonus points. Temperatures will be warm and this way you won’t need to carry a camelbak in order to have a safety margin when it comes to hidration. My choice was a Specialized Epic because it ticked a lot of boxes for me: full suspension, high quality build, “easy” to service and you can install the SWAT kit (which allows for a CO2 cartridge, tools and a spare tube). Other options I’d consider: Cannondale Scalpel (even though the Lefty Ocho can be more difficult to service), Orbea Oiz, Trek Supercaliber
  • If your economy allows it, hire all the extra services that you can (this does not necessarily mean official race’s extras): massage, bike service and laundry are essential (control the controllables). Camp Vans are a discussion topic on its own - Some swear by it and some say that if it’s your first race, then go camping with the crowd to get the full experience. Personally I’ll go with tent camping, but if you’re a competitive racer, then a Van could be worth it to maximize your recovery.
  • Learn basic maintenance of your bike on the go and carry spares of almost everything (chain link and rear derailleur hanger are overlooked parts, but good luck with finding one when you need it the most). There are service points along the routes, but you have to get there
  • Avoid getting sick: Hygiene is of the uttermost importance. Wash your hands, find bottles with cap that are comfortable…

If something else comes to my mind, I will keep posting!



This is great advice! No way am I sleeping in a tent :joy:.



I planned to race 2020, but as it was cancelled, I have signed up again for 2021. Lets hope we can race this time! It will be great opportunity to race against Trainerroad teams :smiley:

See you there!

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I really enjoyed your podcast discussing the teams cape epic. I am keen to monitor your training etc. Good luck to you all but especially good luck to chad and pete, they have my support in the team comp.

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Interesting slap talk on the webcast, seemed to be mind tactics, but I think you may be a little over confident @Nate_Pearson for such an event :slight_smile: … wish you all well but right now i will go with the pro team, I am not convinced this is all to do with W/KG - the lighter riders and their race mind sets I think will have an easier time (unless its windy) … looking forward to more discussion on the ‘training prep’ … PS: can i ride the E MTB to follow you all :slight_smile:

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@Nate_Pearson, why not up the ante on the competition? Raise money as a group. The team that wins gets to pick the charity that gets the money. That way when you’re racing, you’re not just racing to win–you’re racing for your charity.


Hey guys. I’ve been using trainerroad for nearly two years now and it’s made a huge difference to my training. Thanks for an awesome product.

As I’m from South Africa it’s really exciting that you guys are coming to race the Cape Epic next year. You are all in for a real treat. After listening to your podcasts it seems that the team is really motivated and some good competition is brewing between you which is awesome.

Sad to see that Jonathan is not racing and I did hear his “excuses” / reasons on the podcast. There is one thing I can assure you though, this is not a road stage race on mountain bikes. I know the areas well and the days are long and hard with heaps of really technical riding included. This is truely 8 days of proper mountain biking back to back in a stage race. Throw in stages with over 95 degrees F heat with over 6000 ft climbing and it becomes really tough. I’d suggest some form of heat acclimatisation training as well. Pop those trainers in that sauna you talk about. In my opinion following a good daily routine, plenty rest after each stage and excellent nutrition are key to success in these multiday mountain bike stage races. The tents can be a challenge if you are not accustomed to that way of life.

Good luck with the training. Chad, the beers and wine are outstanding. Don’t miss out! Once in a lifetime.

Cheers and thanks for your awesome podcasts. Five stars.




Tire choices? Have you guys considered the new 2.4 Maxxis Aspen or Rekon Race? The wider tread would be good for grip in the loose terrain and you can run lower pressures without those crazy “pool noodle” inserts (according to Nino Schurter). I’d suggest a robust 29 to 30mm inner width rim with those tires like the DT Swiss XMC for that race.


@Nate_Pearson, just for added excitement. This photo is from a South African friend and taken near Stellenbosch and the rider received a bite from the Puff Adder on his foot



Back in March, I was chatting with someone about what was going on in SA.
They told me things were bad in the poorer communities. Quite bad indeed.

I don’t want to cause a knee-jerk reaction. I’d like to hear about how you’ll keep training and adjust to suit.
Goals being a moving target and all.

I am not doing Cape, but I signed for La Leyenda 2021, in Colombia, South America. Same format as Cape, I will be following to try to emulate what you guys do for my own race. My money is on you @Nate_Pearson. But as you said, we would have to check how does Amber do descending.

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Thank you in advance for the nightmares this picture will cause me :dizzy_face:

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Don’t worry guys. You’ve got more chance of being bitten by a shark in Colorado than being bitten by a puff adder during cape epic. Although that picture circulated here in SA there was no report of anyone being bitten.