2013 Absa Cape Epic: UPDATE

Absa Cape Epic 2013 Prologue - Meerendal Wine Estate

Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Burry Stander- SONGO) took the victory at today’s Prologue of the 2013 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville outside Cape Town, South Africa . Esther Süss and Jane Nuessli (BMC Wheeler) took the Women’s victory. Full recap, more photos and results to come…

Photo: Nick Muzik/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS


Different and The Same

Below are two photos. The first photo is the start line of the legendary “hell of the north,” Paris-Roubaix (1908)…. Paris-Roubaix, en ligne pour le départ.

The second photo is the start line of the 2012 Paris-Roubaix inspired, “killer gravel road race” known as the Barry-Roubaix in Michigan, USA.

parisvsmich104 years of cycling history and an ocean separate the two photos yet they are still the same in their own way– Racers lining up to take on the challenge of racing bicycles on some crap roads, quite possibly in some crap weather.

It’s no wonder that so many modern day races embrace the name and style of Paris-Roubaix. When you take the line at races like Rouge-Roubaix, Barry-Roubaix, Hilly-Billy Roubaix or the multitude of other gravel and ultra-cross races that are thankfully available to us, one can’t help but become motivated by ghosts of past Paris-Roubaix winners like Cyrille van Hauwaert (1908), Octave Lapize (1909, 1910, 1911) or Gaston Rebry (1931, 1934, 1935).

No matter the year or the race, it’s all part of the joyful pain that comes from racing bikes on dirt and gravel.

Parlez-vous français? Me neither, but I’m gonna roll some cool, old film footage anyway…

Nope, didn’t understand more than three words, but dug it just the same.


For a good look at the bikes and racers on the front row of the 1908 P-R click HERE. By the way, I think I am going to sport a turtleneck at this year’s Barry… a mustache too (if I could grow one that didn’t look like just drank coal water).

Top photo via gallica.bnf.fr. Bottom photo by Joshua Dugan via the Barry-Roubaix Facebook page (hope it was OK to use the pic).


Vintage Gravel

Today while snooping around the Web on work time I found this photo of some cyclists (circa 1885) who appeared to be into to crushing gravel as much as I, eer, I mean we do.


It is noted that hand written on the back of the card it says “possibly a Detroit group” in reference to the cyclists (way to represent Michigan gravel!)

Reminds me of the XXC Gravel Riders T Shirt XXC had a year or so back…


Thinking I might bring this t-shirt back, maybe on a new color of shirt? Thoughts?

I also love the pic below (date unknown) of racers racing on the one time dirt roads of Detroit.


Reminds me of the old XXC Dirt & Gravel Club T…


Hmm… maybe I’ll bring that back too, if for no other reason than mine are worn out. Looks I may have been onto something with my T ideas!

Fun stuff from back in the days when all cyclists crushed gravel and rode dirt roads… ’cause that’s all there was! Ha!

Photos via the archives at the Uof M.


2013 Huracan 300

The 2013 edition of the Huracan 300 is scheduled to kick off this Friday, March 15th. The Huracan 300 is a three hundred mile, self supported, solo mountain bike race that is billed as the “ultimate off-road endurance experience in the state of Florida.” The 300 mile loop includes over 100-miles of singletrack, remote double track forest roads, abandoned paths and even a little bit of pavement. Racers cross numerous forests, The Cross Florida Greenway, two mountain bike parks and miles of some of Florida’s longest and hardest climbs (what, you think there’s no climbing in Florida?).

Like so many self supported ultra-endurace races, there are no prizes, just bragging rights and the knowledge that you are a freaking badass who was up to the challenges of the Huracan.

This year mtbcast.com will be hosting call-ins for racers, so check that out and follow the racers as they take on the Huracan.

2013 Huracan 300 Start List

  • Andres Barrios Wellington, FL (Rookie)
  • Bob Marks West Palm Beach, FL (Rookie)
  • Bob Webster West Palm Beach Florida (Rookie)
  • Chris Benkly Royal Palm Beach, FL (Veteran)
  • Chris Tompkins Danville, VA (Veteran)
  • Derek Bentley Gainesville,FL (Rookie)
  • Derek Kozlowski Dalton, GA (Rookie)
  • Eddie O’Dea Atlanta, GA (Rookie)
  • Jason Murrell Ocoee, TN (Veteran)
  • Jeff Tomassetti Fernandina Beach, FL (Veteran)
  • Joshua Weinfeld “Wherever,” USA (Rookie)
  • Karlos Bernart Deltona, FL (Veteran)
  • Kevin Greten Sanibel, FL (Rookie)
  • Lynne Daniels Jupiter, FL (Veteran)
  • Mary Marks West Palm Beach, FL (Rookie)
  • Michael Arenberg St. Charles, IL (Rookie)
  • Michael Martin Conway, SC (Rookie)
  • Paul Schmitt Jupiter, FL (Veteran)
  • Peter Kraft Jr. Gainesville, FL (Rookie)
  • Peter Kraft Sr. Gainesville, FL (Veteran)
  • Rory Avant Conway, SC (Veteran)
  • Ruth Cunningham Pittsburgh, PA (Veteran)
  • Shey Lindner Covington GA (Veteran)
  • Trip Anderson Conway, SC (Veteran)
  • Rennie Vogel Jupiter, Florida (Rookie)

For more information visit Singletrack Samuai’s Huracan 300 page or check the Singletrack Samurai Facebook page.


Another Olympic Medalist To The Cape Epic




From 17 March to 24 March 2013, all eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders compete for position in what is billed to be the most competitive event in the Absa Cape Epic’s 10-year history. Covering a distance of 698km with 15 650m of climbing, the race will finish eight days later at Lourensford Wine Estate. Manuel Fumic (30) and his partner Marco Aurelio Fontana (28), will be aiming to give there all as first-time participants in the race.

Fumic started mountain biking at a very young age and raced for the first time at the age of 8. “This will be my first Absa Cape Epic and a new experience for me, Marco and the team behind us. I’m excited and we’ll be well prepared. Marco and I raced together in the Cannondale Team for 3 years. He is not just a teammate; he has become a very good friend of mine. We think the same when it comes to training and racing. He knows my strengths and weaknesses and I know his.” Fontana (28) started mountain biking when he was 10. “My family bought me a 24″ mountain bike and I started playing like every kid. Just a bit faster. I’m excited about my first Absa Cape Epic. It will be something totally different then my usual riding style. I never ride more then 60 to 70km off-road. It’ll be challenging.”

Fumic continues: “It’s not our goal to go for the overall podium, but we’ll race for a stage win or podium finish. We won’t train together often for the Cape Epic, but I don’t think this will present a problem.” Fontana adds: “The Prologue will be our main focus for winning a stage. The overall podium is for specialists of long distance racing.” He jokingly adds, “We’ll be training together more often once the race starts. We used to train together during World Cups but actually we have different coaches, so sometimes different plans. I think it would be dangerous to let us train together too often. My training programme is top secret. But if you want, I can tell you everything about Manuel’s.”

With regards to his training, Fumic comments: “From November till January I was doing base training in Cape Town. From February, I’ve been doing more intensive and power training. Season kick-off was in Cyprus mid February and early March I’ll be back in Cape Town to train for the event. I really look forward to seeing the South African countryside, riding some nice trails, racing, the pain in my legs and some great fun with our CFR team.”

Fumic reckons his strengths are his technical skills. His advice to younger athletes is to ride clean, ride in style and have fun. “I’m a really positive guy who loves life and enjoys hanging out with friends and family.” Adds Fontana: “I hope we have a great experience at this year’s event. My advice to youngsters out there is to ride your bike, train hard and enjoy life. Your dream will come true.” Fontana dreams of having a family with kids. “I’m still working on the last part. I also enjoy finding old stuff for my house, motorsport and life with my wife and friends. I also want to still win a World Cup and be World Champion.”

Fumic finished in 7th place at last year’s Olympic Games, is the 2012 Cross-country German National Champion, was the Under 23 World Champion in 2004 as well as the U23 European Champion in the same year.

Fontana was the bronze medalist at last year’s Olympic Games, was the 2008 Cross-country European Champion, and a bronze medalist at the 2010 Cross-country European Championship. He is five times Cross-country Italian Champion and 4 times Italian Cyclo-cross Champion.

Lourensford Wine Estate will once again host the finish of the race and the Grand Finale celebrations on 24 March 2013. The Grand Finale will kick off with live entertainment, a Farmer’s Market, delectable food and wine as well as glorious scenery. Vantage points will be accessible to the general public, so that all may have a piece of the mountain biking action. Entrance is free.

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