A select group of 1200 people have been poring anxiously over online weather sites with more than the usual interest in the past few days – and among them are several world champion athletes.
They are the contestants in the eight-day, 718km Absa Cape Epic, which starts with a prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville on Sunday. And they have not been getting very good news.
Ideal mountain biking conditions are dry, windless and cool – and to take on what is arguably the toughest mountain biking race in the world, you want ideal conditions.
Indications are that they are going to have a wet few days. And a few more.yr.no, the much admired Scandinavian site, suggested yesterday that they will dodge the wet stuff on the prologue day – it’ll only start raining in the evening.
But if the weather gurus are to be believed, rain jackets, leggings and full-finger gloves might be advisable for Monday and Tuesday in Robertson. Monday’s tough 108km loop will be accompanied by some 7mm of rain – not terrible, but bad for wear and tear on bicycle working bits.
Then it gets, well, terrible: If yr.no is to be believed a mammoth 27mm will fall overnight. And the windguru site seems to confirm that – predicting more than 30mm during the day.
If that does in fact happen Stage 2’s 101kms will turn into a mudfest and spare set of brake pads might be a good idea.
The good news is that the wind will not be too bad (at any stage, according to windguru).
On Wednesday the riders head off on the longest stage of all – 134km from Robertson to quaint Greyton – leaving in dry and cool conditions and riding, apparently, into a bit more rain, but light stuff.
On Thursday – an 88km loop that starts and ends in Greyton – there is a chance of some light rain and on Friday, when the riders head off on the 110km Stage 5 from Greyton to Elgin, it should be dry.
But Saturday – the Elgin to Elgin loop on some of the best trails in the world – will be, er, wet. Accordion to yr.no, though, the quicker riders might be spared – it’ll only come down with intent in the afternoon.
On Sunday the riders – those left after seven rugged and demanding days – head off from Elgin for the finish at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, the Grand Finale of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. By now everybody – riders, organisers, workers, spectators – will be hoping for a sunny welcome.
Well, yr.no says they’ll leave Elgin in a bit of drizzle … and arrive in a dry, windless and cool Somerset West.
Perfect conditions at last. If you believe the weatherman.
Source: Purple Pine PR