ELEPHANT EPIC 2013 RACE REPORT
Well done to all the participants of the 2013 Elephant Epic!!
Apart from a late mechanical keeping one participant from finishing you all made it through the escarpment bush track and into the Kiambi campsite. Travelling 72km on an mtb trail does well to open up an adventure full of memories and fun and this race was no different. There were steep and fast descents, some gruelling climbs, and long and sometimes dusty flats. Elephant Epic threw in a bit of everything and we hope you enjoyed yourselves along the way; and most of all we hope you are encouraged you to jump right back on your bike!!
The start this year was a lot different to last year with 6km of wide smooth tar inviting the field to put the hammer down from the horn. Let’s just say there was no shortage of Stomping The Big Ring up front and the lead group broke away immediately with average speeds of over 40km per hour down into the 1st turn onto the detour. Veteran Steven Wells thought old guys shouldn’t have to do all the work at the front and instructed a willing George to lead the train. And lead the train he did with a great effort for 1.5km at high pace……….. down the wrong road. Somehow I can’t imagine there would be any sympathy from the back markers who were still coasting down the tar with fond memories of hot coffee and breakfast buns enjoyed at the start.
Although somewhat slower thereafter, the relentless pace never stopped, and it was Young Gun Daniel Parsons who chose to attack with venom at the biggest climb of the day, aka, The Mother in Law. He had a two minute gap by the time he met Sport at the top but, as maybe only married men know, a Mother in Law can make your life very difficult!! The taste of the water point’s freshly baked energy bars was still fresh on Daniel’s palate when the Mother in Law took aim with a perfect rock to shred his tyre right off his rim! As they say “Every day is not the best day of your life” and Daniel found himself heading back up the hill in search of a tube to reconstruct his wheel and hopes of a podium finish. Veteran of many Epic races, Jesper Lublinkhoff, was there to help and threw out a spare tube. However he was in no mood to give a lesson on trailside bush mechanics. He put his downhill skills into practice and tested some sketchy lines through the switchbacks in an attempt to reel in the infallible Steven Wells.
Steven never took his chain off the big ring and pedalled it home to claim an unbelievable record time of only 02:45:00 over the full 72km + 1.5km. Some say Steve is half human and half machine. Some say he has hidden grease nipples in his knees and drinks two stroke oil before he goes to bed. All we know is that he is the fastest mountain biker in Zambia and is super fit for an old dude!! Steven was onto his second Mosi Lager when Jesper rode in and all the while, further back, there were riders looking for honours. None other than Julian Fox appeared out of the woods before Daniel to finish up on the podium in third.
Out on the trail as the sun started to beat down in the Zambezi Valley there were stories of numerous punctures, bent wheels, broken chains and the odd wipe out. The support vehicles were in demand and we were glad to have carried extra tubes and re-hydrate for all the riders in need. Owen Green was wielding his antiseptic, antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial propolis spray for anyone with cuts and bruises and when Julie Duncan exposed her rough knee it was soon administered. Now she knows propolis burns like a Glasgow Bikini Wax!!
Thankfully Martha the Medic was not called on for anything severe and thanks to everyone for keeping it safe while navigating your way through the route.
Talking of Bikini Waxes it was the Mazabuka Women that made up the podium of the women’s race with Emma Reeve, Theresia Van Zyl and Laura McGregor showing many men that shaving your legs does in fact make you go faster!!
The evening kicked off with prize giving for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed Mens and Ladies; very lucky draws from Sausage Tree Camp, Lion Camp, Kaingu and Lilayi Lodge; and the much anticipated final draw of the ultimate raffle prize – the Garmin Edge 800 GPS sponsored by Autoworld. A very lucky Kerry Bidder walked off with a new Garmin and we look forward to him inviting us on an Epic Trail in the escarpment navigated from his device!!
Straight after prize giving The Braai Guy served up a delicious lamb and pork spitbraai which filled the gaps nicely and any space left over was taken up by a well-earned drink at the bar. Some participants thought they had earned more than one and earned it well into the night with music pumping and a visually spectacular fire dance from Rachael Murton adding to the entertainment. By 23:00 autopilot had kicked in as the partygoers’ bodies reminded them of the 72km they had ridden only hours before and everyone shut down for the night.
Sunday morning breakfast was rife with rumours of what was happening with the broken pontoon. Most of the particpants made use of the Kiambi boats to get to Breezers and home. Thanks to Kiambi for all their help in accommodating us in the campsite, for the breakfasts and for ferrying us home on the mighty Zambezi.
Life on the Trail is good and we are happy to announce that, upon final reconciliation, the funds raised from the 2013 Elephant Epic have increased to a wopping ZMW50, 000.00. We would like to thank each and every participant, sponsor and supporter for their generous contribution to the Elephant Orphanage. To all the riders out there we hope you keep riding and we invite you to join us next year for another taste of fun and adventure that is the Elephant Epic MTB Race.
Here’s to Life of Trail …..