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Going Epic: Myriam Saugy prepares for the Cape Epic
29-year-old Swiss endurance racer Myriam Saugy is training for the Cape Epic mountain bike race to be held in South Africa from March 24 - 31, 2007. She set a goal of participating in the Cape Epic two years ago. In this diary, she documents her training and preparation for the off-road stage race.
Saugy began mountain biking in 2000 and racing in 2002. She now rides for Team Texner BMC (www.team-vtt-texner.ch) and is a member of the Swiss endurance national team. Saugy races as an amateur; she is also pursuing a teaching degree in history and geography.
South Africa, April 5, 2007
Wrapping up from Cape Town
Hello you all,
I can't believe this is already the time to share with you my last impressions on the Cape Epic 2007. The last week has been so intense that my head is still full of images from the race itself and at the same time, it feels like I am slowly waking up from a very long dream. I have decided to have kind of a thematic post race report, so I've broken it all up.
Just after the race
Just after the race, a strange feeling came up. At the same time you think finally it's the end and there's no need to suffer anymore, you wonder why you are not getting onto your bike the day after to start racing again. It's a mixture of joy and stress relief that makes you want to cry. That's also taking your racing partner into your arms to tell each other "Thank you, well done, I can't believe we made it."
You have people watching you, photographs being taken and people coming to cheer you up. It's very nice and again, very intense. We have had our little glory time as we got interviewed, and then we started to walk away with the rest of the finishers to get medals, collect our transponder deposit back, and pick up our finisher T-shirt.
When you are all done with that, it's when you start to feel a little bit of emptiness. The field is big, but there is no camp set, so you need to get your bag and the rest of the luggage that didn't follow you day after day. We felt a little bit lost at this point. Hopefully, our Swiss friends took care of us and packed all our stuff in their camper and drove to Stellenbosch where we would share a pizza and champagne together with the other Swiss teams and the physios that looked after us during the week.
We had no time to sit as we had to get ready for the gala dinner. We got into the B&B where we would stay for the night, got showered, and off we went. The Gala dinner was really nice and the buffets were all excellent. The time for prize giving came, and it was great to be on the podium. We took a lot of pictures and the party went on. Most of the riders went into town then and partied until quite late in the night.
On Sunday, we were definitely exhausted but we had to move on and pack our stuff to get to Cape Town. We still went sightseeing as Fabienne was leaving on Monday morning and didn't know the Cape Peninsula. It was weird to see her going on Sunday night. Since then, I have been staying with friends here in Cape Town and taken it really, really easy. Tomorrow I am off to visit others friends in Johannesburg who are going to take me on their farm to see some wildlife. My bike will stay here so I will be off the bike for a few days.
The Cape Epic is definitely a must-do for an endurance rider. The organisation is very professional, but the atmosphere remains very friendly and warm. As an overseas rider, you get to experience a little bit of Africa. What is wonderful is to have so many kids waving at you on the side of the roads and sometimes running after you.
This year had been especially good as we didn't get one drop of rain. We got a lot of dust in exchange but if I had to choose, I much prefer the dust than the rain and the mud. The course was extremely difficult, and apparently the hardest since the creation of the Cape Epic, but I think it was worth it as we were taken through beautiful landscapes. A real challenge, but if you are ready enough a feasible challenge and a wonderful one.
Would I do it again? Just after the finish I was still hesitant but now I can say that yes. Especially because for us European and American racers it can't be a better preparation for the season to come. Ok, this will still need to be confirmed later on I would do it again as well because I just loved it. To be around people from all around the world, speaking four languages at a time, meeting up, and making connections all around the world...that's so nice.
I feel so happy to have raced together with Fabienne. We made such a good team. We never shouted at each other, and were always very supportive. It has been such a great experience to share. If she was to ask me to sign up for such a challenge again with me, I would say yes without hesitating. We were a real team from the start to the finish including during the after race party.
Our objectives were the same and we took it day after day. I reckon it's not easy to find someone to make up a team for such an event and I feel really lucky that I made one with Fabienne. We knew each other from different training camps with the National teams, but this week has been a special week and I want to thank her as she is a top teammate. We had to fight quite a lot to keep our second place but we made it which is a sign that we were, are a good team.
As I have just told you I will be off my bike for a week before I go back home. Once back home, I will train hard again and will do a lot of intensity training. I will race the cross country series (www.swisspowercup.ch) in Switzerland during April and May and start racing long distances again the last weekend of June.
My main objective of the season is the Grand Raid which is the oldest Swiss marathon race. I will try as well to move upward in the international and national ranking. On the side of racing, the months to come will be really busy as I have my final exams at the university in June, plus I need to finish writing my thesis. So I need to relax 150% before I go back home. Batteries need a full charge to get through all these challenges.
Before I conclude I must thank especially
- The Cyclingnews team to have trusted me when I came from nowhere
to do this diary.
All the best. Keep smiling. Ride on.
myriamwww.myriamsaugy.ch (personal website)
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Sven Martin/Dirt Agency
Images by Pierre vd Spuy