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ONELIFE #37 – English

  • Text
  • Cars
  • Onelife
  • Landrover
  • Rover
  • Rovers
  • Cape
  • Epic
  • Defender
  • Vehicles
  • Donegal
  • Phev
  • Arctic
  • Kolisi
Land Rover’s Onelife magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond. For this issue of Onelife we visited Maneybhanjang in the Indian Himalaya, where Land Rover Series Is and IIs rule the roost, we followed the north star to the Land Rover Ice Academy in Arjeplog, Sweden, which offers thrilling ice driving action and bring you the story of outdoorsman Monty Halls and his family who are out with a Discovery for a scenic escape in Ireland.

CAPE EPIC MOUNTAIN BIKE

CAPE EPIC MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE C A P E F E A R The fearsome Cape Epic is one of the toughest mountain bike races on Earth. Plotting its ever-changing route is almost as hard as completing the race, but made easier thanks to a group of dedicated route planners and their Land Rovers STORY L U K E P O N S F O R D 48

Into the sun: with some of the toughest routes of any mountain bike race on the planet, riders in the Absa Cape Epic are often faced with extreme terrain and insufferable temperatures PHOTOGRAPHY: XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX PHOTOGRAPHY: ABSA CAPE EPIC/ NICK MUZIK When New Zealand rugby legend Carlos Spencer claims that a bicycle race is a lot tougher than playing for the All Blacks, you know that he’s talking about one hell of a bicycle race. And the Absa Cape Epic is just that, but in a setting that’s closer to the sun-dappled heavens. With South Africa’s mountainous Western Cape region serving as its backdrop, the Cape Epic is the world’s biggest and toughest endurance mountain bike race. Its combination of distance, climbing and technical sections give the race a ‘hors catégorie’ (beyond category) classification by cycling’s international governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). 1,300 riders male and female, from aspiring amateurs to world class professionals racing in 650 two-person teams face a Herculean eight-day challenge that sees them covering 653km of harsh gravel roads, rocky climbs, technical descents and fast forest tracks that weave their way through glorious vineyards and indigenous forests, across fathomless ravines and along magnificent coastlines. However, with a knee-weakening 13,530m of steady climbing over the course of the eight days, there’s little time for riders to enjoy the scenery. From its beginnings in 2004 as an all-comers mountain bike event with around 200 riders taking part, the Cape Epic has grown into a truly international date on the competitive mountain biking calendar. Nowadays, each year attracts around 1,300 riders from around the world. It’s also become increasingly difficult, a true test of riders’ mettle and inner strength, with Land Rover Technical Terrain sections specially designed to challenge even the hardiest of competitors. Extreme gradients, vertiginous descents, large rocks and loose shale make cycling these sections something of an ordeal for the Cape Epic riders, not to mention the race organisation’s team of route-planning drivers, who rely on a fleet of Land Rovers to scout this jagged terrain and plan the routes months ahead of the main event. As the route changes every year, this is no easy task. Both planners and vehicles are put through their paces to make sure the best paths, tracks and climbs are identified, tested and finally added to the tour. “These days there are so many constraints on the route and there are so many requirements on the villages that host the Cape Epic that we literally have to plan the route 18 months in advance,” says Kevin Vermaak, the founder of the Cape Epic race. “The terrain changes, farms get sold, borders are created between the farmlands. This is very much a moving target because you have a drought, a fire, or a river flooding and you’ve got to be changing the route 49