Cape Town, 27 March 2014 -The ABSA Cape Epic is the untamed ‘Tour de France’ of mountain biking and only the bravest and fittest of cyclists from around the world survive the gruelling 8 days/7 stages.
To give some context, with today’s stage 4/day 5 over, riders, over the past 5 days, have climbed a total elevation of 8430m – Mount Everest is 8848m, and over the total 8 days riders will have climbed a total of 14 930m, nearly twice the elevation of Mount Everest.
What do most of the ABSA Cape Epic riders do when they have finished a hard and incredibly tough day in the saddle? If you look around the quiet race village you will find most have retired to their tents to rest, but that rest does not happen for Team ABSA cyclist and former Springbok Joel Stransky.
For Team Absa cyclist, Joel ‘Stranners’ Stransky, today was just another day at the office, who after an exhausting day in the saddle, swapped his cleats for running shoes and set off on a long trail run in preparation for IRONMAN, taking place a week from now on the 6th April. Joel said today “The only thing missing at this Epic is somewhere for me to have a long swim as well!”
For those who do not know, the only IRONMAN on the African Continent celebrates its 10th anniversary in Port Elizabeth. The full IRONMAN race consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run. Stransky is competing in the full IRONMAN competition only a week after riding the Epic, so when the others are asleep in the afternoon, as part of his continuing training to ensure he is ready, Joel puts on his running shoes for and goes out for brisk run.
Forty-six year old Stransky is currently participating in the ABSA Cape Epic for the 5th time, playing a mentoring role to former Springbok and Sharks rugby player, Stefan Terblanche, who is facing his first Epic. Explains Joel “Five years ago I was challenged to do the Absa Cape Epic for charity by Elana Meyer, and I have been hooked ever since! I found mountain biking an excellent way of staying fit post my professional rugby career and the feeling of crossing the final Absa Cape Epic finish line is absolutely addictive! The Absa Cape Epic has become a way of life for me.”
Stransky is the longest-standing member of Team Absa, second only to the team captain, Ernst Viljoen. He is no stranger to mountain biking and has completed a number of other mountain bike stage races including the Sani2C, Attakwas, PE to Plett, and Ride the Rhino.
“The most important thing you learn from having done the Absa Cape Epic a few times is how to pace yourself in order to survive each day and ultimately finish the 8 day race. If you prepare well physically then you already know how to suffer and your mind will become strong and enable you to survive the ‘dark’ moments mentally.”
That is what you call a Real Epic Man!