Mountain Biking in South Africa

Video and photos

Click here for video downloads of the last start and our finish and pictures from the race.

Race Report

Click here for the our race report.

Life in the Cape Epic

Click here for a day in the life of the Cape Epic and tips for the event.

Race Route and Profiles

Click here for the race route and profiles.

Training & preparation

Dedicated training for the last 7 months was based on two Polar heart rate training programs and simulated multi day long rides... read more...

Bikes & Equipment

Alan is riding a Scott Comp Racing hardtail, while Albert upgraded his KHS Alite at the last minute for a brand new Raleigh RDS 9.0 full suspension bike.... read more...

Cape Epic Pages

Check out links to our other Cape Epic pages for 2006 and 2007.

Training Programs

For our training we used a heart rate based program supplied by Polar ( These programs allow you to design and measure your training based on heart rate intensity and time spent in these intensities. Distance becomes less important when using a program like this as the main objective is to achieve the time targets at the specific heart rate intensities. An advantage of partnering with each other is that our heart rate profiles and abilities are similar. This made the training easier and will hopefully allow us to perform in a similar way in the actual event.

Our HR profiles are as follows: 

  Age Resting HR 50- 70% range 70-80% range 80-90% range HR Max
Alan 35 37 110-138 139-153 154-168 182
Albert  33 36 100-139 140-159 160-179 200

We have essentially been preparing for the 2005 Cape Epic since before the 2004 Cape Epic. We knew that we would enter the 2005 event and hoped that we would get an entry. In July when the entries opened we managed to secure an entry and began training . In total we did about 12 months of non specific Cape Epic training, followed by 7 months of specific Cape Epic training

Non Specific training
Our initial preparation was to train for and do as many one day mountain bike races during the 2004 season. Specifically the Drifter series which made up the bulk of the races. In this time we went through essentially 3 x 12 week training programs similar to those shown below. This training is quite different from that required for The Cape Epic. Training for 1 day races requires a fair amount of anaerobic stamina (70-80% of max HR) and lactate training (80-90% of max HR), approximately 15% and 10% respectively of total training time. This conditions the body to sustain extended periods (3-4 hours) of high activity with a heart rate around 80% of max. 

Specific training:
Training for an ultra endurance event on the other hand requires virtually no stamina or lactate training, with all the training time being spent in aerobic endurance (50-70% of max HR). This is basically base training which consists of long rides 5 hours plus at low intensity to build up endurance to cope with 8 days of riding in a row. In The Cape Epic the goal will be to keep heart rates below 70% of maximum so that fatigue is minimised and the production of lactic acid is avoided.


The first program was a 12 week 10 hour wee program from September to December

The end point being a self organised training camp in mid December. The training camp consisted of 4 days of riding in a row with minimum distances of 80km per day. We did this in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria as follows

  Distance (km) Time (h) Ascent (m) AVG HR Alan Avg HR Albert
Day 1 Pretoria north east 84 4:14 835 124 118
Day 2 Pretoria south east 83 4:36 850 120 113
Day 3 Hekpoort 160 7:41 2110 129 116
Day 4 Muldersdrift 97 4:45 1460 119 111

The second program was a 16 week 15 hour program from December right up to the race date on April 2

During this program we also did a spinman training camp in Dullstroom where we did two days of riding as follows:

  Distance (km) Time (h) Ascent (m) AVG HR Alan Avg HR Albert
Day 1  128 6:52 1965 134 122
Day 2  94 4:31 1370 121 114

A good measure for our progress was a route that we setup to as closely as possible simulate a day on The Cape epic. The route went from Northcliff in Johannesburg out to Hekpoort in Broederstroom and back again. We did this route 3 times, there was a noticeable improvement by the third time when our heart rates were lower and we felt much better and recovered more quickly.

  Distance (km) Time (h) Ascent (m) Avg HR Alan Avg HR Albert
1st time 
6 Nov 2004
160 7:42 2110 134 125
2nd time
18 Dec 2004 
160 7:41 2110 129 116
3rd time
13 Feb 2005
160 7:17 2110 128 116

A summary of our total training effort a week before going into The Cape Epic is

  Planned total training time Actual total training time % time 50-70% of max HR Avg HR Speed Avg Total 
Alan 262 h 230 h 79 119 20.9 km/h 4369 km
Albert  281 h 259 h 83 123 22.8 km/h 5971 km

Click below for the two Polar reports of our training summaries:

Alan training summary
alan_CE_summary.jpg (130014 bytes)

Albert training summary
Albert_CE_summary.jpg (121738 bytes)



Mountain Bike Tours in South Africa - LIVE2RIDE