The real cost of the Cape Epic is never what you think it is. I have yet to meet an Epic rider who feels that the cost was not worth the experience. It kind of raises the question, Can you afford not to do the race?
A comparison to any other multi-day event is not really possible or fair, because the Cape Epic is one of a kind. On a day for day basis there are other multi stage races that cost more but most are probably less.
Getting into the race is the easiest and cheapest part of the race. It seems like the most difficult and most expensive at the time, but in fact it is the easiest part. The preparation and the total cost of doing this race far outweighs the entry cost. Sure you can do it on a shoe string, but the temptation and excuses for new equipment, bikes, upgrades, custom kit etc etc are over whelming and completely necessary of course. Add to that a healthy dose of pre race paranoia and nerves and you can be sure of loosing any common sense that you may have had. Then there are the bike shops with all that “special” Cape Epic gear that you have to have.
So now you have done some fair damage to your credit card and you have not even arrived on the start line yet. Some comfortable convenient accommodation at the start is a treat you deserve, and the cost is well worth it. Comfortable and in Knysna, its not that bad you still have cash in your wallet. The Cape Epic merchandise, extras and added services will make sure that you spend accordingly. Ok so now you are finally on you bike, now you just have to ride. Well not quite. A couple of hairy descents, spectacular dismounts or a few millimetres of rain and you will pay anything to get that top of the range bike back on the track. And while you are at it you upgrade to the best, just to be safe. But you are having the time of your life so you don’t even notice. When you finally float over the finish line like a real champion your heart and wallet opens for the loved ones. Their months of suffering are now past and they must be rewarded and so the sending continues. Soon the debt trap has been replaced by the epic trap and you are blissfully happy.
So just be warned that the entry fee is just a softener for the real cost. You probably don’t need to spend as much as you do. Just think about all the possible costs from start to finish and think if they are really necessary. Don’t skimp of comfort and safety, they will save you suffering later. Plan for all the costs and budget on a monthly basis. You will have more than 6 months to spread the cost out so if you plan it is easily affordable.
Taking on a race like the Epic takes time and commitment. These are probably way more significant than the tangible deciding factors like money, bikes and fitness. The time and commitment are where you feel the real cost of the Epic. Setting time aside on day after day either before the sun comes up or after it goes down. Spending weekend after weekend out on your bike for hours on end. It costs your own time and the time of your family and loved ones. The commitment to stick to the program, skip the late nights and leave early from the weekend braais. It is not something that everyone understands, but they don’t really need to, unless of course you live with them. Support and commitment from your family makes it all a lot easier and enjoyable. Every little bit of support helps.
Albert and I have been lucky to have such wonderful wives who have supported us in every event. Their understanding and backing has helped us to be fully committed and get the most out of these events. The first Epic we did completely unsupported and looked forward to seeing Candice and Belinda on the finish line at Spier, it was a great feeling crossing the line that day. Then in our 3rd Epic we had both of them travel with the race and support us everyday. It was great to get that backup and support everyday, and it left us re-charged and ready to give it all the following day again.