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Training & preparation

We are using 2 polar heart rate training programs leading up to the 2007 Epic. Follow our training diary to see how we are doing.
Cape Epic Training Camps 
16 week Sept - Dec 2006
West Coast Training camp 2007 Report
Sabie Training Camp 2007 Report

Bikes & Equipment

Both of us will be riding Raleigh bikes. Its hardtail vs full suspension Raleigh RM Team Carbon vs Raleigh Marathon Team.  

Video and photos

Team kit

Cape Epic Pages

Check out links to our previous Cape Epic Pages for 2005 and 2006. 


Cape Epic Training Program 2007

As with many of the Cape Epic teams we are training apart. The ideal is to train together so that you can both remain on the same level and you can get used to each others riding styles. However this is not always possible. So a good distance training plan is what is needed. Check out how we manage to keep it together between the Cape and Gauteng by training over a long distance.

Our Cape Epic training program has not really started out as we would have liked. Training for the Cape Epic is no laughing matter, it requires dedication and commitment. Having done two previous epics means that we know what it is all about, but that does not make it any easier. In fact it probably makes it a bit harder. Motivation in the training for the first epic came from the absolute fear of not being able to finish, but now knowing that it is indeed possible that motivation is not quite as strong. Mix that together with some new challenges and additional expectations and you have a potential case of under training to achieve lofty goals.

Big Als first real training report summed up the beginning of our third attempt;

" This Cape Epic is not going to be easy!

All the talk of the new route being tough aside, work pressure, family pressure and house building activities are set to make this Epic the hardest one yet!

We are 6 weeks into our first 16 week training program and I for one am many, many hours behind, partly because of a long recovery period from my appendix operation, and partly because I have not drawn the line yet.

What does it mean to draw the line?

Well, this is the Cape Epic! The training and commitment to finishing has to be serious. No late nights, no long Sunday braais. Just focus and commitment. From now until March. Yes it’s difficult, but no-one said it would be easy. And for my intrepid partner and me this third Epic will be the most difficult. And only because, over the 3 years our lives have changed so much. It seems that because we have completed 2 Epics already, the drive is maybe lost. But we both realise that it’s time to pick up our game.

Back are the long Saturday morning rides and as many hours in the week as our schedules will allow. Back, also, will be the weekly reports. Yes, it will be hard, but you know what? We do it because we’re passionate about it.

So to friends and family, we’ll talk again in April 2007, when we have number 3 under the bib short!"

We will once gain use the heart rate based program supplied by Polar ( For more info on these programs check out our Cape Epic 2005 training program. For some FAQs on why and how we use this specific program have a look at our Cape Epic training program from 2006.

This year we are mixing it up a bit. We have opted to go for a 16 week training program of 13hrs max for the first period from September to December. Then we will do a 12 week program with 16hrs max from January 2007 up to the Cape Epic in March 2007.

Alan Training Diary Albert Training Diary

Week 11 was the first of the real taper weeks so the riding dropped off quite a lot however I still managed about 12 hours on the bike with 8:30 in zone. But I squeezed in one last long ride that I took really easy but still spent a good 6 hours in the saddle. I finally shook off the last of my lingering cold and felt good the whole week. I will end up about 6 hours short on my program which is fine considering that my total riding time is well over the total hours. I am feeling good and confident that I have put the training hours in.



I decided to test my legs with some racing this weekend. I felt alright, but no great. I am hoping this means that I will peak next weekend, for the greatest race on earth. Bring on the Cape Epic! I am now a total of 5 hours short on the program, but there is nothing I can do about that now. Next week, the truth serum will be administered.



The last big week is past now and ended with a good ride at the Argus. I felt good the whole week and went into the Argus with 11 hours of riding in the week and ended with a good 15 hour week. I am definitely feeling better than last year and my legs feel stronger. The previous week the Argus MTB challenge highlighted the need to be prepared and service your bike meticulously as I suffered multiple chain breaks and lost a chance of having one of my best races ever. I have used a protein recovery drink in the evening after the last 3 races and I am sure that it helped me recover better for riding the following day. The next two weeks I will taper but it will be a bit less than before to rather maintain a regular riding pattern so as not to cause too much of a shock to the system.



Last week I had to do a trip to the East for my new job. The 2 hours I did manage were done in the gym on indoor bikes. Let me just say, that an indoor bike is no way to train for the Epic! Then this week I managed to fight jet lag and a cold to almost make the 13 hour week. In total I am 9 hours short, but I feel really good. Mentally I am not going to tell myself that the training has been inadequate, that will be death. I must stay positive and believe that the preparation has been good.

I believe that we will achieve or top 100 goal and I am really excited about the race now!



Our training camp went well and I had a really good week of riding with over 21 hours on the bike and almost 18 hours in zone. The 3 days of the training camp yielded over 5000m of climbing which was great. I recovered well between the riding days, even after the Sabie race when I was exhausted, but I felt fine the next day and enjoyed the riding. I felt strong and for the first time confident that I was going to be ready for the epic. I am still about 8 hours behind the program in terms of zone hours, but with less of a taper than the program says I should end up square for the whole 12 weeks.


We had our monster training camp this weekend, and despite missing the last day due to an overseas trip I still managed to gain back an hour on the program. I am now about 3 hours over on the whole program. The last 2 weeks were really big and I feel very good. I am a little concerned about not training for the next week and a half, because I will be in the East. I am hoping the rest will do me good. I will try to get onto an exercise bike just to keep the legs turning. This was the last very big week and it is downhill now until the event. I am starting to get very excited about the race.



Week 7 worked out well after a bit of a slow start. I put in two big days on the weekend. It was good to get two long days of riding back to back, something that I have not done for a while. I could feel it in my legs on day 2 but I still finished comfortably. This is the second biggest week in the program and I feel quite good. Endurance wise I am feeling confident as I can spend 6 hours on the bike without really feeling uncomfortable. In the next few weeks I will be concentrating more on climbing, our Sabie training weekend should take care of some of that. Also I will be racing every weekend for the next 3 weeks, so I will concentrate on speed during those races.



I had one of my best training weeks ever. I was on the bike for 22 hours of which 19 hours was in zone. I decided at the last minute to attend a Fritz Pienaar training camp and the riding and climbing was awesome. I felt really good and I am now finally 2 hours over on the program as a whole. My legs are obviously tired, but I feel strong. Hopefully this is going to help for the week and a half that I have to spend overseas after our own training camp next week.


Week 6 was an absolute disaster! It was always going to be difficult trying to squeeze out all the weeks riding out of just 4 days. But then I got sick as well so that left just 2 and a bit days. Luckily it was a bit of a rest week and I had a good hard week before. However I am further down on the program again! The little bit that I rode felt fine and that in itself is probably a good thing because if I can ride for 9 hours in a week and feel like I have not ridden then I must be getting stronger. I am also starting to get excited about this Epic. I have been so caught up in the “less than ideal” training regime, that I have forgotten how awesome an event it is. I am really looking forward to it.



I managed to pull another hour back this week, while still resting a bit. The next 2 weeks are the really big ones and it will be important for me to make all the hours. I have to miss a week and a half with an overseas trip, so the next 2 weeks are really crucial for me. I am feeling good though and I am ready for the big ones, hopefully weather and other external factors play along so that I make good hours.



This first really long week was tough. I felt like I was riding all the time. I could feel the training in my legs off the bike, but on the bike I felt fine. I thought I would feel tired towards the end of the week but I actually felt a bit stronger so I think things are starting to come together. Once again my total time riding was well over the program but my in zone time was only just over the program. Work and time pressures will make the next two weeks really tough.


I somehow felt that I turned the corner this week. I was feeling a lot stronger and I did not struggle to ride with the groups. I missed my target hours by 30 minutes, despite having been on the bike for more than the hours of the program. As I get fitter it is harder to stay in zone. Saturday I was out of zone for more than an hour and the same for Sunday.



Week 4 went quite well, I did a lot of riding, almost 15 hours on the bike and over 300km. This is the first time that I have gone over 300km in this Epic program, but from now on it will probably always be over 300km. A lot of time was below zone though so my efficiency is not looking too good. For a variety of reasons I am riding various bikes at the moment which is also not ideal. I have been riding the MTB tandem, my old hardtail and my new full susser, all in the same week. The hardtail although it feels responsive and nippy is a really hard ride so not much chance of seeing me sacrificing my full susser for a hardtail. Other than that everything is working ok and I am feeling comfortable.



I had a 200km + weekend. And I managed to claw another hour back on the program. I am now 4 hours short on the whole program.

I am still not feeling great. However, it looks like I am very capable of spending 6 hours on the bike. Both big rides on the weekend left me feeling tired, but I recover quickly after the ride and that is what is important.

Next week is a monster week and so far I have no commitments, so I am pretty confident that I can make the hours.



This third week in the program was the last little rest before the really big hours. I managed all my hours and had some good rides. I have started to vary my rides a bit with some specific training. One of them is low cadence big gears ride, the other is high cadence, min 90rpm avg for the whole ride. I am also doing some speed work on my longer rides to simulate the faster starts at the Epic. I think it will workout well because it forces you to get up to speed after just a 10-15 min warm up at the start of the ride. It feels uncomfortable, which is exactly why it is good to practice it. I am getting some neck pain after 2-3 hours, it has just been since my new bike, I am hoping it is a minor setup adjustment and not a bike fit issue.



This was a really good training week and I managed to do all five sessions. Some in the afternoon due to all the highveld rain! I did not feel particularly good, my legs were heavy and I struggled to stay with the bunch on the group ride. Looking back on my training this is the first week that I have done 5 rides the last time I managed this was 5 weeks ago! No wonder I don’t feel that strong. The reason I am only getting 5 sessions a week is because I am going to pilates twice a week. This is a bit of a gamble as far as training hours go, but I do feel a benefit from the pilates classes, so I am going to stick with it.

I am going to do my best to make the rest of the program a success. I am now 5 hours short on the whole program, which I should be able to catch up.



Training went well this week. I spent 13:31 on the bike, but only clocked 11:27 time in training zone so I will need to work on the efficiency a bit. I felt pretty good on most of the rides and did one 100k+ ride with a headwind all the way home and it was ok. I have made the psychological jump to full time epic training. It requires total commitment and focus from now until the event. Equipment issues need to get sorted out now and then nutritional stuff and then the crazy before epic weeks will start.



2 weeks into the program and I am 8 Hours behind. I had intended to take a break in the first week of the program and the second week can only be explained by, life pressures keeping me off the bike. I am now back from leave and settled at home. Everything will take a back seat to riding now, even if it means getting fired from my job!

My knee is back to it’s old tricks and I think only patience and rehab will help now, no more doctors!!



Week 1 kicked off with a bang with one of the toughest rides that we have done yet. A 9 hour epic ride over and back over Groenlandberg from Grabouw. It was technical and slow going from start to finish. A really great test of bikes and body. I felt great and finished 9 hours of riding felling better than I have ever felt. This was rather comforting after a dismal showing at our training camp. The next 2 months are the crunch months with a lot of hours ahead.



So the “Less than Ideal” theme continues on week 1 of our final 12 week preparation with 2:45 short! This looks worse than it is. I was on holiday and took some time out and the week had a whopping 8:30 ride on Sunday at Groenlandberg. Taking in some of this year’s day 7. Holidays are over, and the training gets serious from here on out.


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