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When riders enjoy a shower after a hard and dusty day out, when they refresh their parched throats with a beer in the Chill Zone, when they are greeted by thousands of townsfolk cheering them on as they pass through villages, and when TV viewers all over the world watch the best mountain bikers on the planet fight for line honours – spare a thought for the crack team that keeps the water hot, the beverages cold and the huge yet intricate logistics machine purring along smoothly in the background.

Every detail is considered, right down to how long it takes the average rider to drink a cup of Energade. There’s a popular story about how in 2003 race founder Kevin Vermaak timed himself erecting and disassembling a tent, to calculate how long it would take to pitch 1 300 of them. This culture permeated the dedicated crew, and all possible logistical elements of the race were recorded, quantified and committed to a giant master spreadsheet – a blueprint for the Absa Cape Epic.

It could be argued that the Absa Cape Epic is a one-of-a-kind event – no other bike race features this level of organisation, and to find staff members who are up to the demands of the world’s premier mountain bike stage race isn’t easy. Vermaak carefully picks each one of them, from a variety of trades.

 

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