Cape Epic: Stage 6. Oak Valley Wine Estate – Oak Valley Wine Estate
Diary from Michael Opper and Rald Kropp: 02.04.2011
An (almost) brilliant day
Everything basically started extremely well. Todays course took us over many singletrails after which, things started to go wrong. First off, Michael broke his saddle then I got a snake-bite and only just managed to hold and bring the bike to a standstill without crashing. Pff, luck was on my side however the repair cost us many valuable minutes and because this happened right at the start, we also lost the leading group as pacers. We fought on back through the field and then the beautiful view of the sea greeted us. Maybe we should turn off and cool ourselves off in the water? Think-again, onwards we went and tried to ignore the stupid thought. The closer we go to Oak valley, the more and more singletrails we rode which allowed us to gain many lost positions due to the earlier mishaps and all this even with Michael still nursing his cold. Following the 2700m altitude and 128km that this stage threw at us, we came across the line with a time of 6:39:48,2 hours in 15th Place, Our best placing so far. Shame. If it were not for the few problems, we would have made a great deal of progress today! Oh well, our position in the Overall Standings had improved and we were now in 16th place with a total time of 34:46:52,2 in the masters category. We were now the 2nd fastest German Masters team directly behind the famous duo of Udo Bölts/Carsten Bresser.
It amazes me here everything that is done to encourage the youth: Fences can be conquered with ramps and no-one seems to mind if a track appears through a field. There are literally hundreds of singletrails sweeping through the forests and it is a perfect atmosphere to teach children the joys of cycling. We (in Germany) could learn a lot from this attitude. There is so much more that we could do to prize our children away from computers and television and back to the joys of healthy sports. The nature is waiting for its children to return.
Michael and Ralf