Cape Epic: Sager Out of Africa and Hurtin’

Jason Sager and his Team Jamis crew are getting epically tested in South Africa


Team Jamis' Blake Harlan looking like a bike-racing coal miner. Photo by Jason Sager


An empty dining hall is a telling scene. Not that people aren’t hungry, they just aren’t “here.” That’s when it really hit us how bad stage 3 of the Absa Cape Epic was.

We all have our own horizons of pain, suffering and work load management out there on the bike. Stage 3 was 125k of the heaviest, slowest, roughest, sandiest and least desirable and cruel riding surfaces I personally have ever linked together. Hands, feet, sit bones and connective tissue bore the brunt of this stage’s punishment, if not primarily the mind. Everyone’s pain horizon was raised on this day.

Not a soul was any less than completely smashed when they arrived in Worchester’s receiving area after departing at 7a.m. that morning. For some, it was a five- or six-hour day. For others it was a 10- or 12-hour day. Dinner began at 6 p.m. and the dining hall was still largely empty at awards.

With the sun light fading and riders obviously not prepared for a night ride, event workers back-tracked the course to usher in those who weren’t in a position to make the stage’s newly extended time cut.

Dinner was fairly quiet that night, even at tables that were full. I was a little shell shocked from the experience, without a doubt.

Stage 4

Stage 4 for some, was a rest day of sorts. Held as a simple 32 kilometer time trial, in and about town, and on her adjacent hills.

Its the sort of route you’d find  yourself riding if you lived in the area. Overnight rains made for super-hero levels of traction — both in the turns and on the climbs. Had it not rained, I don’t know that any of the riders in the race could have stayed on their bikes for the entirety of the course.

It was a day to take it easy if you like, or if you have something to prove, like myself and Ben Sonntag, then go out there and see if you’re worth your salt racing a bike. Ben and I simply wanted a drama free day— and we almost had that, and a great ride, until Ben’s spare tube fell into the cogset and wound its way into the gears.

Murphy’s law applies even in South Africa.

Jason Sager is Team Jamis’ manager and resident old guy.