As the modern world experiences it’s first pandemic, countries go into lock down with travel bans and mass gathering being announced daily, in a situation that is very dynamic and constantly changing. Friday the 13th of March 2020 at 6 pm the World Health Organization announced that Europe had become the new epicenter of the Covid-19 virus, the previous day the WHO had announced the virus was now a pandemic. Hours later the organizers of the Absa Cape Epic announced that the 8 day mountain biking stage race was cancelled.
“Out of concern for the health and safety of our riders and other stakeholders, following recent advice received from the Western Cape Government, we have no choice but to cancel the 2020 Absa Cape Epic due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.” founder Kevin Vermaak
Read the Full Statement here.
Social Media went crazy, with riders expressing shock, sadness and some relief to the news of the cancellation. The Absa Cape Epic is a pilgrimage for mountain bikers, it requires at least 6 months of full dedication, hours of training and changed lifestyles to simply get to the start line in Cape Town. The charities, sponsors, cyclists on personal journeys, elite cyclists, professional cyclists, development cyclists, cycling fans, the event organizer, the towns, the small businesses and the list goes on, are all devastated by the cancellation of the Absa Cape Epic.
Most cyclists knew the decision had to come as the pandemic quickly slipped into new countries and grew at alarming rates. The field of riders who participate in the Absa Cape Epic are the most diverse in the world of cycling, riders come from all over the globe. Questions have been asked about the timing of the decision, was it too late, was it too early, questions which are really irrelevant at this moment. We are living through extremely unusual times and the decision to cancel was the best decision. The Absa Cape Epic was founded by a mountain biker, someone who knows the importance and investment each rider has put into the race, the decision did not come lightly I am sure.
The Absa Cape Epic touches many poor and at risk communities in South Africa, communities who are supported and benefit from the race through their charity and the charity of riders, potentially placing these communities at risk of exposure would be ethically incorrect. For that reason alone, Absa Cape Epic are on the right side of history.
I have had to reconcile my own disappointment, every year the Absa Cape Epic allows us to cover the greatest mountain bike stage on earth, 8 days of immersing ourselves into the pinnacle of mountain biking stage racing. 8 days of experiencing the most professional organization by the hard working and innovative Cape Epic Team. My disappointment is trivial in-light of the tragedy that is unfolding world wide.
So if you are unsure of what to do for the next 8 days, your calendar is now suddenly as wide open as mine.
Why not go out for a ride and immerse yourself in the moment, appreciate the present and be grateful for your health and ability.
Our thoughts are with everyone suffering around the world, and we hope that all the Absa Cape Epic participants return home safely to their loved ones.
The one thing I LOVE about mountain biking is that it makes me live in the present, the sound of my tires, the smell of the trail, the immediate visual input that requires reaction, the instant physiological response to a change in the topography of the land, the instant experience and reaction of my friends, need I go on? You are all mountain bikers you know what I am talking about. So I leave you with this quote;
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha
See you all at the next Absa Cape Epic.
Now go outside and enjoy some amazing views.