Alan Gordon and CP van Wyk.

The Insect Science Mountain Bike team entered two teams for the world-famous Cape Epic adventure race which officially started on Monday this week. The team is spearheaded by Alan Gordon with CP van Wyk as his co-rider and Keagan Bontekoning who is partnered with teammate Arno du Toit.

Keagan Bontekoning and Arno van Wyk.

On Sunday the riders primed themselves for the official liftoff for the main race by competing in the prologue. The Insect Science riders proudly piloted the new 2022 Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur CC models, rolling on Maxxis rubber to navigate some of the world’s harshest MTB terrain.

CP van Wyk.

The pace was set from the word go. Gordon and van Wyk settled into a steady stride for this stage seeing that there was still lots of riding to be done. About 39km’s into the stage they found their teammates stuck with a flat tyre.

CP van Wyk.

With Du Toit and Bontekoning being the initial pacesetters for this stage, Gordon and van Wyk thought it best to give them a wheel and sent them to chase after the frontrunners.

CP van Wyk.

What seemed like a quick puncture fix, turned out to be more complicated than Gordon and van Wyk anticipated. Gordon in fact had to backtrack to the previous tech zone for some spares. They eventually got going again, only to be sidelined by yet another puncture.

Alan Gordon and CP van Wyk.

“This was very likely to happen as these trails on the first stage were not tube friendly. It was then a case of hike a bike and rimming it to the second tech zone. From there we had a trouble-free ride, enjoyed the rest of the trails, and conserved some energy for the day’s stages that were still lying ahead”, Gordon said.

Bontekoning and Du Toit provided some positivity for the team after their solid chase to stay in contention for that sought-after African Jersey. The second stage went well for Gordon and Van Wyk who crossed the finish line in 21st place. Teammates Du Toit and Bontekoning had an excellent run and completed the stage in 11th place.

The most bizarre thing that occurred for rider Van Wyk, was when a falcon darted from out of nowhere and attack him. Probably trying to protect his territory from the invading mountain bike riders. Luckily neither got injured.

Alan Gordon and CP van Wyk.

The third stage was a 91km route with 2 100 metres of climbing that sapped the energy out of the competitors. The Insect Science team described this third stage as riding into a wall, only to realize the route stretches further up this same wall. It was that steep and energy-sapping.

Alan Gordon.

Even though being a tough stage, Bontekoning and Du Toit gave good reckoning of themselves by finishing tenth overall for the stage and the third African team to cross the line. Gordon and Van Wyk on the other hand rode at a consistent pace to finish the stage in 18th place.

By the time you read this article, the teams have already set off for the remaining four stages over four days that will test their riding skills and fitness to the limit. Bulletin will publish a full report on the Insect Science MTB team’s adventure and achievements in next week’s edition.