For the first time this year, Tsogo Sun teamed up with the ABSA Cape Epic, and my, oh, my, was it an experience those who attended (and more specifically those who raced) will not easily forget.
With an extensive base of existing sports partnerships across the group including the Springboks, Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic, Tsogo Sun Sprint, Cape Town Marathon and the Cape Town Cycle Tour, it was only natural for us to align with the world’s premier mountain biking stage race as the Official Accommodation Partner.
This year, the partnership saw our various hotels in the Western Cape providing pre- and post-event accommodation packages for both riders and supporters; the hosting of the annual Route Launch function at Southern Sun Cape Sun where the official course for the 2017 race was unleashed; hosting the annual ABSA Cape Epic Around The World party at Southern Sun The Cullinan for international riders from across the globe who would be attempting the race – of which more than 58 countries were represented; as well as a team entry for two riders to fly the Tsogo Sun flag during the race by taking on the incredible challenge of actually cycling in the 8 day untamed adventure.
The two people who bravely accepted this task on behalf of Tsogo Sun was our very own Director Of Legal Services – Graham Tyrrell, paired with SuperCycling, SuperSport and Metro FM Sports Presenter – Owen Hannie. Having previously completed 4 ABSA Cape Epic’s, Owen was a wealth of knowledge, support and encouragement for Graham who had not yet experienced the fierce race.
Nerves and excitement were high for the Prologue at Meerendal but our #TeamTsogo riders took on the 26km time trial with ease.
Stage 1 was a lot more intense as the race kicked off in Hermarnus with a 101km ride incorporating 2,300 meters of climbing (for those non-cyclists this is equivalent to cycling the height of Table Mountain in elevation – TWICE)! Much to the relief of those supporting Graham and Owen, #TeamTsogo came through unscathed.
Spirits remained high for the rest of the week as #TeamTsogo took on each day with tenacity. They finally arrived at the finish line at Val De Vie after cycling for 8 days, a total of 691 km’s with 15,400m’s of climbing!
“Cycling the 2017 ABSA Cape Epic in Tsogo Sun colours together with an awesome partner in Owen Hannie was a privilege for which I am extremely grateful. We conquered the heat, the dust, the technical terrain, the distances, the wind, the crazy climbing, and the mad descents. My heart had wings and my head was always in the clouds. It was a surreal experience,” said Graham Tyrrell.
John van Rooyen – Operations Director for the Cape region added, “We were thrilled at the opportunity to be the Official Accommodation Partner, but even more excited to cheer Graham and Owen on from the sidelines as they cycled some of the toughest and most testing routes of mountain biking. Well done to the ABSA Cape Epic team and to all the riders. We look forward to being part of this phenomenal race again in 2018.”
Don’t forget to visit us at tsogosun.com for more information.
*photo credits: John van Rooyen, Melanie Brenner, Owen Hannie, Graham Tyrrell, Tatum Lowe, Dino Lloyd, ABSA Cape Epic