Team dormakaba SA has entered two teams to battle for top honours in the women’s category of the gruelling Absa Cape Epic that starts on Sunday. This eight-day stage race is the toughest mountain bike event in the world and is now in its 16th edition.
dormakaba Red, consists of German cross country cyclist Sabine Spitz and Amy McDougall, while dormakaba Blue have experienced cyclists Robyn de Groot and German cross-country marathon biker Adelheid Morath that will be putting the pressure on. Given the strength of both teams, expectations are high that the women will compete strongly against the international field assembled.
Despite being in different event teams, Amy and Robyn have taken a similar approach to their preparations.
“I have kept calm and ensured I am as strong as I can be. My focus has been on being as fit and healthy as possible,” says Amy.
Robyn says she has kept her preparations in line with previous years.
“I have generally arrived in good form for the Cape Epic in the past. I think as the years go by, I have come to understand that it is best to keep calm, do what you need to in terms of preparation for the event, and keep any additional stressors low along the way,” says Robyn.
Both cyclists agree that the Epic can never be underestimated. As such, each team will have specific goals for every stage.
“I hope to grow my experience in stage racing and being partnered with Sabine will be a great opportunity to do so. We will obviously go out there and give it our all every day and I think with a goal to keep it safe and do our best,” says Amy.
De Groot says that each Epic gives a rider the opportunity to grow both as a cyclist and as a person.
“At the time you do not always appreciate the harshness of the race, but when you take the time and look back, it is invaluable experience gained. If we as a team can walk away feeling we did the best we could, then that would make us happy,” adds Robyn.
The experienced German teammates do bring an exciting new element to Team dormakaba’s race planning.
“Both Adel and Sabine have a career full of experience at performing at the top level internationally. I have found that they have brought their own knowledge and insight from a management and rider perspective that has upped our professionalism this year a notch,” says Amy.
De Groot agrees.
“The team dynamic has been really fantastic. We have all spent time together and get along well. There is a super vibe in the team which creates an environment we all enjoy being in. Something like this can have a huge impact on performances and team dynamics. For sure bringing in a German flare with Adel and Sabine has strengthened dormakaba,” says de Groot.
And beyond the Cape Epic, both Amy and Robyn feel the team has an important role to play in the local mountain biking scene.
“As one of the few South African mountain biking teams, dormakaba sets an example of professionalism for up and coming riders. Dormakaba makes it possible for us to race to the best of our abilities, achieving our goals and dreams, and upping the level of women’s racing in South Africa and internationally. The investment they put into the sport also supports events and skill clinics that help grow cycling from the bottom up,” says Amy.
“If we can inspire more girls and women to come race and ride mountain bikes, that would already benefit the scene in the country. But over and above supporting women’s racing with such passion and commitment, dormakaba also help with the development on the men’s and boy’s side with opportunities to be ambassadors for the brand. They support a handful of male ambassadors too, and with that, also promote the sport that way,” says Robyn.