Words by Flow | Images by Flow

“I think I’ll take my recovery a bit more seriously today… Less beers, more protein,” ruminated a groaning punter, lying in the grass at Xanadu. Good idea, mate, but let’s not take things too seriously here. After all, you’ve got plenty of excuses for letting your best intentions slip when the race finishes at a winery.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-17

Jarrod Maroni, a classy bike rider, in a tunnel of green.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-7

Tupalski in front on the first descent, dictating the pace.

After a postcard perfect day one, the flawless porcelain skies didn’t make a return appearance for stage two – weather patterns shift and shuffle a lot on this deep southern coastline. The trails are just as variable too, as riders found out during today’s 57km run to Xanadu Winery, just outside Margaret River.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-9

Dwarfed in Boranup Forest.

A spitting rain farewelled riders as they departed Hamelin Bay (each stage commences where the previous one finishes), the huge pack surging and splitting on a steady four kilometre climb.

The lead group quickly established their own race within a race, barrelling into the loamy Sam Hill downhill, with Mark Tupalski up front. Mid-pack, odours of cooked brakes filled the air, and creative overtaking manoeuvres caused some consternation, as 1100 riders threaded through damp bush, before a charge up the tarmac to Boranup.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-36 Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-15

At the head of the field, the magic loamy singletrack beneath the towering Karri trees was chewed up at frightening speed. “When I finally got a chance to look down, my computer said we were at over 35km an hour through the singletrack,” said Mike Blewitt. For those riding at a less frenetic pace, this was a chance to settle in and enjoy the perfect grip and mesmerising flow of the tunnel-like trails.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-32

Hoverbike.

Friendly singletrack met hostile coastline in dramatic style soon enough, after a sandy, rocky doubletrack descent, and the onshore winds that flattened the surf put a welcome hand on the back of wearied legs on a seaside fireroad grind to Conto Springs. The view of churned surf hammering into this exposed coastline is a stunner, but we doubt Kyle Ward had much of a chance to take it in, as he opened up and attack with 25km to go, building a 45 second gap that he’d maintain till the end of the stage.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-31

There are a number of hand-cyclists taking part in Cape to Cape this year. And they’re all much tougher than you.

The promise of wine is a powerful lure, and row after row of vineyards served as an assurance of relief to come, as riders buried themselves on the final ten kilometres of the stage, passing through the vineyards that are one of Margaret River’s drawcards. A final hammer along the tarmac home undoubtedly had some exhausted riders questioning just why Xanadu Winery made their driveway so long (three kays!) and with so many curves. But the pay off wasn’t far off, in the form of beverages, massages, burgers and a nice soft lawn on which to cramp violently.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-19

Ethan Kelly bombs towards the coastline.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-18

Course-master Rohin Adams and the troubled Indian Ocean.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-22

Riders were frothing about this killer descent, with its great views of the ocean from top to bottom.

For the race leaders, there was no change in the overall standings. “I went out pretty hard, despite my coach Mark Fenner telling me to just do enough to hold onto my lead,” said Peta Mullens, who extended her lead by another couple of minutes over Imogen Smith. Kyle Ward’s attack chops the lead of Mark Tupalski significantly, and with the time bonuses on offer at the Red Bull Sundown Showdown this evening, we could see a shuffle at the top.

There’s plenty of racing left in this event yet, including tomorrow’s singletrack feast in the killer Margaret River pines trails. See you then!

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-28

Crazy Trek Man (we don’t know his real name, but we do know he’ll do a sweet bunny-hop kick out if you scream at him enough!).

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-29

Riders scored a blissful tailwind on the way to Conto Springs.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-24

WA’s infamous pea gravel. All the traction of greasy Teflon.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-25

Fat Bikes have been a worthy option for stages 1 and 2, with plenty of sand.

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-3 Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-5
Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-31

Hay. What you taking a photo of?

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action-1
Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-45

The last third of today’s stage passes through pastural properties and vineyards. Alongside what we found out are electrified fences. #shockingdiscovery

Cape to Cape 2015 Day 2 action2-48

Pumped to be on the home stretch, powering into Xanadu Winery.

close