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Exciting day

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Sue Haywood leads Jenny Smith

Sue Haywood leads Jenny Smith (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Another brutally early start

Another brutally early start (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jenny Smith and Sue Haywood atop the podium.

Jenny Smith and Sue Haywood atop the podium. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jenny Smith and Jeremiah Bishop await the start of stage 4.

Jenny Smith and Jeremiah Bishop await the start of stage 4. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jenny Smith rides another day.

Jenny Smith rides another day. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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The peloton negotiates a dusty section.

The peloton negotiates a dusty section. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jenny Smith and Sue Haywood atop the podium.

Jenny Smith and Sue Haywood atop the podium. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Sue Haywood leads Jenny Smith on a descent.

Sue Haywood leads Jenny Smith on a descent. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith riding stage four.

Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith riding stage four. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith

Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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The Trek / VW women push the pace.

The Trek / VW women push the pace. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Another brutally early start for Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith

Another brutally early start for Sue Haywood and Jenny Smith (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jeremiah Bishop fills up his bottle.

Jeremiah Bishop fills up his bottle. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Jeremiah Bishop and a small group on a singletrack section.

Jeremiah Bishop and a small group on a singletrack section. (Image credit: Sven Martin)
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Look how strong this race is making me!

Look how strong this race is making me! (Image credit: Sven Martin)

April 1, 2008

It was a very exciting day for us. Our initial plan to get a good start today and my personal goals to ride smart with the descents into the climbing transitions turned into a fantastic position riding in the leading women's group with Alison Sydor and Pia Sundstet (Rocky Mountain Team), the overall women's GC leaders. We also rode with several of the strong mixed category teams. Our race plan evolved as we went - to stick through aid station one, aid station two and three...and finally up the 12km climb to the finish. It was super exciting to come across the line in first with Alison and Pia on our wheels. Great racing and what we came for. Today's [stage four - ed.] win solidified our overall place in second.

The Trek VW men's team of Chris Eatough and Jeremiah Bishop finished in 12th and moved into 11th in the GC.

Today's stage four was just another day in the very fast and brutal Cape Epic Stage race. It is one thing to have pre-conceived expectation about an event and quite another to learn the reality. Each day is another day and each day is long, hard and HOT – Africa Hot. (40 degrees plus Celsius today). If you want to know how different that is from Gunnison, Colorado, right now, check the weather on the internet.

It's also very important to get in a good group of riders; however, it is a dirt and mountain bike race, so it's always challenging and not a road race.

The race has been fantastic, and everything about this event is somewhat mind-blowing – the 3,000 tents and two dining halls that leap frog each other, for example. Last night's camp is at tomorrow's venue. The food is exceptional, the media impressive and the vibe pretty great five days in.

I am wearing a Polar heart rate monitor that you can view live on the Absa cape-epic website as I race . My condition in using it was that I would not be able to see my heartrate during the race; however you can, or I can check it afterwards.

Thanks everyone; it's awesome.

Jennifer Smith
Trek-VW Racing Team

Men's team:
Jeremiah Bishop (USA), 32, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Chris Eatough (USA), 33, Oella, Maryland

Women's team:
Sue Haywood (USA), 36, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Jennifer Smith (NZl), 35, Gunnison, Colorado

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For the first time, American-based team Trek / VW is sending racers to the internationally reknown Cape Epic mountain bike race in South Africa from March 28 to April 5, 2008. Two men and two women, all four accomplished in various off-road racing disciplines, come together to take on some of the toughest stage racers world-wide. Chris Eatough, who dominates the American 100 mile and 24-hour endurance scene, has partnered with World Cup racer and US Olympic Team contender Jeremiah Bishop while Xterra Off-Road regular Jenny Smith teams up with Sue Haywood, the winner of El Reto Guatemala, TransRockies, and La Ruta de los Conquistadores. All four racers and their team manager will take turns contributing diary entries before and during the event.