How the mental challenges of the Absa Cape Epic sets up my racing year

Clowning with Craig Kolesky

How the mental challenges of the Absa Cape Epic sets up my racing year

The Epic is far more than a physical challenge and the mental prep and determination it requires helps me with my rally racing. Here’s how:


1. It mentally prepares you for anything in the year
When you finish the epic you’ve gone through absolute hell. There are moments in the race where you’re going, ‘what the fck am I doing here? Why am I putting myself through this just for a medal?’

So when you finish, you’ve dealt with it. Dealt with whatever has come at you. I take confidence from that for my rally racing year and always tell myself: ‘You can you can get through it because you got through whatever the Epic threw at you.’


2. It is good practice in focus and problem solving
I play a little game with myself during the Epic. I normally channel my thoughts and doubts (and those types of things) into seven categories, one for each stage. Each day then I link a characteristic of the stage to something I need to reflect on in my life – be it racing, my relationship with my girlfriend, family, whatever it may be and then I channel that in the stage. Takes my mind off the suffering in a way. As you go through every dip, high or low then basically you come through every stage like a self-therapy session of sorts because you deconstructing things going on in life and racing.


3.  It teaches you to embrace the curveballs
Leading on from that, probably the thing I love most about the Epic is that it always throws something unexpected at you. In 2017 I went into Epic not having sat on my bike for like three weeks before (due to illness). I got on my bike the morning of the prologue and had pretty much done everything that everyone would tell you NOT to do in the build up to Epic. That was 2017, but I dug deep and found out just how deep I can go. Last year was a hell year, but I kept on thinking ‘I’ve been through worse’. This year everything went according to plan so everything I’ve done after – in terms of admin and work for my rally racing season – I’ve used that momentum. I’ve had a strategy and a goal and worked to execute that.

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