The ABSA Cape Epic is the world’s most prestigious mountain bike stage race. It holds the highest International Cycling Union grading (HC) for any stage race and is just one of four bicycle races in the world to hold this status. The others are Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta Espana – all road cycling events.
Oakley’s second year as official Eyewear Sponsor and the 10th anniversary edition of the Cape Epic gets started this Sunday at the Meerendal Wine Estate near Cape Town, in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The grueling eight-day race is unique in that it caters for the world’s best professional racers as well as ambitious amateur mountain bikers who are required to complete the same 698km course as the professional over eight days.
Oakley is the official eyewear sponsor of the Cape Epic, having produced a 10 year limited edition sunglass to commemorate the occasion. Eyewear is rightly positioned as essential riding equipment in this grueling race.
“Oakley’s range of sportswear frames as well as optically-correct, condition-appropriate lenses ensures mountain bikers are able to choose the right product for their needs,” said Oakley Product Specialist, Milli Duncker.
“Travelling at speed on uneven, unpredictable surfaces for over six hours a day in heat or rain makes seeing where you’re going – or where you want to go – essential. Add to that the optimal UVA and UVB protection our lenses offer and the option to customize frame colour combinations, puts Oakley up there as the clear eyewear leader in the mountain biking market.”
The Oakley Overlander Brand truck will bring a new dimension to the event with market-leading product and innovative experiential initiatives that will benefit both participants and supporters and boost the status of this truly Epic race.
Oakley will also once again offer on-route eyewear cleaning stations for all participants, regardless of their eyewear brand. Oakley-wearing riders will get additional exclusive access to hydrophobic coating of their eyewear and deep cleaning services, a process that adds a moisture-repellent layer to the lens.
“Last year was Oakley’s first year of involvement with the Cape Epic. We had an opportunity to look for areas where we could add value, so we conceptualized a few new initiatives that we believe showcase Oakley’s integration with mountain biking and position us as a global leader in sports performance eyewear,” said Taryn Ryan, Oakley Brand Manager.
The Oakley Overlander will be the most visible innovation at this year’s Cape Epic. The hardy African expedition truck has been repurposed to be a mobile Oakley HQ for the duration of the Cape Epic, offering a visually stimulating base from which Oakley will be selling latest eyewear product and run a warranty and a service centre as well as other venue-relevant activities.
It will also house a race leader board screen so that spectators can see the results of riders from that day’s stage as well as a ‘Behind the Lenses’ postcard lounge where anyone can send a real postcard from the ABSA Cape Epic to anywhere in the world.
“Oakley will once again offer on-route eyewear cleaning stations from which all participants will benefit, regardless of their eyewear brand,” added Ryan, “while Oakley-wearing riders will get additional exclusive access to hydrophobic coating of their eyewear to ensure any kind of moisture such as sweat or rain is repelled and doesn’t affect their vision.”
Other Cape Epic initiatives include Oakley’s Ride Plan, a tool for riders that offers in-depth route information for each stage as well as a peel-off adhesive map for on-the-go navigation. The decal can be attached to any area on the bike for easy visibility and refers to water points, Oakley cleaning stations as well as the route profile.