Dr Jesse Bruins Roberts / FICS / ChiroSport South Africa
“The Absa Cape Epic is a race, not a ride. It’s eight days of pressure, not pleasure. It’s not a point-to-point event, but it is a journey – of discovery.’’ – Tread Magazine
Being the most televised mountain bike race in the world and classed as hors catégorie by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the Absa Cape Epic is the highlight on any professional racer’s calendar and Chirosport SA’s premiere event. Every year the race follows a different route, leading mountain bikers through roughly 700 untamed kilometres and16 000m of vertical ascent in the breath-taking mountains of the western cape, South Africa.
This year Dr. Jaidan Mays, Chirosport SA vice president, led the team of sports chiropractors and students selected to take care of the Absa team riders. The set-up has evolved over the years, into a highly professional system that one would expect to see at the most prestigious MTB event of the year. When the rider finished their stage for the day, 8 chiropractic students were ready and waiting to take their pre-booked 30-minute sports massage in a separate recovery area- equipped with all-weather tents, fans, showers, refreshments, changing rooms and anything else a rider might need after a long day in the mountains.
After they had been loosened up nicely with a massage, 1 of 4 qualified sports chiropractors would take over, offering experienced treatment and professional guidance with regards to recovery, prevention and performance during the race. As expected, athletes presented with the usual variety of acute and chronic aches, pains, strains or sprains related to cycling and overuse. Whether elite, veteran, amateur or weekend warrior, each and every rider who was under the care of Chirosport SA had the confidence of knowing that, whatever they were experiencing at the end of their very tough day, there was a skilled chiropractic team waiting for them at the finish line.
Being there to see the response from athletes over 7 days was a privilege for any sports chiropractor and by the end of the event, it was clear that any rider who was originally unsure of chiropractic was now overly enthusiastic and grateful. We felt like we were an integral part of the rider’s race, with the common feedback being, ‘’I would not have completed the Epic without you guys.’’ Something a sports chiropractor can’t hear enough times! 😊
After 2 years of little to no interprofessional contact due to COVID restrictions in SA, it was a dream to spend 7 days connecting with 11 other sports passionate chiropractors. The stories shared around camp fires, bonds formed and memories made left everyone with a revitalized passion for their practice, patients and peers. These events are invaluable, not only for the athletes but also the chiropractors, strengthening networks and bringing us closer together as a profession. Thank you to Chirosport SA, Dr Jaiden Mays and everyone else who participated in a truly unforgettable experience.