DUST

DUST

Bike (USA) - - Contents - BY WILL RITCHIE | PHOTO: GARY PERKIN

For eight days and more than 400 miles, rac­ers must keep their team­mate in sight—fol­low his or her rhythm—through ups, downs, ela­tion and mis­ery. If sep­a­rated by 2 min­utes, it’s a one-hour penalty. If three of­fenses, the two-per­son team is out of the run­ning. It’s an end­less act of re­assess­ment and re­cal­i­bra­tion while claw­ing for an edge over op­po­nents in South Africa.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Gary Perkin has cov­ered the Cape Epic since its in­cep­tion in 2004. What started out as a wild idea in 2002 by South African Kevin Ver­maak rac­ing Costa Rica’s ‘La Ruta’ turned into what is now the bench­mark in elite-dis­tance stage rac­ing. Perkin had doc­u­mented World Cup races since 1997, look­ing for ways to cre­atively cover ac­tion oc­cur­ring in a time-con­trolled man­ner be­tween race tape. In late 2003, he was be­gin­ning to ques­tion his abil­ity to make it on the World Cup cir­cuit, right as the digital and web tran­si­tion be­gan to firmly grasp photography. Then a Cape Epic e-mail ran­domly hit his in­box: Could he shoot the fledg­ling race?

Cape Epic has since turned into a global who’s-who show­down of power, bol­stered by 600 teams, but Perkin’s im­age still res­onates deeply to the event’s essence: “Even though it’s 1,200 peo­ple, it’s still a race of a team of two,” he ex­plains.

Pic­tured above, the Lange­berg Range for­bod­ingly fades into un­for­giv­ing rays as awnings at­tempt um­brage for an as­pir­ing or­chard—mea­ger means com­bat­ting South Africa’s de­creas­ing rain­fall. Two face­less sil­hou­ettes en­gulfed in dust grind af­ter an es­cap­ing pack, sym­bolic of Cape Epic’s sever­ity.

Here’s to bat­tles waged in pairs.

MARCH 20, 2018 | 7:33 A.M. | ROBERTSON, SOUTH AFRICA

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