Speed Company Racing: Pushing Limits at Cape Epic
At the latest since their Cape Epic victory in 2022, Lukas Baum and Georg Egger from Team Speed Company Racing have been the topic of conversation and the entire cycling scene has been bathed in a colour mix of pink-purple-blue. And why not? The two have fought hard for the victory and are also so incredibly likeable, which they also prove in our interview.
Last year we introduced you as the coolest two-man show in cycling. The hype around you has not abated, and rightly so. What does that mean for you?
Lukas Baum [laughs]: We are of course grateful for the attention, or in general, that the cycling industry is paying attention to us now. But with us personally, I can only speak for myself, it does relatively little now. We are actually back at exactly the same point as last year. There is an atmosphere of departure again, everything is a bit hectic again.
Actually it doesn’t matter if you won the Cape Epic a year before or not, it’s starting all over again and you’re only ever as strong as the last race.Lukas Baum
Georg Egger: Yes, I can only agree. Cycling is such an endurance thing anyway. The competition itself, but also the training. I think it pays off that we both never gave up.
We’ve been carrying the potential around with us for a long time!Georg Egger
Maybe we’ve unleashed a change in thinking or two, that maybe the mega setup isn’t needed, but that a bit more basic works too.
There are some cycling initiatives now, such smaller teams that have been formed. I don’t want to make us out to be the supervisors, but to a certain extent you can already see the tendency that there are team constellations that do things on their own.
Then you continue to have a small circle of helpers and do a lot yourself. That also means a lot of trust in yourselves and in each other.
What advantages and disadvantages do you have compared to the big teams?
GE: Actually, it’s always a call between Lukas and me. Of course, the interest has grown. That means more and more commitments. But basically we are a small team and want to stay that way. It’s important to us that we’re no longer 100% dependent on our dads, who are always happy to help, but I also want to allow my dad to relax on the couch at the weekend and not always have to go to the races with me.
We have made an agreement that the dads can come along if they want, but they don’t have to.
How many people are you taking to the Cape Epic this year? Last year you only had one support person, right? Lukas’ dad, right?
LB: Yeah, exactly, and this year we have two, we’re upgrading it 100 percent.
How do you prepare for such races?
GE: I think we are actually a bad example, we both didn’t go to any training camps, not really at least. We just did our training at home to the best of our ability.
LB: Yes, I think we are really atypical.
GE: We’ve already thought about doing it differently next year and maybe spending more time in South Africa or something. But let’s see how well it works again this year.
What will be different about the setup this year?
GE: Last year we noticed on site that the caravan had no sunblind. Of course, with the intense sun, that’s brutal and we had to bake in the sun. After two or three days, a nice South African put a three-by-three-metre tent in front of the camper and said: “Hey guys, come put up your tent and allow yourselves some shade”. This year we have shade in front of the camper from the first day and the possibility to cool down with an ice bath. We only had that last year because we had nice neighbours. Sabine Spitz and her team were next to us and we were kindly allowed to use their ice bath.
LB: We were allowed to use the ice bath. Nice in the sweat of the two girls.
GE: Yes. We were only allowed in afterwards, of course, but that was okay then.
So you have different conditions than last year.
GE: Yes, these are little things that can definitely help us during the race and we know what to expect. The requirements fit well for us. Most cross-country riders are worn out after 1.5 hours and the two of us, if we go back about five per cent, can go at that pace for another two hours. That is our strength. Especially with such changing conditions as in the Cape Epic.
We can easily handle 500 metres of altitude, 600 metres of altitude at a stretch, and then we can still tackle the descent straight away.Georg Egger
LB: Sure, the Cape Epic is an adventure in itself and I think even if you’ve done it 20 times, you’ll be confronted with challenges that you haven’t seen before, you can ask Karl Platt. We are now going into the whole race with one year of experience. Whether that’s really an advantage in the end or whether you have more of an advantage if you don’t know what to expect remains to be seen.
What do you do for the warm-up right before the race?
GE [laughs]: Relatively little, actually.
LB [laughs ]: Briefly check that the shift works and then roll forward to the start.
GE: Yes, we just checked the gears and the tyre pressure, rolled over the meadow again, but that’s all there was to it. Every training scientist is scratching his head now, but we actually did it that way.
How does the ROX 11.1 EVO help you before and during the preparation?
LB: The ROX offers the possibility to put together the pages individually in a way that suits you.
GE: Yes, for me only one page is really important and that is the one with the laps, I always have the three seconds of power, then the average power, the pulse, the distance of the lap and the time of the lap.
LB: I have the current power, the average power, the maximum power displayed and finally the temperature and the time. You have a great overview of your current values. The race itself has become a bit more scientific.
You just have the data at your fingertips and you want to use it, and I think the ROX 11.1 EVO gives you the opportunity to do that in a clear way and optimise both the training and the race.Lukas Baum
After winning the Cape Epic last year, all eyes are naturally on you this year. But what are your expectations for the race?
LB: We both need to free ourselves a bit in the run-up from the idea of putting too much pressure on our shoulders.
We’re both going in with the mindset that we’re defending champions, but the bottom line is that we can only lose.Lukas Baum
That sounds harsh at first, but that’s the way it is. We think from day to day and try to go from event to event and see how it looks after three or four days and then we can see if we want to attack or not.
GE: We just go there with a healthy self-confidence, but without putting too much pressure on ourselves. I think the stupidest thing we could do would be if we think we have to show everyone who’s boss on the first two or three days, so that we completely run out of energy at the end.
LB: You really have to think from day to day and get the best out of the moment, make sure you regenerate well after the stage and attack again the next day. Last year we hadn’t won until the last stage either.
Your plan was just to keep the fans cheering.
LB: That was all tactics.
Why don’t you make it that exciting again? That would be nice.
LB [laughs]: I’d rather not.
GE [laughs]: I think we’d both prefer it not to be quite so exciting.
We’re still looking forward to an exciting Cape Epic and especially to supporting the two of them again this year and seeing the ROX 11.1 EVO on their handlebars. Good luck! 🍀