Arizona mountain bikers holding strong through stage 2 of Asba Cape Epic

Four Arizona riders have begun an epic mountain biking journey this week across South Africa at the Absa Cape Epic, one of the most grueling races in the world.

Melissa Ross, Debra Doss, Jeff Doss and Randall Toltzman decided to brave the eight-day stage race of 460 miles and 52,000 feet of climbing. As duo teams, the two teammates have to stay within two minutes of each other at all times.

“We were out for eight hours, climbed our brains out and rode 70 miles in the rain,” Ross said after stage 1.

Doss and Ross are holding down 16th place out of 22 teams after the prologue, stage 1 and 2. Doss and Toltzman are in 15th place out of 46 teams. The four continue to race after many other teams dropped out.

You can follow their progress with live tracking.

Ross is also posting blog updates on her website,

I have figured out after finishing day 3 of the Absa Cape Epic that they call it the “untamed African mountain bike race” for a reason.

Yesterday was the first long day of 70 miles and about 2800 meters of climbing. We started off with lots of dusty roads as over 1,200 riders took on a week of challenges. Our faces were immediately covered in dust as well as our glasses. We climbed a pass that looked like we were in New Zealand and as we crested the false summit (there were more!) a world cup mountain bike champion, Rob Warner, was Skyped in live on a screen to give everyone bits of encouragement.

The rain started about 2 hours into our 8 hr day…

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Arizona mountain bikers head to South Africa for world’s most grueling MTB stage race

Sarah Muench