"Distance to Empty"
- Cape Epic

As cyclists, I think it is safe to say that we all have our bucket list of rides, locations, and events that we want to experience on our trusty steeds before the final curtain comes down, and for many of us the Cape Epic is high on that list.


The eight-day stage race takes the 630 two-person teams through the rugged Western Cape of South Africa on stages that change each year. This means the riders have a minimal idea of what each day looks like, only that it will be around 700km with 17,250m of climbing. The race exposes riders and their bikes to the most extreme limits.

Mountain bike riders

Team "Distance to Empty" is made up of athletes Hannah Shell & Starla Teddergreen, who we are stoked to congratulate on a stunning performance in the 2024 Cape Epic! We were excited that team "Distance To Empty" selected the HUNT Proven Carbon Race XC wheels to take on and complete this gruelling adventure. After the racing wrapped up and she had the chance at a bit of recovery, Hannah reached out to us with a recap of her experience:


"Off road bike racing often involves pushing yourself beyond physical limits, but it differs from road in that the motivation to push past those limits is primarily individual. When Starla and I became training buddies our road careers had ended, but after a few training rides together we immediately wished we could have been teammates on the road. Racing for a teammate you trust and fully believe can deliver on their job is a great motivator to push beyond what you might do when the race is only for yourself. When Starla approached me about the idea to race Cape Epic as a duo, more than anything else I was excited to have an opportunity to officially be Starla's teammate and see what we could achieve together.

Starla riding

Starla and I have different strengths, she is a punchy two-stroke while I am a turbo-charged diesel. Starla can descend on a mountain bike with world class riders, while I struggle to hang on her wheel. But as a team, our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out perfectly.


Our team name for Cape Epic, Distance To Empty, reflects Starla and her husband Gino's Colorado based non-profit that helps women overcome obstacles and get to the start line of races. But conceptually it also represents the way that two teammates supporting and communicating with each other can push past their own individual distance to empty.

Collage of photos of Starla and Hannah

Looking back on the race, we did exactly that. Each of us raced every stage to our full ability. Sometimes the course suited one of us better, or the conditions meant one of us could push harder on the day. Instead of leading to conflict like it may on some teams, for us it led to an opportunity to give encouragement and support. We finished Cape Epic 15th GC in the UCI women and had our best stage result on the last day, where we finished eleventh. In an extremely competitive professional women's field, we are both proud of our accomplishments.


Reflecting on the full event, we are so impressed with the race organizers for putting on what we felt was the most well run and professional off-road event either of us had attended. We are incredibly grateful to our husbands, Gino Zahnd and Jake Magee, for supporting us every day with everything from feed zone hand ups to hand washing laundry, and to our sponsors for going above and beyond the normal support required for privateers to ensure we could be prepared for the logistical challenges of this race. Most importantly though, we are grateful to each other to have shared this experience together as friends and teammates and supported each other to finish the hardest mountain bike stage race in the world.”

What they rode:

April 02, 2024 — Jacob Rubio