FNB WINES2WHALES ADVENTURE
Three options for riding the best trails in the Western Cape: the Adventure, the Ride, and the Race. Recently acquired by the company that owns the Absa Cape Epic, it’s uncertain what shape or form the event might take in the future.
LAST YEAR’S EVENT
I was a late call-up here, courtesy of deputy editor, Jonathan ‘Goose’ Ancer. Our intention was to ‘attack’ at the water points, but much to our dismay they were woefully inadequate. The usual water and Coke were present; but potatoes, Marmite sandwiches and sickly- sweet koeksisters for three days in a row meant we had to attack our own provisions instead.
The riding, though, was excellent. The attention to detail on the W2W route is second to none; and after suffering through an insanely powerful headwind on Day 1, we rode freely from D batch on Days 2 and 3. A personal highlight was starting in I batch on Day 1, only to outpace the batch after two kilometres, all while enjoying a philosophical conversation about batch starts and riding at a leisurely pace. Somerset West to Grabouw to Onrus
WHERE WHY DO IT?
For a long time, Wines2Whales was the benchmark for South African stage racing. And probably still is, when you look at the overall package: good event garment, great trails, wellmaintained race village, and generally slick organisation. For mountain bikers outside of the Western Cape, this is certainly the one to do if you’re planning a trip down south.
While the emphasis of the event always seems to be on Day 2’s ‘ play day’ trails, the best day of overall riding is almost certainly the Day 3 trek from Oak Valley to Onrus. Day 2 feels like you’re going around in circles, simply to make up distance; the final day has a much better combination of trails and challenges.
THIS YEAR’S MODEL
AT THE TIME OF WRITING, THE 2018 DATES FOR THE EVENT WEREN’T YET KNOWN. BUT IT USUALLY TAKES PLACE IN LATE OCTOBER TO EARLY NOVEMBER.