FNB WINES2WHALES AD­VEN­TURE

Bicycling (South Africa) - - STORIES -

WHAT

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.

WINES2WHALES.CO. ZA

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