I would like to start by congratulating the Wines2Whales team on an awesome 3 day experience. The Wines2Whales 3 day stage “Adventure” was my first stage race and I thoroughly enjoyed the riding and the race village. The whole experience was amazing and hearing your name when you cross the finish line just makes you feel that much more special.
It’s the little things that make the experience such an awesome one. The Rehidrate “eat as many fizzers as you can, and drink as much Rehidrate as you want” makes recovery great and much needed after the Friday heat. The Spur burgers and chips were awesome and went down very well after the MTB bliss we experienced. The beer tent – ‘nuff said. The catering by Food Lover’s Market was also brilliant! The hot showers, the clean loos, all add to a great experience!
IT WAS AWESOME!
I will definitely be back as soon as I can!
We started the first day in Lourensford at 8AM and 24 degrees C! It was going to be a very hot day and the heat was the biggest obstacle for many on the day! A lot of the singletrack is custom built and maintained for the W2W but will be opened to the public post this year’s event. It did not let us down. The pics of leopards from the team in the build-up to the event kept most us looking over our shoulders at the siting spots!
The compulsory portage section came early to some of the backmarkers as the concrete berms were awash with a fine layer of dust making grip very difficult. It seemed like a really long way up and over the old wagon trail, especially battling the heat, the dehydration and the weight of the bike, as it seemed to get heavier with time. My rookie mistake of not filling my Camel Pack at water point 2 was starting to take its toll. My partner (Ebbe Spaarwater) was feeling strong, but I had to push up every little incline.
The big dipper was great but I would love to see some Sani2C style water bridges in future W2W events!
Day 1 done and as everyone kept saying that the worst was over!
The full route can be seen here. What you don’t see here is the temp – it was hot!
Day 2 went by in a blur. The couple of things that stand out for me on day 2 were the short ride through a green house. It was cool outside but as you ride in the heat hits you like a brick wall! The other thing was obviously the Boomslang and the Puffadder. Both sections located in the fantastic singletrack on route around Oak Valley. The rest of the singletrack was Oak Valley and surrounding farms at its finest. There is very little recovery time in this stage because of the undulating terrain and the singletrack sapping energy with every rot and twist. The day was a great break from the day 1 and the “downhill” ride that is day 3.
The Boomslang being constructed
Day 3 started with a bit of mist and even a few drops of drizzle. Trust me it was welcomed and mimicked the mood around the start. I think most people starting were bummed that this awesome experience would soon be over! And it was. There were some very funny moments like when I got the bike completely sideways as I bombed down the jeep track on the inside only to have the line cut off in front of me by a rider not checking as he made the corner. Another time as we pedalled through a river crossing that just got deeper and deeper till both hubs were under water! We had more singletrack, more climbing and then the view of Hermanus. What a great view it was, and apparently, the only reason for that section of climbing!
The singletrack in this stage is not open to the public but it is magnificently maintained! http://app.strava.com/activities/26923657
The adventure is not a race and we rode it as such. This was a good thing because I don’t think I had anything more to give!
I kept thinking of the 4 guys who maintain all this! How on earth e do they do it? I have to say a massive shout out to Cape Trails (Aswell, Pikkie, Denzel and Murzeon), and Johan and the W2W team. What a great experience!
The team building the trails.
The riders. From left: Yours truly (Steve Bryant), Schalk, Steve and Ebbe.
Thanks Ebbe for a great weekend adventure!