It is almost time for the FNB Wines2Whales, one of South Africa’s favourite mountain biking stage races, which starts at Lourensford Wine Estate outside SomersetWest and ends at the popular seaside village of Hermanus in the Western Cape. The 3-day stage race winds its way through spectacular wine farms, single trails, natural fynbos, virgin forests, jeep trails, A-frame bridges and some of the countries most loved trails. Not only is it the superb trails which draw riders to return year on year but also the #seriousgees which is synonymous with FNB Wines2Whales and the super spoiling and pampering, you need only take a peek at the rider “goodie bag” at registration to know your in for a fine 3 days of pampering.
With less than 3 weeks till the Chardonnay Wines2Whales we have 3 tips which will make your experience of the race enjoyable, one tip for each of the stages.
Tip 1 Stage 1 Climb like a Trail Runner
The FNB Wines2Whales offers a unique opportunity, a compulsory portage for just over 1 km where you will get off your bike and have to climb like a trail runner. The iconic challenge of the day is the historic Gantouw Pass – an old ox wagon trail and compulsory portage section where you can still see the grooves worn in the rocks by the Voortrekkers’ wagon wheels.
How much time have you spent training OFF your bike, yeah not on the couch rather PUSHING/Carrying your bike up a MOUNTAIN? On some sections of the portage there are large rocks (steps) which have to be cleared, ensure you can pull or carry your bike over large obstacles. Full Bodied kettle bell workout.
At the Top of Gantouw’ Pass, don’t forget to turn around and marvel at the beauty of Table Mountain, False Bay and The Hottentots Holland Mountains AND at yourself, how awesome is it to be able to do this and see this! The Wines2Whales offers unique opportunities.
Terrain: Gantouw Pass is the only portage section in the race – it’s steep, rocky and exposed to the elements.
Tip 2 Stage 2 Snakes and Super Switchbacks
FNB Wines2Whales famous snake singletracks; Cobra, Mamba and Boomslang lead into the day’s Land Rover Experience: Pofadder. The Pofaader was rebuilt following the February 2019 fire and is now faster and more flowing but still a challenge for those who ride singletracks at full speed.
There are some steep up hill swtichbacks and off camber lose gravel downhill switchabcks. Tips! Ensure you look where you want to go, use your body to turn, select your gear before the switchback and dial in the correct tire pressure. Ride as many singletracks as you can in preparation. Singletrack requires more concentration and work than open roads.
Skills Skills Skills Switchback Checkout the Allride Skills video
Terrain: Manicured berms, purpose-built singletrack. Nothing overly technical.
Tip 3 Stage 3 The Heat is On to Hermanus
The third and final day of the FNB Wines2Whales – racing is normally hot out the gate, riders can smell the sea and are racing for Hermanus, generally downhill until about 40km when the bulk of the climbing and the heat starts.
Tips! Historically the heat beats down on you as you climb after 40km and sections of white sand act to reflection the sun off the trails. Hydrate correctly in the week leading into FNB Wines2Whales and during the race. Large parts of the country have experience cooler rainy winter and up-country temperatures are only starting to get hot. You still have time to get in some heat acclimatization – do it you wont regret it. On the bike and if you are into experimenting try the sauna.
Terrain: Rocky climbs and descents. Sand and manicured trails upon entering Hemel en Aarde.
A few limited entries are available www.wines2whales.com