Overberg MTB Events Offers Fantastic Winter Riding and Running

overberg mtb
The De Hoop Nature Reserve coastline is rugged and unspoilt, usually it is only accessible for hikers of the Whale Trail, but Stage 2 of the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience will trace the ocean from Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen. Photo by Oakpics.com.

This winter Overberg MTB Events are providing mountain bikers and trail runners with two stage races and a run to motivate sportspeople to stay fit though the chilly months. The first is the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience, which takes place from the 20th to the 22nd of May. While the second the Oak Valley Trail Run, on the 4th of June. The final of the three is the Greyt Middelplaas Experience, on the 11th and 12th of June.

Over the years the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience has grown into one of the Western Cape’s most popular boutique events. It boasts short but challenging stages, superb cuisine and the attraction of spending a long weekend in Cape Nature’s flagship nature reserve. In 2022 the event entry fee, of R3 450 includes, all meals from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon – at the De Hoop Collection’s Fig Tree Restaurant, a bottle of local wine, a complimentary massage by EPT Recovery and a bike wash. Entrants and their non-riding family members can then choose from the De Hoop Collection’s array of accommodation options, which include camping and various cottages or lodges. Participants in the event are also eligible for a 42% discount on a three-night stay, at the De Hoop Collection, if they book from Friday through Sunday nights.

The route for the 2022 De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience features a total of 117.5-kilometres of riding and 1 700-metres of accumulated elevation gain. Excluding the 31-kilometre, optional, fun ride on Friday afternoon. Stage 1 – on Saturday, 21 May – ascends out of De Hoop Nature Reserve along the Flat Rock singletrack, passes BuchuBushcamp and rolls through the limestone hard-dunes towards the headwaters of the De Hoop Vlei. From there the route follows the Potberg River first north and then east to Driefontein where the Dennis the Menace back into the limestone hills. The inbound course links up with the outbound at the Windpump trail and follows Flat Rock back into the reserve and to the finish line.

After the 55-kilometre long first stage, day two is longer but features 100-metres less climbing. The 62.5-kilometre Stage 2 takes the tar road ascent out of De Hoop before following gravel roads and dual tracks into the Potberg sector of the reserve. Visiting a region that only hikers of the Whale Trail get to experience the course passes Valkrans and diverts down to the coast at KoppieAlleen; before a fast finish, across the dry DronkVlei basin, leads riders home to the 300-year-old De Hoop opstal.

Trail runners will then be treated, on the 4th of June, to the first trail race on Oak Valley in many a year. The single-day event boasts 30 and 21-kilometre distances making use of the estate’s manicured mountain bike trails and rugged mountain footpaths, to provide a stern test for experienced trail runners. The shorter 10 and 5-kilometre routes meanwhile, will be more family friendly, using dual-tracks and cycling singletracks to create courses which are runnable throughout.

Later in June, mountain bikers can be back on their bikes at an Overberg MTB Events stage race again. This time in the Greyton region. Elandskloof, host to three nights of the 2022 Cape Epic, provides the venue for the GreytMiddleplaas Escape. The stages are set to be around 60-kilometres in length, each, and feature around 1 500 metres of climbing per day.

Given the shorter routes the Greyt Middelplaas Escape has no need to add distance simply to increase the difficulty of the stages, thus the route team are able to focus on showcasing the best riding the Greyton area has to offer. As with the trails in and around De Hoop Nature Reserve the singletracks of Greyton are rocky and challenging at times. But the less arduous distances, and e-bike friendly nature of the events, ensure that no rider will spend all day on their bikes. Everyone will have time to wind down, enjoy the scenery of the Riviersonderend Mountains and Elandskloof’s hospitality.

As with the De Hoop VleiMTB Experience, the Greyt Middelplaas Escape’s entries include all meals from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. Accommodation can be booked at Elandskloof or in Greyton, 20-kilometres away.

While the aim of both events is to provide all levels of mountain bikers with a spectacular weekend away the addition of prizes and prize money increases the incentive for competitive riders. The Rola Motor Group’s Bredasdrop and Caledon branches support the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience and Greyt Middelplaas Escape with cash prizes. While Coolheat – the distributors of SHIMANO, PRO, Lazer and Pearl Izumi – will be providing product prizes at the Greyt Middelplaas Escape.

“Shimano will be partnering with Overberg MTB Events for the GreytMiddelplaas Escape, to go on a scenic journey together with the riders and crew in the beautiful surrounds of Greyton,” Coolheat Marketing Manager, Nicola Weber said. “Coolheat, the importer of Shimano, and complementing brands which include PRO bike gear, Lazer helmets and Pearl Izumi gear will be offering some great prizes from their line-up to the podium finishers. We would like to inspire families and communities to get outdoors, get active and get moving through bespoke cycling events; such as the Overberg MTB Events rides and races.”

Entries to all three events are open and for more information mountain bikers can visit www.overbergmtbevents.co.za. Online entries are available through Entry Ninja, for the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience, Oak Valley Trail Runand the Greyt Middelplaas Escape. Accommodation for the stage races can be booked at www.dehoopcollection.com and www.elandsklooffarmcottages.co.za respectively.