The FNB Wines2Whales is a world-class 3-day stage race in the Western Cape of South Africa.
Since inception in 2009, it has become a must-do event on the mountain bike calendar for riders from the farthest reaches of the country queueing for the chance to experience South Africa’s
The events biggest drawcard is undoubtedly the route which charts an exquisite yet challenging path that embraces much of the Overberg’s history and
Stage 1: 61km & 1 900m – Lourensford to Oak Valley
Route description: The elegant Lourensford Wine Estate marks the start of your three-day E-Bike rally to Onrus. The climbing starts almost immediately with a long and fairly steep gravel drag taking you up to Lourensford Nek. From the summit, on a clear day, you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. A long and steep downhill follows, so please take heed – it’s very fast with tight, blind corners and water drainage humps. While you’re still on the Lourensford estate you’ll get to experience two new trails – Old Pine and JK’s Contour – and veterans of the W2W might notice that some trails from earlier years have been reintroduced, including Schoeman’s, Witboom and
The reward on the other side is some of the best
Bike Network’s advice for E-Bike Riders on Stage 1
It’s a long day with a lot of climbing in the beginning so moderate your assist level accordingly. If you are doing the stage on one battery make sure you minimize the assist level as much as possible in the first 40km. If you are swopping batteries for a freshie mid-way then by all means – go full gas. Always pay due respect to non-E-Riders and to marshals, event organizers and the wildlife. After all, we want to be invited back in 2020. If you see us out there (yup, we will be riding) – stop, say hi and let’s take in the views. Probably the most important advice is to do a full bolt check on your bike after each stage, especially this stage. Things tend to vibrate loose on E-Bikes – more so than on a non-E-Bike – so nip everything up before you hit the wine.
Stage 2: 63km & 1 500m – Oak Valley to Oak Valley
Route description: Dubbed ‘Play Day’, Stage 2 is one of the FNB Wines2Whales’s many draw cards, with sublime singletrack, manicured berms, and mind-blowing descents. For 2019 the route reshuffle means that riders remain in Oak Valley for the first 15
With tanks topped up by Woolworths’ water point spread riders then take on FNB W2W’s famous snake singletracks. Cobra, Mamba, and Boomslang lead into the day’s Land Rover Experience: Pofadder. Having been rebuilt following the February 2019 fire, Pofadder is now faster and more flowing but still a challenge for those who ride singletracks at full speed. From Pofadder the route hugs the mountains before passing under the N2 and climbing on new singletracks towards the Lebanon trails. The lower two Lebanon singletracks lead the field back under the highway to the stage’s final water point at the Hickory Shack, after 52 exhilarating
Bike Network’s advice for E-Bike Riders on Stage 2
It’s a play day but
Stage 3: 67km & 1 400m – Oak Valley Wine Estate to Onrus
Route description: The third and final day of the FNB Wines2Whales is a challenging affair – especially with nearly 130 kilometers of riding and 3 000 meters of climbing in the legs. Do not be fooled by the route profile and make sure not to get sucked into racing dynamics early on – most of the climbing comes in the last 30 kilometers, so save something for the end. The trickiest section of this stage is the Kat Pas descent just after the
Caution is advised as this is a particularly fast downhill with a rocky, loose and sometimes quite rutted surface. Water Point 1 is located at the Botrivier School where you’ll experience a truly memorable moment as local schoolchildren and their families line up in support. The next
Hendrico’s Stage Advice: Ride within your limits down the Kat Pas and remember 80% of the climbing is after the 40km mark. Save some energy to enjoy the run in to Onrus across the beautiful beach.
Bike Network’s Stage Advice for E-Bike riders on Stage 3
Use minimal assist up until the 40 or 45km mark if you are riding the stage on a single battery. Fatigue will start to kick in from the previous two days so you want to work hard early on in the day, then be able to enjoy the assist up the last few climbs and the roll down to the beach. The route can be quite rocky in places so carry a few bombs and even better – start with the correct
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Message from the Race Organizers
E-Bikes are the fastest growing sector in cycling but events have been slow to allow them into races due to a number of restrictions. Luckily the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event is unbound by such limitations, so for 2019, E-Bikers are welcome!
To ensure the safety of their fellow riders all E-Bikers, and their non-pedal assisted
With the added power of an electric motor helping them along, the E-Bikers will be able to take in the route like never before. They’ll be able to cruise up the Vergelegen Climb and conquer any obstacle the race throws at them. As long as, of course, their E-Bikes have the walk-assist function… pushing 20+kg bikes up the Gantouw Pass without that handy function might be a touch tricky. And you can be sure no rider on a one HP (human power in this case) mountain bike is going to lend a hand.
“The rationale behind allowing E-Bikes to take part in the mid-week event is to make it more inclusive,” Sarah Harrop, Head of Marketing and Communications for FNB Wines2Whales explained. “We’re hoping to attract riders who would otherwise not be able to take part in an MTB stage event for reasons that could vary from disability, age, health issues or simply fitness. It also allows the opportunity for stronger partners to introduce friends, family members or youngsters to the sport without the “10 hours per week” training sacrifice. We will ensure that the inclusion of E-Bike riders will not interfere with the race itself.”
The race village will have a charge station to ensure all the bikes and spare batteries are charged and ready to rumble for each stage
To enter the E-Bike friendly Pinotage event, visit www.wines2whales.com.