The concept of the Wines2Whales Switchback was announced in late October and today the official route was revealed for the three-stage mountain bike race to be held in the Western Cape later this year.
This is a reverse of the W2W trails, which usually take riders from the winelands to the whales. The switchback trails go from Hermanus to Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West.
The first stage starts at Curro Hermanus and finishes at Oak Valley Estate, Elgin, 65km later. It features 1 500m of elevation gain.
Waterpoints are at 17km (Karwyderskraal), 37km (Wildekrans Wines) and 54km (Lebanon Village).
Highlights of the stage include Rotary View Drive, Onrus Gorge, Karwyders Contour, Wildekrans, Pines and Berms and Oak Valley Trails.
“Riders should keep their eyes peeled for views that may never have been noticed before when riding in the opposite direction, like the Karwyders Contour trails and the incredible bridges,” said race director Hendrico Burger.
“Riding-wise, do not underestimate Kat Pas; it can be a tricky climb, so fuel up well at Wildekrans and keep the ‘serious gees’ levels high.”
The 63km second stage, which features 1 500m of elevation, starts and finishes at Oak Valley Estate in Elgin.
There are waterpoints at 17km (Oak Valley), 30km (Paul Cluver Amphitheatre) and 52km (Hickory Shack).
Features riders can look out for include Vissie’s Magic, JK’s Edge, Indensity, Sounds of Silence, Cow’s Trail, Rietvlei Roller, Witklippies, Rietvlei Magic, Lebanon and all the Snake Trails.
“As in previous years you’ll do well not to underestimate ‘play day’,” said Burger.
“The trails are great fun, but riders will need to be fit to make the most of them. If you are not that confident riding up- and downhill switchbacks, book a skills lesson or two before the Switchback.
“Don’t lose concentration on the newly built Rietvlei Magic, or a swim may be the result.”
The final stage starts at Oak Valley Estate, Elgin, and finishes at Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West, 62km later. It covers 1 350m of elevation.
“We had fun designing this new route and we know riders will enjoy it too, so save some energy for the final stage. It’s not every day that riders get to ride in Lourensford Wine Estate and with the brand new trails in there you won’t soon forget it, so enjoy every moment,” said Burger.
Riders will find the waterpoints at 15km (Country Club), 30km (Idiom Wines) and 46km (Lourensford).
Features include Willie’s Trail, Gantouw Pass, Idiom Single, Peri Bridge to Vergelegen and the Lourensford Ultimate.
“That, my friends, is the Switchback Story. Cape Trails are already half way with Rietvlei Magic and plan to finish it by the end of February,” said race director Johan Kriegler.
“The remaining construction trail sequence will be Karwyders Contour, Lourensford Ultimate and Idiom Single, just in time for the Switchback kick-off by the end of October.
“Get your names written into the W2W history books as the first people to have ridden the Switchback.”