The Wines 2 Whales events take place during the first week of November. In mountain bike circles it is referred to as a casual event, due to not being too ‘strenuous’. Luckily no one really believes cross country riders and their warped realities. I’d like to say I competed in the event, the reality being that I barely completed the ordeal.
Quantitatively we are talking 3 days, ~210 km’s, 4,000 meters ascending and a lot of wear and tear on the buttocks. For all your hard work there is plenty of reward. The route goes through some of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, modern day reminders of the very first European settlers, and sneaks through otherwise private parts of the countryside.
As such the route has a rich history. The Dutch settlers, who had been the original colonialists of the Cape Colony, initiated the Groot Trek during the early 1800’s. Cape Town and its surrounding suburbs are surrounded by a majestic series of mountain ranges, the focus being on the Hottentots Holland Range. On a mountain bike this poses a serious obstacle, but with an ox wagon it borders on the impassable. Day 1 of the event takes riders over Gantouw Pass, which was carved into the mountain side by the ox wagons of migrating Dutch settlers.
Fortunately for those old timers they didn’t have to slog flashy carbon fiber bikes over the hill after an unsettling 35km’s on a hearty breakfast. After etching our names into the annuls of history, the journey continued. Eventually we somehow washed up at the Atlantic ocean in Onrus, invigorated by what the human body and will can achieve. So invigorated that I actually slept for the following 2 days to let that inspiration settle…
This is the biggest A-Frame on the event. Fundamentally they are to allow cyclists over farming fences. Their secret purpose is a lot more nefarious… destroying worn-out XC riders.
Wide variety of scenes, including the biggest fruit packing facility in the Cape.
Some of the ladies are scary fast, or fit. I don’t know anymore, I was following a big guy for slipstream.
Purpose built berm tracks and meandering forest pathways, crisscrossing over fresh mountain streams.
This was a new addition and shows the promise of the event. Renovating forgotten hiking paths to give riders unparalleled access.