How many of the same MTB trails can a mountain biker cycle before s/he gets bored? The answer my friend ain’t blowing in the wind.

Switchbacks will be the order of the day during the 2020 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback. Image by Nick Muzik

It’s probably the main reason many riders over the years have asked us; “Why don’t you do W2W in reverse?” and our response was; “We can’t, as the route can’t simply be cycled in reverse”.

But then after cycling the route for 11 years, we also thought “Let’s look at how we can develop a new route, applicable only to Stages 1 and 3, as Stage 2, the play day loop, stays the same”. It can be viewed as revolutionary and risky MTB trail and event thinking, considering that the existing route and event is a winning recipe. However, consider that over the past decade we have built an extraordinary set of trail development skills and a huge network of trails, which can easily be applied to ensure that we create the same “FNB W2W Fun-on-a-bike” experience. That’s why we named it the “Switchback”, as many trail sections on Stages 1 (Onrus to Oak Valley) and 3 (Oak Valley to Lourensford) will be different, some completely new, and some new combinations of existing trails.

For instance on Stage 1, Rotary View Drive, near the start at Curro School, Onrus, with its spectacular views of Walker Bay, becomes the new Lourensford Climb to sort out the start bunches. Only the first section of The Gaf-se-Bos trail in Karwyderskraal will be utilised. A completely new trail will take you on a 120m high contour route, above and past the Arthouse (WP 2 on Stage 3 of Oak Valley – Onrus route) towards Wildekrans, one of the numerous new Switchback water point locations. The main climb is up Kat Pas, a long gradual climb, instead of walking up Gantouw. The Houw Hoek switchbacks won’t be part of the 2020 Switchback route and existing trails in Paul Cluver and Oak Valley that we haven’t used in years will create a new finish experience.

Same for Stage 3, a new combination of the existing A2Z trails to the top of Gantouw, an easier walk down than up, and new trail sections towards Idiom and Vergelegen. In Lourensford we plan to build a spectacular, long and easy riding singletrack to the finish. And of course, the 8km Lourensford climb to the Saddle, won’t be part of the 2020 Switchback.

Agreed, it’s always a risk to try something new, but if it’s managed and executed properly, as we’ve done for the last decade, it will create a new and similar magic experience.

In 2020, riders can expect a brand new route that takes them on the world’s first ever FNB W2W Switchback. Image by Xavier Briel

The FNB W2W Switchback gives us the opportunity to rotate the route annually; one year Lourensford to Onrus and the next year the other way round; the Switchback. Another reason why the FNB W2W has been selected by SA mountain bikers as their favourite 3-day stage race (survey conducted by Tread magazine in 2019). We pride ourselves on not only continuously improving and being the best but also in leading by example in the creative space.

Enter now at https://wines2whales.com/ and join us on a new, but similar and best MTB experience; the FNB Wines2Whales Switchback, in 2020.

Adios JK (Founder)