Evidence of the worn brake pads. Photo by Nick Muzik

New brake pads were the first order of business, for the mechanics, on every bike that rolled out of the Squirt Kränzle Bike Wash and into a bike shop work station. Across the board, the stores reported replacing every set of pads they encountered after Stage 1. They even had to send drivers back to Cape Town in order to purchase more pads for the coming days.

“I bought R9 000 worth of pads with me and I’ve just ordered another R20 000” Francois Esterhuizen of Manic Cycles marvelled. “We must have replaced over 100 sets. Most of them were worn though the resin and down into the metal back plates. One set was even worn deep into the metal.”

“We’re looking after 47 bikes during the FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay” Dewald Oosthuizen of BMT said. “We replaced the brake pads on every bike yesterday. And we replaced more at Water Point 3 today, where we were running the tech-zone. Along with the brake pads we’ve had to replace cables and service drivetrains. Despite the mud today, the bikes are looking a lot better than yesterday, and after a good wash and lube they’re looking and sounding okay. Yesterday was chaos.”

BMT run a relatively lean operation at the FNB Wines2Whales, compared to Recycles. “We had 60 bikes pre-booked and we took another 60 walk-ins yesterday” Nicola Prangley, who was manning the mobile workshop’s front desk, stated. “We were busy until one this morning, and had to send a driver back to Cape Town to fetch extra brake pads.”

The work to get each bike ready for the next stage starts at the Squirt Kränzle Bike Wash. Armed with Squirt’s Bio Bike, biodegradable bike wash, and Kränzle washers, equipped with a diffuser on the nozzle to stop grime being sprayed into the bikes’ bearings, the 26 person bike wash team gave over 1 000 mountain bikes a good wash. Then, for those bikes not booked in for a service, a generous squeeze of Squirt Lube completes the job.

Squirt Lube was also instrumental in the One Earth team of Louise Ferreira and Marleen Lourens winning Stage 2 in the Veterans category. “We were with Fienie [Barnard] and Hanlie [Booyens] up to the first water point, but rather than chase through with them Louise suggested we stop to lube our chains” Lourens recounted. “We stopped at all three waterpoints to reapply Squirt Lube and got to the finish without an issue. We passed Hanlie and Fienie who were fixing Hanlie’s chain of the side of the road. In the mud your drivetrain really takes a beating and you have to do everything you can to take care of it” Lourens concluded.

The final stage of the FNB Wines2Whales Chardonnay could be near as wet as the opening stage. Rain is predicted to fall from 08:00 already, but the race will start at 06:00 to help riders finish before the worst of the rain begins to fall at 14:00. With the added incentive of reaching Onrus in time to watch the Springboks play Wales, at 11:00, Stage 3 is sure to be the fastest of the race. Usually riders do not rush to complete the FNB Wines2Whales adventure; but in this instance the #SeriousGEES could well be more evident in the Cape Brewing Co Chill Zone, for the rugby, than out on the trails.