Stage 2 of FNB Wines2Whales had long been known as Play Day. But with the route being reimagined for the Switchback the route team had the opportunity to reinvent Play Day.

At 66 kilometres long, with 1 500 metres of climbing, Play Day is no walk in the park. It requires some hard riding too, as the climbs are steep but short. That said few riders seem to remember the climbs. They only speak about the fantastic trails.

“So nice!” enthused multiple-Hungarian cross-country champion Barbara Benko. “It was great racing with A-Batch, we had a good group and so much fun. I’m so bad on the flats, so today’s singletrack packed stage was perfect. It was so much fun and the trails were super nice!”

“That was awesome” a sadly unidentified rider gushed in the FNB Rider Chill Zone. “Definitely Play Day of note. The cloud cover in the early part of the stage also helped with that.”

“The trails were great, quite dusty; but I think we were very fortunate to only be a group of four riders” stage winner Philip Buys said, adding his praise to the Switchback route. “It was a little loose here and there, but we expect that an put beefier tyres on to provide us with more grip.” The risk of loose sections did not prevent Buys and his partner, Gert Heyns, from taking to the air though.

“Flippen great, great, route” Full Sus publisher Shayne Dowling said, adding his opinion to the ground swell of praise. “The Switchback is honestly the best thing ever. I think I’ll miss every second FNB Wines2Whales from now on and only do the Switchback. It’s a great innovation!”

The highlight of the stage was the new Rietvlei Magic Bridge. Built by Paul Cluver and Cape Trails, with lumber donated by AgriMark, the bridge is 120 metres long and snakes across the Rietvlei Dam at the bottom of the 2 kilometre long Rietvlei Magic singletrack.