Stage 2: 66km & 1 350m
Oak Valley Wine Estate to Oak Valley Wine Estate
Dubbed ‘Play Day’, Stage 2 is one of the FNB Wines2Whales’s many drawcards, with sublime singletrack, manicured berms and mind-blowing descents. From the gun, riders will face a steep but short climb that will sort out positioning before entering the singletracks. The first 25km is fast and flowing with regular ups and downs. Riders will access Oak Valley via the signature contour experience – famous for its waterfall and gravity-defying cliff-face singletrack (JK’s Edge). Don’t look down! The real fun begins when you enter Paul Cluver via the new Rietvlei Roller and then on to the Witklippies contour trail, which culminates at the Amphitheatre with Water Point 2 (35km). From here the fun intensifies as the feature-laden rollercoasters of Raka, Swing, Ark, Cobra, Mamba, Boomslang, Pofadder, Jakkels and Pine Singles send your heart rate into overdrive. The infamous Red Climb towards Lebanon village has been replaced by the new Trunk Trail singletrack along with the new flowing Huppeland will take you to Water Point 3 at Thandi next to the Hickory Shack Restaurant. The Thandi switchbacks which appear just after Water Point 3 at the 52km mark are the proverbial last sting in the tail before the thrilling, purpose-built KROMCO-PERI Play Park – redesigned this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary. From there it’s a 10km dash to the finish.
Stage icons: Singletracks and Paul Cluver Amphitheatre. Mind-blowing trails of Waterfall, Vissie’s favourite, JK’s Edge, Sounds of Silence, Rietvlei, Witklippies 1 & 2, Raka, Swing, Ark, Cobra, Mamba, Boomslang, Pofadder and Jakkels. KROMCO-PERI Play Park.
Land Rover Technical Terrain: The Pofadder Singletrack is without a doubt the most iconic of all the Elgin Valley’s serpentine inspired trails. Though it has matured into a more sculpted and flowing singletrack it is still more than worthy of the title of Land Rover Technical Terrain.
Hendrico’s stage advice: Ride as many singletracks as you can in preparation. Singletrack requires more concentration and work than open roads so work on your skills!
Terrain: Good quality gravel roads. Manicured berms, purpose-built singletrack. Nothing overly technical.