I’ve been involved in the MTB route design of many events and at many venues, e.g. W2W, Houwhoek, Winelands, Waterberg, Cape Country, Transcape, Greyton, Paul Cluver, Cradle of Mankind, De Hoop and others. My objective has always been to create the best MTB experience in terms of scenic, interesting, flowing and not too hard trails. Cape Trails and I love building such trails, mostly on contours to cut out unnecessary boring climbs, sometimes requiring major bridges over high cliffs.
BrewerytoBrewery, from Old Potters brewery in Greyton to Hemel-en-Aarde brewery in Hermanus, got me excited as it offers sufficient mountains, many valleys, hills and rivers, all the way down to the Atlantic Ocean. The area, typography and existing Hemel-en-Aarde trails were almost begging for a daddy long leg route and a MTB experience that’s aligned to our objective and signature. Quite exciting; with multiple route options, unexplored territory, existing MTB Trails, all combined into a magic 85km route, from the Greyton mountains down along Hemel-en-Aarde to the coast.
It’s a well-known MTB saying that; The Route is King. It also true that the longer the route, the bigger the King; the longer route’s proportionally impact of the success and popularity of the event. The route has to match the B2B rider profile; a relax blend of open gravel roads and easier single tracks, matching an average rider fitness and skill level. Not forgetting a slight party animal that can enjoy a few October Beer Fest craft beers, the day before and race the following day!
The B2B scouting (on Google Earth, bakkie and bike) started May 2019. First step was to analyse all the big road (N2 and R316) crossing options (e.g. vehicle-, cattle- and storm water culverts and bridges). Next step, a route that preferably stays clear of Caledon town and surroundings. After steps 1 and 2 were sorted, the final step was to find the best options, related to; elevations, distance, technicality and scenic and interesting combinations. The last was to discuss and agree on route options with landowners, mostly farmers. The farmers were very helpful, thanks so much to all of them.
The Route 2019
1-21 km, starting at Old Potters Brewery in Greyton up to the old, unused and wonderful Krige Station (which might be Water point 1). Mostly on the Greyton-Krige gravel road, with 180m climbing, including 3 x gradual climbs. At 18km you cross under the N2 via a farm culvert, followed by 1km on Sandfontein’s farm road, with an added 1km on the Krige tar road to the Station.
21km – 41km, from Krige Station to Alpha and Skilpadsgat Farms. An amazing almost 20km mostly downhill, first half on long gradual downhill gravel roads (including a steeper 1km downhill into Alpha Plaas). The latter part along the Steenboks river and to eliminate unnecessary Ruens hills and climbs, 4 x new, easy and scenic single track sections (Alpha, Steenboks, Skilpadsgat and Ramkraal) to eliminate these hills and climbs.
41 – 51km; from Skilpadsgat Farm to the top of Shaw’s Pass. 1km open gravel road on the farm, followed by 3km on the Teslaarsdal and 4km on the Morning View public gravel roads, including 3 x gradual climbs. Second most climbing (250m) on the route.
51 – 55km; from the top to the bottom of Shaw’s Pass (fast tar road downhill) and WP 2, the Onion Store at 55km, 190m descend in 4km;
55 – 66km; Tolbos- up to Domain farm, possibly the hardest section of the route (not hectic hard), mostly a 260m climb on a combination of gravel roads and single tracks;
66 – 85km, from down to the Hemel-en-Aarde Brewery, mostly downhill (410m descend) and via WP3 at Sumaridge Winery on 75km; You get rewarded for your hard work climbing during the previous section. It’s mostly downhill towards the Atlantic ocean. The last 10km is the famous Onrust River single tracks, used during W2W and the Houwhoek Tour. A nice cool craft Hemel-en-aarde Beer and burger combo to congratulate you with finishing 85km of great mountain/ trial/ ebike biking.
Supporters can drive on the Greyton-Krige gravel road for 18km (same route as cyclists). When the cyclists turn off left at Driefontein farm to cross the N2 under a cattle culvert, keep straight on. Cross the N2 turn right and left 1km further, at the Krige turnoff. On the Krige road follow the arrows to the Station (WP 1). Turn back on the Krige road, left at the first turnoff and at the railway crossing left (You’ll see the cyclists again) and can follow them until they go under the Steenboks river bridge (the bridge is on the R316). Get onto the R316, turn right to Caledon, in Caledon take the left Hermanus turnoff. At the bottom of Shaw’s Pass (which the cyclists also use) turn right at the Onion Shed, which is WP 2. Drive towards Hermanus and your next turn off is Sumaridge which is WP 3. Your last stop before the finish can be the Plaaskombuis, about 6km from the finish.