212.2km, 4114m climbing 9hr8min
Pictures: Cherie Vale
Andrew Hill writes:
The Wine2Whales in my view is the sani2c of the Western Cape; it offers everyone a bit of everything to satisfy there mountain biking bug as the year comes to an end. The event has 3 individual events running one after the other and really covers the full spectrum of mountain biker types out there, from the first timer stage racer to the seasoned pro.
The 2014 edition of the race was my second wine2whales event after I raced with Darren Lill for Cannondale Blend pro team in 2013 placing 2nd overall. My 2014 race was for me one of the best races out there even though it covered most of the previous years track. There were a couple of deviations from last year but most them added more single track to the mix, which is always a good thing.
At the end of year with the long season coming to an end it’s always interesting to see how the body handles the racing. Some can motivate their bodies to push into the hurt zone whilst others are winding down for a break off the bike before the base period starts again. I could feel my racing sharpness wasn’t where it was earlier in the year and I had moments of strong form and others of less wanted lethargy, but all in all being on the bike was the best place to be.
Stage 1 starts at the Lourensford wine estate and finishes in oak valley some 72km away. The is a small matter of a mountain in the way and a historic wagon trail portage that make this day more then you average day on a mountain bike. The “infamous” Gantouw pass is often where the race is won and lost as it’s a compulsory portage of 2.5km that can either make or break your day. The temperatures on our 1st day were warm and sunny when we went ran up the rocks but continued to rise to about 35deg as the day progressed towards the back markers of the race. My partner didn’t have the best of days out there and we conceded a fair amount of time on GC placing 7th overall and 1st subvet yellow jersey.
Day 2 started at Oak Valley race village and traversed the Paul Cluver trails over more than 50 bridges on a XC type route. The route suited our type of XC technical riding style and we really had some huge smiles on the bike racing through the purpose build MTB trails. We finished just outside the top 5 again but were only 2min off 3rd place podium finishes. We built up a bigger lead in the subvet category and held onto our leaders jerseys.
Day 3 was the final flash in the pan as we blitzed our way to Hermanus and Onrus campsite. We got into a strong position as the 3rd team on the trail and drove the pace of a big group of teams all the way to the finish line. We managed a solid sprint into the final straight to take the 4th place on the podium and 1st Subvet team again.
1st Meerendal-SONGO-Specialized Wheeler Konny Looser Christoph Sauser
2nd Kargo Pro Team Rourke Croeser Travis Walker
3rd Team EAI Cycling Johann Rabie Gawie Combrinck
4th Altech Autopage Pro Cycling Hanco – Kachelhoffer Chris Wolhuter
5th Team RSA Web/Dorma Nico Pfitzenmaier Renay Groustra
6th Paarl Media Elite Dominic Calitz Heiko Redecker
7th THULE TIB Tyronne White Andrew Hill
8th Team PSG Contego Jurgens Uys Louis Bresler Knipe
9th Beanstalk Online Investments Mark Moir Neil Bradford
10th RMB CHANGE A LIFE 1 Mboneni Ngcobo Sthembiso Masango