I had the opportunity to race the FNB Wines 2 Whales three day mountain bike event over the past weekend partnered with Adi Enthoven. We enjoyed a spectacular event with a good finish on Sunday to win the veteran's category!
The three day FNB Wines 2 Whales event took place from Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West in the Cape and ended in Hermanus on the coastline.
This popular mountain bike event attracts many partcipants in their three race versions and we took part in the Race option.
We had hoped to have a fast and smooth run at the event with the aim of finishing high up in our age category and the overall race.
Nic White in RoadCover Cycling team gear (Left) with Adi Enhoven (Right).
We started off under sunny skies and the ambition for the day was to keep a steady pace to take a good run up the Ox - Wagon trail alongside Sir Lowry's Pass.
The race starts and heads straight up a 30 minutes climb and everyone is in the red zone. The weather turned nasty with wind & rain and by the time we lined up for the portage. We were in a good space in the field, but it is quite a hike on slippy rocks. We made good progress passing a few teams and onto the top in under 13minutes. The next trail is not so easy, so I battled to get rythym so we took a while to regroup.
The trails continue as a mix of rocks and sand until we reached the outskirts of Oak Valley, just in time so we did not blow up from our efforts. We had a good finish, top 15, but six munites off the leading veterans, Nico Pfitzenmaier and Paris Basson of Dormakaba.
The second day started off wet on the trail and chilly, but under a magnificent sky. It is dubbed play day as we spent most of the ride on carved single track through the vineyards and orchards. Bridges spanned the gorges and the racing was intense. We were not on top of our game and had to resist the need to hang onto those in front of us, instead ride a pace that would keep us just below the pain barrier. The previous day's effort had taken it's toll.
There are some really special moments along the trail on this day and we eventually ended up riding through the Paul Cluver warehouse and over the apple boxes! We turned on the gas in the final kilometers to stay clear of the charging ladies race. A few positions off the previous day's race finish as well as further off the leading veterans team, but solidfying our position in second.
The trails are a mixture of sand, mud, puddles, rocks and wooden bridges, and Adi leads in this image from Stillwater Sports.
The tented village in Oak Valley, what a setting as we wake to a fiery sky on day 2!
On the third day we were feeling a little better, but so were the leading ladies and we ended up in their pack. The race against overnight ladies leaders Stenerhag & Morath amd Neethling & Adrian was intense.
We were also chasing a good position and time so got embroiled in the attacks and regrouping of the ladies. Eventually making it clear to ride away, but only just!
The overnight leading veterans had a tough day, cutting a tire on the descent to Houw Hoek, they struggled to get it together well, eventually ending the day just short of retaining their lead.
We had a smooth run to the finish in Hermanus, enjoying the tracks of the Hermanus MTB trail, finished comfortably inside the top 20 once again.
We ended up taking the lead from Dormakaba by a mere 59sec!
The final Veteran's Podium, L-R Paris Basson & Nico Pfitzenmaier (2nd), Adi Enthoven & Nic White (1st), Nic Lamond & Andrew Cairns (3rd)