A number of changes to the route for next year’s TransCape mountain bike event will increase its value as the organisers bid to provide a premium experience in one of South Africa’s top multistage races.
The third edition from the Southern Cape town of Knysna to Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands will take place from February 5 to 11.
Route director Wayne Collett has been hard at work in recent weeks to tweak the route, trying to ensure a better balance for the riders, while not losing the challenging aspect of the race.
“The idea is to make sure the race retains its premium status and that attractions such as accommodation, food and evening functions can be fully enjoyed by a wider pool of riders,” he explained.
The result, said Collett, was to make sure the riders still faced a challenge without completely sapping their energy in the first three to four stages.
“That makes them unable to enjoy all the great ‘off the bike’ aspects of the TransCape so it is all about the balance of the different stages.”
Collett said the first four days in the past all had spectacular scenery, but that came with providing the sort of challenge which upset the balance of the event for too many of the participants.
He said the conundrum faced by all route designers was that there was a direct correlation between “increasing beauty and decreasing enjoyment”.
“So no matter how beautiful a section is, if you are completely stuffed, you will not enjoy it.”
The first stage has been altered from 102km and 2 600m of vertical ascent to a more manageable 80km ride from Knysna to Wilderness with an elevation of 1 700m.
The second day is still the queen stage and will test the riders at 135km, but the climbing has been reduced from 2 400m to 2 000m. It’s also now sandwiched in-between two 80km stages.
Collett said that despite the changes, with the overall distance being reduced from 675km to 650km, competitors should not mistake “shorter” and “easier” for being “easy”.
“Stage two is an example of the endurance challenge they will face, although the balance of the stages now affords more recovery opportunity.”
He said the changes would improve the experience of a race which was recently acquired by ASG Events.
“Generally riders will be finishing more days earlier than in the past and will have more time to enjoy their accommodation, as well as the catering and entertainment on offer.
“We also believe the more balanced stages will benefit them as they will generally be fresher and more able to appreciate the truly stunning landscapes.”
Entries close on November 23.
Visit www.transcapemtb.co.za for more information.
Stage by stage:
Stage 1 – Knysna to Wilderness (80km)
Stage 2 – George to Van Wyksdorp (135km)
Stage 3 – Van Wyksdorp to Riversdal (81km)
Stage 4 – Riversdal to Swellendam (103km)
Stage 5 – Swellendam to Greyton (112km)
Stage 6 – Greyton to Villiersdorp (68km)
Stage 7 – Villiersdorp to Franschhoek (78km)