The FNB Wines2Whales was born out of the desire to establish a world-class 3-day stage race in the Western Cape. Since its inception in 2009 it has become a must-do event on the mountain bike calendar, with riders from all of over South Africa and the world queuing for the chance to ride it.
Ahead of the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales events the organisers are working tirelessly to ensure every rider starts, rides and finishes with #SeriousGEES. Eleven years on from the inaugural FNB Wines2Whales many things in mountain biking have changed. One remains constant however, the sport’s iconic stage race’s commitment to continual route refinements. Every year has seen new singletracks added and old trails reworked and perfected. 2019 is no different.
Johan Kriegler and his Cape Trails team repaired and rebuilt bridges, cut virgin trails, sculpt exquisite berms, and seeked trails never ridden by any Wines2Whales rider before.
Another 2019 route feature is the admission of E-bikes in the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage, the mid-week event. E-bikes have proved to be a popular and growing trend, offering a wider scope of mountain bikers the opportunity to experience the FNB Wines2Whales route on an easier mode of transport. With the added power of an electric motor helping them along, the E-Bikers will be able to take in the route like never before.
The Varsity MTB race will also form part of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event this year and as a result boast three days of scintillating racing. By forming part of the mid-week event in the FNB Wines2Whales series of races, the students taking part will be treated to one of South Africa’s premier stage racing experiences. Anyone who has ridden a stage race knows, good food is essential. Riders will be able to start their day with a caffeine kick, thanks to the Woolworths coffee cart. The Woolworths luxuries will continue on the bike at the water points, where more fruit and a sweet treat or five awaits, as well as potatoes and perhaps a portion of banana bread.
To spread the good fortune which mountain bikers enjoy, FNB Wines2Whales have extended their charity programme to include 15 official beneficiaries in 2019. Among these official charities is the Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre. The centre has a proud 40 year history of helping adults with intellectual disabilities by providing them with nursing care and skills development.
Starting in the Winelands of Somerset West at Lourensford Estate, riders will cross through wineries, private farms, mountains, historic roads and mountain passes, nature conservation areas before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus!
Three events spread over 10 days – the Chardonnay, Pinotage and Shiraz – ensure there is something for all skillsets with the focus clearly stamped on celebrating the love of mountain biking and the culture that accompanies it. The FNB Wines2Whales is more about the journey and experience than the destination but, no matter your inclinations or ambitions, you’re guaranteed a fun-filled, action-packed three days of riding.