The TransCape MTB race organisers will pioneer a fresh single-track challenge by introducing the riders to the Greyton Black section in the multi-stage race beginning on Sunday.
Positioned on the penultimate stage on the stretch between Greyton and Genadendal, route director Wayne Collett said the TransCape would be the first to use “this spectacular new section”, which extended the famous route network in the region.
“It is destined to become one of the most unique and spectacular single-track sections in the country,” said Collett as he assessed the stages for the seven-day, 650km journey from Knysna to Franschhoek.
He warned riders to ensure their technical skills were up to scratch as the 5km segment would test them to the full.
“It is by far the most technical section,” he said. “I don’t want to make anyone nervous, but if you think the TransCape is about wide open spaces, think again.
“This one is up in the hills and you need to know what you are doing, although it’s not that long – only about 5km.”
While Collett and his team have introduced a number of changes designed to improve the experience for the riders, he said the Greyton Black single-track was the most significant addition.
“People will spend a lot more time on that section now. What used to take you five minutes now requires about 45 minutes.”
Besides the Greyton Black, Collett said there would be plenty to capture the riders’ attention during the seven days through one of the country’s most celebrated mountain biking regions.
Naturally, he added, the queen stage would come as an early examination, confronting the riders on the second day.
“Firstly, it’s the distance of 135km and secondly it is the stage with the most climbing.
“There is over 2 000m of ascent, including one of the bigger climbs on the TransCape in the Montagu Pass, which comes at the beginning.”
Collett said a third factor which came into play was the heat and he warned riders to ensure they were always properly hydrated.
“As the queen stage is the longest in the TransCape, the heat does come into play because most of the riders will be out in the sun for a longer period.
“So it’s all those factors together which conspire to make it the toughest day in the race.”
He added that riders should be prepared throughout the event to handle the heat, which could rise above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas.
“They will definitely get to those levels in some places and you have to make sure you have enough sustenance to get you through each day.”
Collett said he did not think the wind would play that big a factor in a mountain biking event, although he added things could get tricky on the feature climb of the race at Groenlandberg.
This comes on the seventh and final stage and provides the riders with the biggest ascent of the TransCape, which is presented by ASG Events.
“Coming on the last day, Groenlandberg always has a say in what happens and because you are very high it can have a climate of its own up there.
“So you can have a strong wind at the top and that can often make the descent slightly problematic.”
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)
For more info, visit www.transcapemtb.co.za