Lourensford Estate in Somerset West will play host to the start of the FNB Wine 2 Whales for the 11th consecutive year this October. During Stage 1, mountain bikers will be able to experience the scenic climbs, flowing paths and thrilling descents amongst the vineyards, forest, fynbos and fruit orchards of one of the world’s most beautiful wine estates as they navigate the gravel trails and pristine single tracks in the basin of the Helderberg Mountains.
The spectacular setting in Somerset West is as ideal for making world class wine as it is for mountain biking. Cellarmaster Hannes Nel, who has completed 3 W2Ws, does all of his riding on the estate, and uses his mountain bike as a crucial tool in his award winning wine making.
“I am fortunate to work and live on Lourensford,” says Hannes. “The best way for me to monitor the vineyards is by bicycle. I am able to cover much more ground than I can in a vehicle, and I can cycle in between the rows to inspect the development of the grapes. Cycling brings me closer to the vines, and connects me to the soil from where our grapes are harvested.”
Hannes’ top three tips for navigating the Lourensford trails are:
1. Pace yourself – Unless you are one of the super fit pro’s, do not be an eager beaver and start the first day too fast and overcook it on the first 20km of the race.
2. Stay well hydrated from the start.
3. Most importantly enjoy the stunning Lourensford surroundings and have fun – you are cycling on one of the most beautiful wine estates in the world.
Stage 1 of the FNB W2W marks the start of the journey to Onrus. Epic views aplenty, the Lourensford route has two new trails: Old Pine and JK’s Contour. Trails such as Schoeman’s, Witboom and Canarie have also been re-introduced. Riders can look forward to an enthralling but technical downhill from the summit of Grootnek, as well as great mixture of open roads and single track. Other highlights include spectacular indigenous forests, beautiful orchards and vineyards and unbeatable views over False Bay.
Lourensford General Manager Koos Jordaan says through the ongoing partnership with FNB W2W, the estate is able to give riders access to what he believes are some of the best and most scenic trails in the Western Cape and the exclusive opportunity to experience Lourensford‘s beauty and rich biodiversity by bike.
“Eleven years ago, the first W2W trails were built on Lourensford and over the years, we have been able to share our picturesque estate with thousands of mountain bikers,” says Jordaan.
Registered FNB W2W participants looking to get a Stage 1 preview and a sneak peek at the natural wonders of Lourensford are invited to a 25km Pre-ride on Sunday 13 October. The Pre-ride registration is from 7.30am – 8.30am at the Coffee Roastery Company and entry costs R120, which includes a bottle of River Garden Classique Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot.
It’s essential that FNB W2W participants pre-book at https://lourensford.co.za/event-directory/.