Stage one of the Cape Duo Challenge will be a slightly distant road-racing memory as the teams line their mountain bikes up for day two’s thrilling off-road challenge in the rugged mountains behind Wellington.
On paper, it seems relatively tame; only 49km long, and while 1 200m ascent makes for a good day out, the route planners could have made it far grippier for the non-climbers. What they have managed to do is create a wonderfully varied route, that takes in some of Wellington’s most epic trails.
A treat of a start – 10km on open gravel roads – will let the legs warm up somewhat after the previous day’s double-Bainskloof excesses, before a sharp left turn gives a preview of what is to come; a steep 2km/100m opener up a loose, rocky forested grind that pops out onto a steep track to the day’s King of the Mountains spot.
Now, the real fun starts. Cherry-picked mostly from Wild Boar’s Porcupine Route, but interlinked with a host of secret trails that will only be ridden on Cape Duo day, expect to be wowed around each corner with a mix of bush tunnels, manicured and bermed descents, fynbos views for miles and rugged singletrack. There is no one single monster climb on the route, rather a collection of lung-busters, with descents that will rejuvenate, to a degree.
Riders can expect to finish broken, but grinning. The Bosman Family Vineyards will be waiting to pamper and preen, readying riders for day three’s off-road/on-road double-header.
Entries are now open for the Cape Duo Challenge, which takes place from 4-6 October, 2019 visit www.capeduo.com