Time flies when you are having fun, and there is no doubt the first decade of FNB Wines2Whales was an absolute blast. From blazing trails, riding up Sir Lowry’s Pass in the very first edition, to building singletracks throughout the Lourensford, Elgin and Hemel en Aarde valleys. FNB W2W changed South African mountain biking and set the bar for what riders expect from a stage race.
Gone, thanks to the FNB Rider Lounge, are the days of searching for any little bit of natural shade or baking under a tiny gazebo. Now WiFi, air conditioning, ice cold beers and crisp white wines are the order of the day. As is excellent and – let us not forget – ample food, to ensure riders leave a little heavier; so well nourished are they over the course of the three days.
The creature comforts have not dented the famous FNB W2W gees however. The spirit of adventure and camaraderie still reigns supreme. The only tears riders can expect to shed during the event are those of laughter. So without further ado here are a few of the reasons why you should ride the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales…
- 10 Years of Refinement
Improving year-on-year is no easy feat. Sometimes it takes creative out of the box thinking to ensure continued innovation and refinement. Fortunately with partners like FNB, DHL, Food Lovers, Exxaro, Land Rover and more the burden to advance is shared. Rest assured, 2019 will be the best W2W yet – even if Mother Nature throws us another curve ball (see more https://wines2whales.com/latest-news).
- The Adventure of Mountain Biking
Even if you have ridden all 10 previous editions of the race the fickle gods of mountain biking will always ensure a new adventure. Strange weather, a chance meeting on the trail with an entertaining character, your partner inadvertently making a complete fool of themselves… no two days on the bike are ever the same. Even if you are riding familiar trails, there is always a new adventure to be had.
- Familiar Trails – Facelifted
Johan Kriegler and the W2W route team, including the Cape Trails permanent trail builders, are already hard at work on the route. Refining, rerouting in places and building new singletracks it’s a year-round job to ensure riders experience familiarity improved at each W2W.
- MTB Reunion
Speaking of familiarity W2W has become, over the years, a sort of de facto reunion for riders of mountain bikes. Every year time flies by, plans to meet up for a ride are made and broken. But at W2W riders get the chance to see old friends, reminisce about the glory days, and make plans for rides in 2020… which inevitably end in meeting at W2W again.
- Choose your Adventure
Three events, three opportunities to ride W2W. It is as simple as that. The Chardonnay (25-27 October), Pinotage (28-30 October) and Shiraz (1-3 November) follow the same route and offer by-in large the same memorable FNB Wines2Whales experience. The differences lie at the sharp end of the race. Women, looking to take part in the elite or age group categories, should enter the Chardonnay. There they will enjoy the undivided attention of the FNB W2W media team and race for their share of a R547 000 prize purse. When split across the race days FNB Wines2Whales boasts the largest prize purse per day of racing in South Africa! The elite men and their age group compatriots should meanwhile race the Shiraz event.
What of the Pinotage you ask? It is the soul event. Three days of riding without external racing pressures, the competitive race for bragging rights alone and soaking up the FNB W2W gees is the order of the day.
With the 13th of February, when 2018 riders can enter, just around the corner; and the 14th, when general entries open, following hot on its heels it is definitely time to start reliving that FNB Wines2Whales gees. Short of heading out to Oak Valley to go ride the trails the best way to recapture the gees is to follow the build-up to entries opening on the FNB W2W social media channels:
Forewarned is forearmed… places are limited and entries sell out fast. Rediscover the FNB Wines2Whales gees in 2019.