The majestic Hemel & Aarde Valley is calling! Around 1000 adventure-seekers are heading to Hermanus for the final Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape event this weekend.
As the popular marathon series draws to a close, riders will have the chance to experience nothing less than mountain biking paradise with spacious vineyard views, sheer coastal cliffs, and breath-taking sights of the ocean.
The Hemel & Aarde Valley lies nestled between two imposing mountain ranges and is aptly described as the place where “heaven meets earth.” The Sumaridge Wine Estate will once again sweep spectators away with its magical atmosphere and prestigious selection of wines.
The renowned trail network will present a technical (but highly rewarding) challenge to riders in all categories, whether the 70km marathon, 40km half marathon, or 20km and 10km fun ride. It also contains waterfalls, sections that cross the overflow of Bosdam, and an exciting final climb back to the venue.
The full marathon starts with a gradual climb to the glorious Creation Wines summit. It then undulates to Rotary Drive, which has often been described as one of the “best kept secrets” in Hermanus. The spectacular panoramic view of Walker Bay and the surrounding Overberg Coastal Region will be well worth every bit of sweat it takes to get to the top.
Tristan de Lange, winner of the 2016 event, said quite simply: “The route is absolutely stunning and the views are beyond astounding. It was one of the most enjoyable rides I’ve ever had.”
Good weather has been predicted for Saturday’s event, with little or no wind.Could it possibly get any better?
Actually, it can. Cyclists will celebrate more than just magnificent mountain trails and superb wine this weekend. It also happens to be the Hermanus Whale Festival, the oldest and largest festival on the Cape whale coastline.
The season finale promises to be nothing but action-packed. As far as likely title contenders go, Team BCX’s Waylon Woolcock will head up the podium challenge in the men’s marathon. Woolcock won Round 1 in Tulbagh and currently leads the 2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series.
“I like the tough stuff! So I’m really keen for a rough and technical route,” said an excited Woolcock.
The race for the Western Cape title is going to be heated. Woolcock will up against the likes of Matthew Beers (Red E/Cannondale), Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) and Marco Joubert (Momsen).
He had this to say about his competition: “To maintain my lead I’m either going to have to win this race or place really close to the rider in front of me. I think Gert Heyns will probably be my biggest competition, and it looks he’s going to be closest to me point-wise after he does his third race.”
He added, “Marco Jourbet is a consistent threat, so definitely going to look out for him. My teammate HB Kruger is in great form at the moment, but luckily he’s on my side! So we’re going to work together for a win.”
The race for the women’s title will be just as exciting. Experienced series leader Louise Ferreira will face fierce competition from Courteney Webb, a new-comer to the full marathon category. The season finale will make for an epic showdown between the two riders, who have raced neck-and-neck this year.
“Courteney is in great form and shows a lot of promise. I’m just going to take the day as it presents itself and focus on controlling the things that I can,” said Ferreira.
Webb owes her 2017 success to consistent riding in places that make her feel uncomfortable.
“I honestly thought it would just be a transition year for me, but I got stronger on the longer distances with every race I did. There’s a lot on the line this weekend. And I’m aware that the series title is likely to come down to the sole objective of beating Louise,” said Webb.
Tandie Kitching, who currently sits third in the series, has unfortunately suffered from an injury and will not be able to compete in the last Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape event.
Don’t miss out on the action! Child-minding facilities will be available for parents, so bring the family along. With the start of school holidays, this event makes for an exciting family-getaway.
Online entries are still available and can be done at www.trailseeker.co.za
Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series Hemel & Aarde schedule of events:
10:00 – 14:00 Tygerberg Cycles Concept Store
16:00 – 18:00 Euodia Cycles, Hermanus
06:00 Registration – Race Venue
07:15 Riders Briefing
07:30 Start Marathon
08:10 Start Half-Marathon
08:40 Start Fun Race
08:50 Start Fun Ride
12:00 Prize Giving
Source: Inside Line