The mid-week FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event has been the most relaxed of the three races over the past few years with slightly fewer teams in the race village due to the even being mid-week . The addition of an e-bike race and tour to the Pinotage has increased the event’s popularity and it is no surprise because e-mountain bikes are the fastest-growing sales category in the South African cycling industry. It seems everyone wants to have more fun…
And eBikes are certainly fun! The feeling of "free" speed one gets as the motor puts power through the rear wheel is the closest you will get to the sensation of catching a wave, but on a bike. The more you put in the more you get out too, which is the why there are two separate events within the event for e-bikers; the race, for those with the need for speed, and the tour, for those riders who prefer soaking up the scenery instead of having it whizz by at a rate of knots.
In 2021 Max Sullivan and Jason Boulle powered through the Switchback route. Racing in turbo mode they burnt through batteries in under 40 kilometres every day. Like many of the eBike riders in the Pinotage event, they made use of the battery swap station at water point 2. Every morning they checked in their spare batteries and then rode as hard as they could, safe in the knowledge that their charge would only have to last just over half of the stage.
“It’s so much fun! It’s outrageous” enthused Boulle during last year’s event. “The whole time you’re thinking ‘what would this be like on a normal bike?’. But on an ebike you’re just flying. On the little inclines and on the flats, you’re just whacking it; it’s insane.”
That full throttle approach might not be for you. If that is the case the eTour is the better bet. While the eRacers start 30 minutes ahead of A-Batch, with the prospect of demotion if they get caught by the normally aspirated riders behind, the eTour riders set out an hour after the final start group, ensuring they have the trails to themselves.
The idea behind the eBike Tour is to take it slow and soak up the scenery. With the power of electric motor on tap, the climbs are easily conquered and without the pressure of wanting to race through the course, the batteries will easily last the 65 kilometre stage distances. Even the Gantouw Pass portage holds fewer concerns with the eBike. Simply engage walk mode and let it crawl up the portage while you keep it upright. (Or read the tour rules carefully for a little nugget of info that allows you to simply skip the pass - you're welcome).
Once on the Elgin plateau the singletracks of Oak Valley, Paul Cluver and the Houw Hoek Hotel are perfect for eBikes. As are the trails to Hermanus, like Wildekrans and the Hemel en Aarde singletracks. There can be no doubting that the ePinotage event, at FNB Wines2Whales, will once again be tremendous fun.
Entries to the 2022 FNB Wines2Whales close on 16 September, so charge up the batteries, pump up the tyres, and get ready for an electrifying experience on a fresh and exciting route from Lourensford Wine Estate to Oak Valley to Hermanus!
Tag(s): FNB Wines2Whales