The FNB Wines2Whales is a celebration of mountain biking and those who are fortunate enough to call themselves mountain bikers.
Essentially, the three events in the FNB W2W are the same. They share the same route; the teams across the three events are treated to world class hospitality throughout; the sponsors all host incredible activations and give away amazing prizes, and Serious GEES is evident from sunup to sun set. At the Chardonnay we host the most decorated women racers and dedicated amateurs, in the Shiraz we see the best male mountain bikers, the most formidable mixed teams, the very best of the teams that qualify to race in the Exxaro race and even more dedicated amateurs. And for those who prioritise Gees over Serious, as well as those who prefer to tackle trails on ebikes, there’s the Pinotage.
As part of the Epic Series, the FNB Wines2Whales is a race that’s raced in teams of two and with riders and teams hailing from every corner of South Africa, and a sprinkle from further abroad, you’re bound to bump into a person of interest or two as you mingle in the race village.
We found ourselves sitting next to the legend, Elvis Blue (yes, the Idols winner!!) in the FNB Rider Recharge Lounge after Play Day. So naturally we took the chance to chat to him about all things FNB Wines2Whales.
FNB W2W: “Elvis, hi hello howsit! How many FNB W2Ws have you done?”
Elvis Blue: “Howsit! Jeez it is good to be here! I’ve done two FNB W2Ws. The first was 2018 (I think) the one with the fires and the evacuations and all that madness. But yoh, this year’s event has been great!”
FNB W2W: “What attracted you to the FNB W2W?”
EB: “I love this area! I live in George, which is great for riding, but this place is just magic for mountain biking. In fact, it was my mates in George that got me into mountain biking initially and the first race I had to do was the FNB Wines2Whales. It was a good choice as this brand and this event is just awesome for what it does for us MTBers and the community.”
FNB W2W: “What’s your favourite stage?
EB: “It must be play day. I love these singletracks. The effort that all these landowners put into their trails is spectacular and it is a privilege to ride them. I love the new Play Park on Paul Cluver, it’s such an awesome feature, well done!”
FNB W2W: “So, there’s a saying: you’re either a mountain biker who has crashed or a mountain biker who is yet to crash. Which are you?”
EB: “I crashed today actually! You know if you go too fast for your own abilities, things tend to end badly… luckily, I am all good and ready to rumble again tomorrow.”
FNB W2W: “Would you recommend the FNB W2W?”
EB: “The FNB W2W was my first ever stage race. It’s got the perfect balance; my buddies in A batch can send it and have fun racing while I just enjoy the trails. It’s also great for beginners as the trails are just awesome and the whole vibe is unmatched. We can’t forget the cold beers at the end of the stage. One day I’d to do it with my wife but she doesn’t cycle…"
*At this point we suggested a tandem, which was met with hysterical laughter.*
FNB W2W: “Finally, what does Serious GEES mean to you?”
w “Serious GEES… that’s the ultimate South African line hey. As Saffas we have a lot of chutzpah, a lot of gees, a lot of lekkerness. Basically, Serious Gees is what it means to be South African as we can always see the glass half full, even if it’s almost empty!”
Thanks for being a great sport, Elvis!
Be sure to treat your ears to some of Elvis’ music by following him on Instagram liking his Facebook page, and subscribing to his YouTube channel now!
Entries to the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback, open on 14 February!