198km | 3950m Climbing
In 2023 we’re switching things up as we race from the whales of Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate and on to the wines of Lourensford Wine Estate during the FNB W2W Switchback!
This is no simple route reversal, as those of you who raced in 2021 can attest to. JK, along with his trail wizards (the Cape Trails team) have sought out, mapped out, and carved out an incredible new route that showcases the very best trails on offer between Hermanus and Elgin, and Elgin and Somerset West. You can expect switchbacks galore, smile-inducing singletracks, several new bridges, brand new Toyota Cruise sections, and you can take a leisurely stroll down the Gantouw Pass while you feast your eyes on the famous False Bay.
2023 is set to be magic and we want you to be a part of the Serious GEES. Entries open on 14 February 2023!
Curro, Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate
Climbing: 1 500m
Stage 1 of the FNB Wines2Whales Switchback gets the racing from the whales towards the wines in style. Starting the day with a neutral zone, teams leave Curro Hermanus, dip under the R45 and head towards Rotary Way for the first demand of the day (at least it’s early!) Once the tar has been left behind, the trails head around the back of Hamilton Russel, dips between Die Plaaskombuis and Hamilton Russel and heads towards the famed La Vierge stairs instead of heading up The Gorge. The route passes De Bos Dam and it’s full steam ahead along the Karwyderskraal road; here’s where teams will encounter the first of the new trails that have been crafted by Cape Trails. Think fast, think fun, think Serious GEES. Karwyders trails lead teams towards Wildekrans, under the N2 culvert, built by Agrimark, and into Beaumont Family Wines and Botriver where even more new trails await. After skirting the town on Hoof Way, Kat Pas is the next order of business before dropping into Houw Hoek and riding alongside the Jakkalsrivier like salmon swimming upstream. The trails then lead away from the N2 and make a beeline towards Paul Cluver and Oak Valley where a flurry of trails, new and old, punctuate the final kilometres before wrapping up the first day on an all-time high.
Oak Valley Estate
Climbing: 1 250m
Play Day has never been so much fun! Stage 2 of the 2022 FNB Wines2Whales route measures 68 kilometres in length and includes 1 250 metres of climbing with every centimetre of elevation gain earning teams the right to descend, twisting through trails in fynbos, forests, and fields. In 2022 there are more bridges than ever, with the main feature being the bridge over the Rietvlei Dam, built by the Paul Cluver team with support from Cape Trails and Agrimark, stealing the show as one to remember and adorn many Instagram accounts. The day beings with a loop through the orchards to split the start batches for the Toyota Cruise, down Vissie’s Magic, before JK’s Edge, Sounds of Silence, Indensity lead to waterpoint 1 at Cow Trail. Once refuelled, the climbing recommences across Rietvlei to Witklippies 1 and 2 for the fun of swooping down Rietvlei Magic and across the 300 metre long Agrimark bridge. Pofadder and Jakkals link to the new Tierkop trails, where fast and flowing singletracks link the forestry roads. A traverse across the eastern reaches of the Paul Cluver estate then brings teams to the Amphitheatre were the Swing Bridge leads into the new additions, the Paul Cluver Rollers and the Paul Cluver Play Park, sponsored by Agrimark. The race to the finish starts the journey back to Oak Valley, featuring Snake Catcher, Harrier Hawk, and Homerun with a freshly built bridge, under the culvert, by Agrimark, and the Fairy Forest into the finish!
Oak Valley Estate to Lourensford Wine Estate
Climbing: 1 500m
Stage 3 of the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback begins with a farm road loop behind the Elgin Railway Market, into the surrounding farms and towards the Eikenhof Dam where singletracks galore await on the northern shores. Once circumnavigated, Grabouw Country Club’s famous A-Z trails lie in wait, not to mention a surprise or two from Cape Trails. Though these trails are major league fun, there’s work to be done as the sand grabs wheels and trial your gees levels. With the sandy trails left in your dust, a downhill portage of the Gantouw Pass is next on the cards. No matter your bike portage strategy, be it bike-on-back, side-by-side slide, or handful of brake shuffle, be sure to soak in the views of False Bay as you make your way down the World Heritage Site and one obstacle closer to your medal. Once safely down the portage trails of Idiom, Knorhoek and Wedderville will lead riders across the Helderberg Basin onto the extensive Vergelegen farm. From Vergelegen it is fun and games on a combination of virgin trails and new approaches to existing singletracks on Lourensford Wine Estate. And for those of you who were not stoked with the final climb of the 2021 FNB W2W Switchback… we’ve replaced it with a brand new contour that’s currently in the making.