Some quick insights from master route-builder Con Viljoen:
The Ride2Nowhere is a very special opportunity to explore this remote region of the cape on a mountain bike, by getting access to routes and trails you wouldn’t on any other day. The riding is typically ‘Karoo’ – more rugged and technical than many of the other more groomed trails that see countless wheels per year. Therein lies the attraction:
Long route: 60km, 1350m climbing
The stage features open roads, rocky jeep track and some technical singletrack. Various sections were utilised for the 2018 Absa Cape Epic’s Stage 1 and feature in their ‘Land Rover Technical Terrain’ sections.
Con has a wicked sense of humour and it kind of comes through in Stage 1… for the first half of the stage most riders love to hate him! “This has always been the toughest stage in my mind,” he says. “It’s not the one with the most climbing or the longest but the terrain is quite tough – rocky and steep,” he says, before adding with a laugh: “Oh, and there are two long climbs, both of which come early on, before the halfway mark.”
According to Con it is a cruise home from there. “Once you reach the halfway mark, 80% percent of the climbing is behind you. From there, there are nice downhills towards the end to make sure that everyone crosses the finish line with big smiles,” he says. Con has hinted at the chance of ‘softening the edges’ of the stage ever so slightly, but don’t hold your breath.
68km, 1460m climbing
“This day is a little bit further, just shy of 70kms,” says Con. “It may seem like a lot of climbing, but it is spread out over the entire day with ups and downs throughout and no massive single climbs,” he says. According to Con it is also much smoother and more flowy than the tricky stage 1. “These are not your average groomed trails that sees millions of wheels, you kind of have to pick your line and stay awake, but we do fill in all the deepest dongas and move the biggest rocks to make sure there is a clean open line.”
“September is also flower time in McGregor so we’re hoping for a wet winter so that hopefully this year we’ll see the flowers again. That is simply spectacular,” he says.
48km, 990m climbing
“This is the pudding!” Claims Con proudly. “The day is a full play day, made up of loads of singletrack which is smooth and flowy. It’s the ideal way to finish things off.”
This is a brief overview of the long route. There is also a shorter route option on each day. If you are a mountain biker at heart, but not as fit as you would like to be, or not up for 60km per day, this is for you. It’s still ‘real’ mountain biking and the routes remain technical and tough, it’s just not that far.
As with the long routes, it’s designed on a clover leaf format with each day’s start & finish from the same venue in McGregor. The short route is also open to younger riders, with anyone over 16 allowed to enter.
Then, perhaps your significant other is a trail runner and you like to roll the wheels, then there is of course a fun trail run (6 or 12km) on the Saturday of the event for them.