STAGE 1 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
STAGE 2 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
We start off with a short roll back down the valley before taking a right turn and straight into a challenging and rocky jeep track climb that is vintage Klein Karoo. A short and technical descent takes you into the next valley where another stretch of fun jeep track leads you out of Chandelier and into some private land. A short tar crossing connects onto another enjoyable jeep track section as we continue down the valley in the direction of Gamkaberg, providing an imposing backdrop and some painful, yet very proud, memories for all riders of previous TransCape editions that crossed this formidable beast. Exiting the valley and jeep tracks section, it is now onto what is arguably one of the Klein Karoo’s most scenic back roads as it twists and turns its way along the foothills of the splendid Gamka and Rooiberg mountains. There are a couple of biting climbs early on before the road eases off into what is essentially a long and fast drop all the way down into the Gouritz River valley. Temperatures will no doubt be heating up by now, so take some time at the river crossing to freshen up in the cool clean water as there is some work to be done on the way out. The road surface is good though, so the climbing, although significant, is still flowing and as always, the scenery is fantastic. We join the main Rooiberg Pass road a couple km’s from the lodge where a last short climb takes you to an exhilarating descent right into the reserve entrance. Then it is just a short dash up the valley to the finish line at Rooiberg Lodge where warm hospitality, great food and a cool swimming pool awaits!
STAGE 3 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
The scenic reserve road heading out from Rooiberg Lodge winds through the reserve and is sure to get you in the mood for another great day on the bike! We take a right turn out of the reserve and start to work our way southward through some more great rolling back roads. We cross a river, followed by an enjoyable private farm section which links us back up to the main Van Wyksdorp road. A quick gravel dash later and you find yourself at the entrance of the by now legendary Kanga section. The next 35km is some truly honest mountain biking through private game farms teaming with wildlife and spectacular scenery. This is certainly one of my favorite TransCape sections. Just you, your bike and some truly unique wilderness …and the KangaKrusher. Get up this short sharp double stinging little beast without pushing and you will finally be able to justify why you absolutely had to pay that much for your bike. We exit the Kanga at the foot of Garcia Pass where one last obstacle stands between you and the finish line. You hit the tar for a short run to the last off-road section up a stretch of the old gravel pass before rejoining the tar. Now it is ‘sit back and enjoy the ride home’ time. The tar winds gently upwards through some of the most pristine fynbos environment you will ever see. Then grip your handles and enjoy the flight down Garcia pass. You never knew you loved tar this much! Then give it all you got on the fast flat run into Riversdale where a hero’s welcome from all the kids at Langenhoven School awaits.
STAGE 4 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
We head north out of Riversdale and take a left on another of the Cape’s truly beautiful back country roads. The first half of the stage is generally easy going with only two tame hills and plenty exhilarating descents. The scenery is superb with ever changing mountain views, river crossings and peaceful farm settings with the odd early morning bovine ‘traffic jam’. The big climb of the day hits you around the halfway mark. Graveyard climb is a long drag that gets steeper towards the top, but once up and over, the rewards are immediate. The spectacular Grootvadersbosch Conservancy and Wilderness area is a great place to be on a bike! The fast-flowing single track back down into the valley is awesome and ends at the lovely Moody farm where WP2, with its legendary spread of boerewors and karoo lamb …if there are any leftovers from the spitbraai …will be ready and waiting. Once re-fueled it is time to tuck down and get your roadie on for a fast gravel grind followed by a 12km fast flat tar stretch either side of the characterful little town of Zuurbraak. We leave the tar and turn back towards the mountains, up a short sharp climb and through some more beautiful private land. From here it is a quick dash down to the dam wall and a short stretch along the river to the crossing point. Once out the other side you are basically into the homestretch. Bomb it along the flowing forest road and through the short, fun single-track section, but don’t forget about the stinging little hill just outside town… At least you will be hearing the music and smelling the boerewors by now, so just smash this climb and then enjoy the straight downhill run into the finish line at the beautiful Gaikou Lodge. ‘Milk & Honey’ is sure to deliver another memorable day of MTB’ing!
STAGE 5 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
A long neutral zone straight down the main road of Swellendam takes us westwards out of town and over the river. With the majestic Langeberg for a backdrop, the first 30km of open rolling farm road through orchards, wheat and canola fields is spectacular in the early morning mist. Once we cross the Breerivier we start heading south towards the Riviersonderend mountains. Here the terrain changes as we head into a most enjoyable private farm and jeep track section, crossing through the lower foothills. Once up and over the other side, some spectacular views of the Overberg open up before you. Take a minute to savor the view before heading down the fast drop towards the ‘river that never ends’. Here a fun and fast rolling back road wedged between the ever rising mountain on your right and the river to your left takes you all the way to the crossing just outside the town of Riviersonderend. Some portage is required here, but nothing too hectic as the river is quite low this time of year. Once safely across, it is a quick and characterful run through the outskirts of town to the next water point. The mountains continue to frame the rest of your journey as you keep hugging the foothills, rolling along more glorious jeep track though orchards, fields and fynbos. This enjoyable section exits onto the main Greyton road approximately 15 Km from the finish line. From here it is a fast and furious, or very leisurely… gravel dash to the stunning ‘The Oaks’ finish venue where cool green lawns under majestic oak trees, and plenty more ice-cold Darling Brew, awaits.
STAGE 6 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
We continue our journey from The Oaks with a pleasant meander along the banks of the ‘Neverending River’. Around the 10km mark we take a left turn and start some work as we head south. It is a long gentle climb to the top of the ridge and then along quant farm roads weaving their way between vast rolling wheat fields with endless views across the many hidden valleys and majestic mountains that frame this unique landscape. The feature ‘UFO’ climb starts around the 25km mark and peaks at the high point of the stage just over 30km’s. It takes some effort to get to the top and it is quite long and pretty rugged with the odd hidden climb, but the rewards are great with stunning views all round, so pause a moment and take it all in. When you finally descend it is smooth and fast and fun! At the bottom you hook into the railway line section which is fast rolling with a gentle gradient, either slightly uphill or slightly downhill. Enjoy the drop into Botriver before the last climb of the day. Crossing the river on the outskirts of town marks the low point of the stage. You are now basically in the homestretch, but it is uphill all the way! Your stunning surrounds make the climbing easy and fun as you work your way up the historic old Houwhoek Pass, wedged between imposing mountains on all sides. It is a slow but beautiful home stretch and the welcoming Houw Hoek Hotel offers a fine finish venue for what is a great penultimate stage.
STAGE 7 ROUTE DESCRIPTION
Today is a special day of mountain biking as we head up and into the renowned Elgin Valley with its world-famous trails network. The first half of the stage is virtually all single track as we bob and weave our way up this magnificent valley, making full use of these legendary trails. These are all purpose-built trails that host some of the greatest mountain biking in the world, so don’t rush, take your time and really enjoy this memorable slice of mountain biking heaven. We exit the valley at the top end via the beautiful Old Viljoenspass, a gently ascending climb with huge eucalyptus lined sides and stunning views back down the valley. At the top we pop out onto the main tar road for a fast descent into the valley beyond. From here a quick weave though some orchards and vineyards lead you to the next feature section of the day, the magnificent Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve. The beautiful reserve jeep track has several small river crossings and some rocky sections but is generally fast flowing with stunning mountain views and, if you are lucky, even eland and kwagga sightings. We exit the reserve at the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, where WP3 sets you up for the last challenge of TransCape2019. This grand old pass is long and winding, but it’s all tar and it’s all beautiful … and we will be waiting for you with something special at the top. Take some pictures and savor the moment, you have completed the journey and it is now time to sit back like a champion and freewheel your way down into Franchhoek and the finish line at the beautiful La Couronne wine estate where family, friends and great wine awaits!