FNB W2W race report – Meandering through vineyards to Onrus

“I have never been in ‘the box’ for 3 days” says Jason in the car on the way home on Sunday, explaining how fatigued he felt during the FNB W2W race.  Its a tough route, especially when you not feeling 100%. We decided to keep training right up to the event, with the 2015  Cape Epic being the main focus, perhaps a little ambitious. In hind sight, some rest would have been good, especially with the heat on day 1.

We had agreed on a cautious start approach to the race,  with the goal of finishing each day nice and strong. We stuck to our plan on day 1, cresting the first big climb near the back of A batch. Slowly but surely we past some teams who had set off too fast, and suddenly found ourselves carving down the pristine Grabouw single tracks, all by ourselves, a real treat after the brutal portage over Gantouw pass.  “Alright, here we go”  I thought, our plan has come together.  Unfortunately, 10 km’s later we realised that that was not the case as we got a little tired. Quite a few teams passed us before the finish, putting us in 48th position.  Feeling a little sun struck, Jason and I decided it would be best to drink quite a few beers to replenish lost energy, which most certainly helped, until we woke up on Saturday morning.

Day 2, affectionately known as ‘Play Day’,  had us reeling from the start, but, looking on the bright side, watching most of A batch ride away was actually a blessing. We got the manicured single tracks through Oak Valley, Paul Cluver and Thandi mostly to ourselves. Suddenly, after kilometers of awesome trails, we found ourselves passing teams again, could our plan be working? No, we got tired, perhaps too much beer? Surely not..  We slowly made our way through the Kromco play park (which was awesome) and steadily made our way back to Oak Valley, having lost a couple positions on GC.  For me, Day 2 must be one of the best days of riding in any stage race in SA, a proper MTB route, where if you can ride single track you have an advantage.

I wont talk too much about the amount of wine we drank to drown our sorrow after the Boks loss to Ireland, but the slightly later day 3 B batch start was most welcomed. Last year I did not manage to finish day 3 due to a mechanical, so I was pleasantly surprised by all the new trails en route to Onrus. It was an incredible day of riding, slightly slower than we had hoped for, but we finished strong,  goal achieved.

The vibe at this years event was really good, and we were looked after by the Stillwater crew like rock stars. It was another great weekend away riding proper trails with mates.

Huge thanks to Cadence Nutrition for keeping me fueled over the 3 days.

Until next year, cheers