Grape Escape 3-day MTB stage race

Entries for new 3-day MTB stage race open tomorrow

Entries for the Grape Escape, the new 3-day MTB stage race taking place from 4 -6 March 2011, open tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12h00 midday.

Entries have been limited to 750 riders and the cost ranges from R1,400 – R1,500 per rider. “It is not a full service stage race, and that has allowed us to keep costs down. The entry fee does however include a quality souvenir garment, excellent support zones and some meals,” explained David Bellairs, CEO of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, organisers of the event.

The route was designed by MTB trail guru, Meurant Botha: “Our aim was to create a flowing, achievable route that would incorporate the best features that the diverse terrain options present.”

Route descriptions

Stage 1: Eden on the Bay to Nelson Wine Estate (approximately 85km)

– Although the longest day of the tour, this fast and flowing stage incorporates many open dirt roads and even some tarmac stretches, making this the least technical, and by all indications, the fastest.

– Starting with a 2.5km neutral zone out of Big Bay, riders head into the bush very quickly until they reach the crossing of the N7 where the pastures and farmland begin.

– Then they’ll ride into the Contermanskloof area for sharp ascending and the first flowing single track sections of the day.

– The route heads towards Klipheuwel next . This section will be fast and flowing until riders head into the farms again for undulating riding to the finish at Nelson Wine Estate.

Stage 2: Nelson Wine Estate to Boschendal Wine Estate (approximately 76km)

– After initially heading north from the start, riders cross the Berg River and head towards the trail mecca that is Welvanpas.

– Things then get more serious with some tough climbing as riders skirt the towns of Wellington and Paarl via a selection of tracks and trails on the Klein Drakenstein mountain range.

– Next riders will cross the Berg River, the regions’ largest river, for a second time.

– At the finish riders can expect around 2,500 spectators to welcome them as they reach the Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge carnival at Boschendal. By the time the stage race riders arrive, most of the 13km and 25km fun rides should be finished.

Stage 3: Boschendal Wine Estate (67km)

– This might be the shortest stage, but do not underestimate it in terms of effort.

– Seasoned riders will know that Boschendal provides some of the most technical MTB offerings. Adding just over 10km to the Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge’s 52km will ensure a seriously tough day.

– New farms will be opened up and some of the traditional sections will be excluded to ensure a more flowing loop system.

For more info and to enter online, visit from 12h00 midday tomorrow.