Save the date! 16 – 22 October 2016, Western Cape, South Africa, #Racewithsoul.
From the arid desertscapes of the Groot Karoo to the great mountains of the Klein Karoo and the aboriginal forests of the Garden Route, the Cape Pioneer has it all, a truly African mountain biking experience. The magic lies in the unique combination of exciting, diverse trails, passionate people and authentic human connection.
This year there will be 2 teams from the Netherlands who will compete for the top spots. For Stappenbelt Specialized MTB Team Jeroen Boelen and Erik Groen will make their first appearance. Which doesn’t mean they don’t have any experience in stage races. Jeroen already took place in the Cape Epic and finished at a 7th (2011) and 12th spot in the GC . He also took the win at the Crocodile Trophy in 2011, a stage ride down under, where he also took 5 victory stages already. Erik has riden multiple stage races in Cyprus and was the U23 National Marathon Champion 2013 in the Netherlands.
Gerben Mos and Bram Rood are also competing in this race. After last years 3rd spot they are aiming for the podium again. The riders from KMC-Fruit to Go Mountainbiketeam are in a good shape and are keen to match ( or even do better) their results from last year.
7 days, 496 km and a total ascent of 9620 mtrs. That’s the Cape Pioneer Trek 2016. The prologue will be on the 16th of October in the beautiful Mossel Bay.
“The prologue route is the most spectacular in years and similar to that of 2015 – the start at Milkwood primary school is followed by a knee-jerking climb to the St Blaise lighthouse and then the single track starts, all along the edge of the drop-off towards the sea, truly exhilarating.
The boardwalks and beachfronts of the Point and Mossel Bay harbour will be on the menu as well as a crossing of Santos beach, the place where Bartholomew Dias set foot in 1488, then named Bay of Saint Blaise. The distance is 13 km with just over 300 meters of total vertical ascent – just note that nearly all the ascent happens in the first 4 kilometres
Cape Pioneer Trek 2016 route summary:
* Sunday 16 October, Prologue
Mossel Bay Beachfront: 13km, 320 metres ascent
Start and Finish: Mossel Bay Beachfront
Day 1’s route will be incredibly scenic with some stunning singletrack above the Indian Ocean coastline as well as the passing of some local historic and cultural landmarks and memorials.
* Monday 17 October, Stage 1
Mossel Bay–Mossel Bay: 94km, 1 650 metres ascent
Start: Milkwood Primary School, Mossel Bay. Finish: Milkwood primary School, Mossel Bay
Day 2 will showcase the Mossel Bay area, especially the new singletrack sections through Gondwana Private Game Reserve, where Africa’s Big Five roam free. Don’t underestimate this stage, it’s still tough but very rewarding. The night is spent on the water’s edge before the journey continues.
* Tuesday 18 October, Stage 2
Mossel Bay–George: 99km, 2 200 metres ascent
Start: Milkwood Primary School, Mossel Bay. Finish: Van Kervel High School, George
Day 3 is likely to be the toughest of the race with over 2 000m of climbing in just under 100km. This day will include a beach riding section, more game reserve sections and indigenous forests, finishing with some fast singletrack.
* Wednesday 19 October, Stage 3
George–George: 56km, 1 150 metres ascent
Start: Van Kervel High School, George. Finish: Van Kervel High School, George
Day 4 is the shortest stage but will include 90% singletrack. The race often visits George but never has it truly made the most of the amazing, established forest singletrack in the capital of the Garden Route region.
* Thursday 20 October, Stage 4
George–Oudtshoorn: 93km, 1 700 metres ascent
Start: Van Kervel High School, George. Finish: Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn
Day 5 is a return to the 2009 route between George and Oudtshoorn, which includes the historic Montagu Pass and the new singletrack sections at Herold Wines. The views are spectacular and the descents near the end are thrilling.
* Friday 21 October, Stage 5
Oudtshoorn–Oudtshoorn: 84km, 1 400 metres ascent
Start: Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn. Finish: Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn
Day 6 takes riders towards the Kamanassie mountains, but for the first time years, the race won’t venture into the wilderness reserve, but will instead circle the Kamanassie Dam and pass through another private game reserve.
* Saturday 22 October, Stage 6
Oudtshoorn–Oudtshoorn: 57km, 1 200 metres ascent
Start: Chandelier Game Reserve, Oudtshoorn. Finish: Queens Hotel, Oudtshoorn
Day 7 sees the start at Chandelier Game Reserve, home to the Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge. This shorter stage includes many jeep track climbs and singletrack descents, with a fast and furious dash to the finish at the Queens Hotel in the town.
All other information about the route and many more can be found on the website of Cape Pioneer Trek.