Tougher Test Presented by 2023 Tankwa Trek Route
The 2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, will feature more singletrack, challenging climbs and riotous riding. In total the four days of the UCI Class 1 stage race will take in 270 kilometres, along with 5 320 metres of climbing. These basic facts do not account for the difficulty presented by the terrain and the weather however.
Rocky outcrops jut from the Koue Bokkeveld landscape where verdant orchards abut sparsely vegetated mountain sides. Sandstone cliffs and shelves reflect the harsh African sun, intensifying the heat and providing natural arches to ride through as well as drop offs to race down. These and the existing trails are coupled with an ever-increasing network of singletracks on the farm around Kaleo, where the race village is situated. All told the combination ensures that the 2023 race will be the best yet, which is fitting for the tenth edition.
“The 2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, is set to be the most challenging in a number of years,” Henco Rademeyer, of Dryland Event Management confirmed. “But not unnecessarily tough. The classic challenges like the singletracks of the Witzenberg Valley and the Merino Monster climb remain, while we’ve added more trail to Stages 1 and 4 too. On paper the first and last days of the race might not seem that much harder, but the rugged terrain they take in will certainly add to the overall difficulty of the race.”
9 February 2023
Water Point: 17km
Though short in distance, the opening stage of the race will set the scene for what is to come with technical riding virtually from the off. Kaleo’s singletracks provide the proving ground for man, woman and machine; with rocky trails, off camber corners and sharp climbs punctuating the Stage 1 route. One waterpoint, located 17 kilometres into the 29.4 kilometre long course, is the only source of respite between the high paced sprint off the start line and the drag to the line on the lawns of Kaleo. Expect high temperatures, thanks to the February heat and the 15:00 start time.
10 February 2023
Climbing: 1 700m
Water Points: 27km (Tech Zone) | 48km | 67km (Tech Zone) | 76km
Stage 2 features an anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the Witzenberg Valley, complete with the Hanekom brothers’ famously technical singletracks, including the rock shelf drop and the infamous switchbacks. Getting there will require ascending the Old Wagon Trail and descending into the fertile valley from the Koue Bokkeveld plateau. The day’s major climb is located on the western wall of the Witzenberg and provides views over Tulbagh and out towards Table Mountain far to the south from the summit. The descent from the highest point of the day features a white-knuckle race through a spectacular stand stone arch before the trek back towards the eastern exit out of the valley. Before starting the final climb, the SIP Café spectator and waterpoint offers the opportunity to refuel for the ascent back to the Bokveld and the drag through the orchards to Kaleo.
Climbing: 2 200m
Water Points: 35km (Tech Zone) | 53km | 65km (Tech Zone) | 73km
The Merino Monster is the undoubted iconic feature of the Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. Rising over 1 000 metres from the Ceres Valley floor to the summit, at 1 800 metres above sea level it features an 8.8% average gradient for the final 8 kilometre stretch from Waterpoint 3 to Waterpoint 4. Getting to the foot of the climb requires significant work too however. Stage 3 begins with a race across the Bokveld to the top of the Old Gydo Pass. The dual track pass allows for a rapid drop into the Ceres Valley where a mix of rugged jeep tracks and flowing singletracks traverse towards the east, with the Monster ever looming to the left. When the climbing commences, from Water Point 3 it begins gradually at first before ramping up on an old trading route. From the farmstead at the foot of the Merino Monster 8 challenging kilometres await. Once riders have conquered the climb, they can choose to recover at the mountain top aid station and take a commemorative photo, or descend directly to Kaleo along a rough path that demands absolute focus. The final 10 kilometres are a high-speed race back to the finish where a hero’s welcome awaits.
Water Points: 24km (Tech Zone) | 41km
Stage 4 is not to be underestimated, despite its shorter distance and lower accumulated meters of elevation gain. It will be packed with singletrack, featuring nearly 45 kilometres in the 54.4 kilometre total distance. That means aside from the early dual tracks to spread the field virtually every metre will be contested in the trails. Snaking climbs, some through poplar groves and others on expose hillsides, lead to fast paced descents where staying agile and nimble will pay dividends. The day’s first waterpoint follows a particularly arduous stretch, while the second sets riders up for a roller-coaster ride all the way back to Kaleo. The final finish line will reward with medals, high fives and more before prize giving concludes four days of Koue Bokkeveld Bliss.
Entries to the 2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, opened in April. Various entry options, including for standard camping or luxury upgrades, are available for the race which takes place from the 9th to the 12th of February next year.
Old Mutual go2berg mountain bike South Africa 2023
joberg2c evolves to the Old Mutual go2berg from 9 days to 6.5 days across the heart of South Africa.
Old Mutual have put their name to go2berg, which means more for the riders and for the communities. The aim is to give everyone who ride, an unforgettable mountain biking experience of South Africa. Old Mutual will help achieve this aim.
With the backing of Old Mutual we the race now offers:
- Accommodation, dinner and breakfast at Champagne Sports Resort on your last night as part of your entry fee. This resort is set on the foothills of the Drakensberg (a world heritage site) and is a very special place to end your adventure and stay.
- Accommodation on day 2 in Clarens will be in hotel/BnB’s/guest houses as part of the entry fee.
- Your own tent – the entry field will be limited to ensure the best possible experience so move
- Early bird entry price pegged to further add value.
- Great rider giveaways
- Extra resources into the route
- Ensure our schools and communities get more financial support.
The after party at Champagne Sports Resort will be part of the experience
Quick overview of the Old Mutual go2berg 3 June to 9 June 2023
- 6 and a half days of mountain biking riding through the middle of South Africa. The half day is the prologue on the Saturday 3 June. All meals and tented accommodation included at Frankfort.
- Distance 540km: the final route will be released closer to the event after the final dry run, as more and more trails and special sections are found, they are added in.
- Towns: Prologue start Frankfort – Reitz – Clarens – Sterkfontein Dam – Emseni (Berg and Bush x 2 nights) and on to Champagne Sports Resort
- Provinces: Free State and Kwa-Zulu Natal
- A few words: Trails, rural farm roads, even more rural farm roads, private farms, rivers, valleys, views, mountains, laughs, stories, beer, boerewors, banter, more trails, champagne ending.
- For some it’s a race for most it’s a ride.
- E-bike friendly (email Lara@go2berg.co.za for more info)
Avalanche Celebrate 30th Birthday
In 1992 Avalanche Bicycles were launched into the South African market. 30 years on and the brand is still providing the machines which facilitate adventures, on two wheels, for thousands of cyclists. From toddlers stepping over their first balance bike to eBikers and everyone in between. To mark their 30th anniversary Avalanche Bicycles are launching a ‘Click and Collect’ order system; whereby riders can order the bike of their dreams off the updated website, then pick up and pay for the bike at the Avalanche dealer of their choosing.
“Avalanche Bicycles are virtually synonymous with cycling in South Africa” Andrew Cattell CEO Dragons Sports, the company behind the bikes, said. “Most local cyclists will have had an Avalanche at some point in their riding careers, probably as one of their first bikes. We are exceptionally proud of that!”
The Avalanche ethos has always been one of creating affordable, quality, bikes for any adventure. That will continue into the brand’s fourth decade, with an expanded range of offering to cover both road and offroad riding, including electric mountain bikes and electric cruisers, in addition to the kid’s mountain bikes and BMXs.
At the 2022 FNB Wines2Whales events Avalanche Bicycles once more proved their mettle. Sindile Mavundla, the bicycle major of Cape Town and founder of Khaltsha Cycles, led four teams through the Shiraz race. Mavundla piloted the Avalanche Reflex Pro through the singletracks from Lourensford to Onrus, while his teammate Zintle Mpahlwa and the Khaltsha Cycles Ladies, Yomelela Mfazwe and Iviwe Khalo, rode Avalanche Prima Pros.
"Having been part of the Avalanche Brand for five years now, I'm impressed by the commitment to continue providing South Africa with quality affordable bicycles” Mavundla smiled. “My experience aboard the Reflex Pro has been great, the bike handles very well and the shifting from the L-TWOO AX groupset is perfect. I have been especially impressed with the airfork, particularly when riding through some of the rocky areas which we encountered during W2W."
The Reflex Pro and Prima Pro mountain bikes, plus all remainder of the Avalanche range, are available via the brand’s new ‘Click and Collect’ platform on their website. Cyclists can visit www.avalanchebikes.co.za to browse the full range, then order the bike of their choosing and select which independent Avalanche dealer they would like to have the bicycle delivered to.
SA Trails Network paves the way to economic empowerment in the Western Cape
November 2022 marked the successful roll-out of Phase One by World Economic Forum’s award-winning SA Trails Network, in partnership with Imperial - a DP World Company - and Devonbosch Property Development Company (Pty) Ltd, to develop and continue to link a community based trail that will help connect surrounding communities. So far, over 640km of trails have been linked from Paarl to Franschhoek to Stellenbosch and are already being used regularly by pedestrian commuters, school-goers, runners, hiking parties, horse riders and cyclists.
“This initial phase has been instrumental in empowering and uplifting the surrounding communities through jobs and micro-enterprises created, while also providing safe access for commuters. Through the development of this safe off-road passage, SA Trails Network compliments government’s mobility policy that highlights the development of non-motorised transport networks while supporting their role in community upliftment. Through the support of SquareTurn Developments (a South African subsidiary of the Belgium based SquareGroup company) and the new Devonbosch Development in this region, we believe this initiative will also bring much-needed, safe adventure tourism revenue to the country over time,” explains Reghard Goussard, Founder of Trails SA Network NPC and part of the SquareTurn development team responsible for the development of Devonbosch.
Unequivocally pledging their support for this community-focused project, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism said in an online statement, “The proposed linkage of multi-use route networks across the Western Cape fits into the gaps and opportunities identified by the Tourism Blueprint 2030. The potential benefits of the project include not only economic growth and job creation, but also the upliftment of local communities and reinforcing the Western Cape as the ‘Adventure Capital of Africa’”.
According to Goussard, the first phase of this ground-breaking trail network is progressing well as they expand through Drakenstein and they have also received a lot of support from different municipalities in the region. City Manager, Dr Johan Leibrandt, conveyed his support of this initiative by stating,“The expansion of this trail through Drakenstein will enhance our product offering and we acknowledge the importance of this project to unlock further job opportunities”.
While the primary intention is to provide the communities’ families and children safe passage to and from Devonbosch as well as all surrounding areas; there are also plans to connect these trails to the already popular and well-established Bottelary Conservancy that offers cyclists access to trails on private working wine farms.