Organisers of the TransCape mountain bike race have enlisted Cape Epic route designer Pieter van Wyk to ensure the 2018 route is a fun yet technical challenge.
The seven-day event, driven by Volvo Cars South Africa, will take riders on a picturesque 614km journey between Knysna and Franschhoek in the Western Cape from February 4 to 10.
“The aim is to encourage more professionals to take part and my objective is not only to satisfy their needs, but to ensure the majority of riders are catered for as well.”
According to Van Wyk, his plan would be to create easy-flowing tracks throughout that would be enjoyable rather than overly technical.
“I think it is important to maintain a balance between fun and difficulty,” he said. “It isn’t too hard to achieve this. Having been involved in a lot of trail rides, I know how to judge the general ability of people and I always view it from a personal perspective.
“If it’s too difficult for me, then I can’t expect the average person to ride it.”
Van Wyk, who has been in charge of the Cape Epic route for the past three years, said input from ASG Events chief executive Wynand de Villiers would influence many of the changes for the next edition.
“I will base my route alterations on feedback from Wynand, who rode in the event this year. He has a few changes in mind.”
The process of implementing the anticipated changes was due to start within the next few months, he said.
“The main route has already been planned. It’s purely a case of finalising the smaller details and adding the finishing touches. Once we’ve started work, it shouldn’t take more than a month for everything to be completed.”
He said the focus would be to lessen the number of open district roads which riders had traversed in the past.
“What we want to do is make the race a lot more fun for the riders by getting them onto more farm roads and some singletrack. We’ll do this by taking out those long stretches of district roads, shortening some of the stages and making them easier, but adding a number of technical elements.”
The route will visit many of the same towns as in the past, but Van Wyk said only the most scenic and memorable elements would remain.
“The race will pass through more or less the same towns as in previous years, but one major change is that Van Wyksdorp will fall away. We’ll keep riders closer to the sea because this area provides far nicer riding opportunities with more trails. Another change will come towards the end of the race. From Greyton, the route will head towards the Houw Hoek Inn near Grabouw rather than Villiersdorp.”
He said the overall plan would be to make the race “fun and doable” for the average person.
“This isn’t something as testing as the Epic, so people can come out and enjoy themselves. We’ll ensure the time on their bikes is manageable. We will aim to make it a nice mountain biking experience for everyone rather than test them to their limits.”
Entries are open. Visit www.transcapemtb.co.za for more information.