Below is the map for the 2019 Liberty Winelands Encounter
FRIDAY 12 APRILBOSCHENDAL, TO LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL
Distance: 48km; Total elevation gain: 1060m
Stage one starts at one of the most iconic and historical venues in SA; the Boschendal Manor House. It’s mostly open road before riders start the steepest climb on stage 1 (from 7km), climbing up to the top of the Boschendal single tracks.
If some of the knakkers are too steep, rather get off and walk it, as most of them are short. If you’re a single track fundi try to be in the front bunch at 10km, when you hit the Boschendal singles. Inferno 2 will introduce you to the singles, following is Inferno 3, Slingshot, Sugar Bowl and the Skills Track.
Water point 1 is on 20km at the entrance to Boschendal, also easily accessible for spectators. Then you’ll experience the privilege to cycle via the beautiful L’ormirans farm, offering two steep climbs. You exit L’ormirans on tar, over the bergriver and on a 5km quiet tar road towards the Bergriver Dam.
Water point 2 is on 40km, next to the dam and is also accessible for spectators (take the Bergriver Dam turnoff, just after you have crossed the Bergriver, towards Franschhoek). Then you’re on a 4km very scenic single track, running along the Bergriver Dam. Keep reserves in your tank as the last 4km climbs up to the finish; the Lefranschhoek Hotel.
Many thanks to Kim and Natie, who have coordinated the trail building and job creation in Banhoek and Franschhoek.
SATURDAY 13 APRIL
LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL TO LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL
Distance: 48km; Total elevation gain: 1144m
The first 3km is on the Excelsior tar road, a neutral zone until you turn left onto the Roberts vlei road.
Adhere to traffic rules as this is a public road – STAY ON THE LEFT OF THE ROAD.
At 8km the real mountain biking starts, as you start to climb the famous Matoppie Hill. Not only does Matoppie offer a few stingy climbs, but the surface has plenty of loose stones, forcing you to change lines and manage your pedal power properly. However the view of the Winelands on the 12km Matoppie route is impressive and changes as your circle around the koppie.
Near the end is a steep downhill; be cautious as the rolling stones play and unpredictable sound track with MTB knobbies. At 21km is the first Water point, on top of the Bergriver damwall, offering an ideal photo opportunity and a chance to win a bottle of Lacouronne in the social media competition.
Then follows a 3km technical and contour single track along the dam (on the opposite side of the dam, than stage 1, the day before), testing your skills and your bike’s abilities. The single spits you out over the dam and onto the Wolwekloof gravel road, slowly climbing up a spectacular cliff, which narrows into another single track.
Another contour gravel road follows, turning into Snake Alley, an easy flowing single. Again a rolling stone downhill, stay cautious, no need to become a rock star! Water point 2 is on 37km as you exit the mountains.
The last 10km is fast with a combination of tar, gravel and a short single track section.
SUNDAY 14 APRIL
LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL TO NEDERBURG (PAARL)
Distance 50km; Total elevation gain: 910m
This stage includes most of the mountain ranges of the Winelands, including Drakenstein, Du Toitskloof and Hawekwa mountains. The start of the stage is flat and presents quick riding all the way to the Drakenstein Correctional Facility.
It crosses the road into La Paris Estate and then contours the mountain past some famous farms such as Freedom Hill and Avondal. It’s a slight rise all the way to the N1 where the stages passes underneath the carriage way and then into the Hawequa Forrest.
The stage ends with a sting in the tail with the major climb of the day starting at the N1 inderpass on jeep track, gravel road and some beautifully cut single track and takes the riders up to Hawekwa Plantation.
From here, there are breathtaking views of the Winelands and all the way to the Swartland, followed by exhilarating downhill riding to the finish at Nederburg.
The stage includes a trip through the Drakenstein Prison. In the prison, formerly known as Victor Verster, the event will pass by the famous statue of Nelson Mandela which was erected following his release from the prison in the early nineties, and riders will also pass by the house in which he was held captive during the latter years of his incarceration.
Supposed to be a fun day, but definitely not without some proper climbing.