We are saving the podium for you Team Hansgrohe riders!
ABSA Cape Epic riders are happy post shower
Stage 4’s terrain was extremely varied with three major climbs. It is a stage of contrasts with smooth gravel, then very rugged, followed by the National Monument of Bains Kloof Pass on tar, and then beautifully manicured purpose-built single track.
The first 15 kms was easy letting the riders spin out the damage from the pervious days’ work.
After water point 1, the climbing started with a slow, steady 5 km climb up a gravel road with an average of 7% gradient to Kluitjieskraal.
On the other side, they descended into a desolate bowl that roughened up into an 8 km bike-swallowing descent. The gradient was not steep but the track was washed out, rocky (and sandy).
After water point 2 a flat minor gravel road led to the foot of Bain’s Kloof Pass. The 16-km-climb was on tar and riders were able take in the spectacular scenery of this National Monument Site.
Over the top, and down, you’ll see the Cape Winelands with views onto Wellington, Paarl Rock and as far as Table Mountain, some 70km away. The first bit of the descent was on tar, before plunging into the beautifully kept Bain’s MTB Trails at Welvanpas, smooth flowing ups and downs, perfectly carved into the mountain side.
There was one more big climb, most of it on forestry roads, and it was the best value for climbing a mountain biker could ask for: the guys all earned themselves a 4 km downhill of handcrafted single track through pristine fynbos vegetation.
There was one more tiny bump, and then the last couple of kilometers were all plain sailing into the new race village in Wellington.
Today’s ride was a shorter on and the riders came in early. Could not have been too tough, with the Hansgrohe Mixed team ranking 12th position overall and the rest of our teams getting stronger with each day – isn’t that great? Robert of Team Hansgrohe Mixed had this to say:
“Another Move Day and once again, a long ride was in stall for us. Leaving Saronsberg along the dirt road we were sitting in a fast bunch and there was dust everywhere. With the rising sun right ahead of us , it was difficult to see much and it seemed like we were riding on intuition alone. We headed towards Wolseley on a dirt road and eventually turned right, towards the mountain. A long climb took us to a high contour road which took us back in the direction we had come from. Typical Epic! Waterpoint 1 was at the Cape Nature “waterfall” camp. The trail turned into the mountains here and we started a long , rocky climb up an old dual track which took us into another, higher valley. Heading in a southerly direction, we dropped down in the Tulbagh valley, again, and then skirted the mountains to Waterpoint 3 and onwards to Bains Kloof. The heat was radiating up from the tar and it was a slog, but fortunately not technical.
Over the top and down the pass until we turned right into the Welvanpas Trails. Some flowing single track took us down to Waterpoint 3 , after which we had one final climb to deal with. From there we had 4km of flowing single track with great views towards Paarl and Cape Town in the distance. There wasn’t much time to appreciate the views though. We were tired and just wanting to the finish the 120km stage. One final dirt road downhill took us into Wellington and the finish.”
Livio and Ray climbed the ranks a bit to end up in the top 200′s. “Bainskloof was a long slog,but fun to ride with the other teams Hansgrohe and that was followed by awesome singletrack that we will have much more of today. We managed to climb back up the ranks into the 200′s again. It’s not the 100′s like we wanted, but there are still a few days of riding left.”
Riders are surely eager for the showers now!