A Challenging Route
for the 20th Absa Cape Epic
The 2024 Absa Cape Epic route is the steepest in the race’s history, featuring 27.48 metres of elevation gain per kilometre. This makes it, on paper, perhaps the toughest course over the past two decades.
Teams taking part in the 2024 Absa Cape Epic will have to have the mimic the legendary climbing abilities of the official route partner, the Toyota Land Cruiser, if they are to complete the course. Famed for their ability to scale 42 degree slopes the sponsor’s range topping 4x4 has some advantages the riders taking part in the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race do not. Most notably a powerful petrol or diesel engine, though the phrase “I’m a diesel engine” will undoubtedly be heard in the race village throughout the 20th edition – usually in the later start groups...
Despite never exceeding the 100 kilometre mark for a stage the 2024 route is imposing at first glance, and upon deeper inspection. Its 16 850 metres of total elevation gain is achieved though five stages which exceed the 2 000 metre mark, and a Queen Stage which includes 3 000 metres of climbing. Even the Lourensford Prologue nudges over 1 000 metres!
In total this means that the route boasts an average of 27.48 metres of climbing per kilometre. This is higher than the previous record, set by the 2019 race, of 26.68 metres per kilometre. No other edition in the event’s storied history has exceeded 25 metres per kilometre.
Then there is the terrain… Tulbagh and the Witzenberg Valley are both relentlessly rocky, especially after the long, hot, summer, which South Africa looks likely to face. Wellington may have more manicured trails, though they are only manicured and free-flowing by Absa Cape Epic standards. The Wild Boar singletracks are still what the old-school mountain bikers love to refer to as “proper mountain biking.” Stellenbosch too is no place to expect free kilometres. The world’s best mountain bikers come to the town for training camps for a reason, and it’s not just the superb wine.
If you are not paying attention. You probably should be…
Prepare to be Toyota Tough in 2024!