The Forgotten Valley
After three days with precious few free kilometres, the transition stage from Saronsberg, in Tulbagh, to the Slanghoek valley appears, on paper, to be an easier day. Especially as the racing ends at the Goudini Spa and teams will transfer over the Limietberg Mountains, rather than having to ride over them. There is, however, a sting in the tail of the stage. The early kilometres may tick past with unnerving ease, but once the surface begins to roughen the challenges come thick and fast. Brutally uneven dual tracks through a private game reserve provide a sudden shock. Crossing the Breede River the challenging riding recommences with a steep but short climb into the Slanghoek Mountains.
Rocky singletracks undulate along the length of the range; punishing the legs before the infamous Thudbuster climb drive heart rates in the red. From there it is into the Land Rover Technical Terrain, the Slanghoek trails climb. From the top, it's into Slanghoek cross-country course followed swiftly by the most technical of the mountain's trails, covering the final kilometres to the remote finish at the Goudini Spa. From the Spa, a transfer through Du Toitskloof takes the teams to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Wellington.
The Slanghoek trails climb snakes its way upwards through the walls of the valley; while not the most challenging of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic’s Land Rover Technical Terrains, its bite will be felt after the demanding kilometres raced before and then even more demanding kilometres that follow. At roughly 4km in length, knowing where to back off the gas may be the deciding factor between reaching Goudini Spa safely and not.
While the stage may be shorter, the inclusion of Slanghoek's trails means the climbs are venomous
Rocky singletracks undulate along the length of the range; punishing the legs before the infamous Thudbuster climb drive heart rates in the red
Manuel Fumic at home on the trails of Wellington during the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
Riders will need to have their wits about them when a visit to Wild Boar Trails is on the cards
Jaroslav Kulhavy and Howard Grotts wearing the Men's category yellow leader jerseys during the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
Rozalia Kubwana leads Johnny Tauyatswala during the 2016 Absa Cape Epic
Jennie Stenerhag leads Robyn De Groot during the 2016 Absa Cape Epic
Leading pack during stage 4 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
The lead bunch ride single track through the Slanghoek Valley during stage 4 of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic