The Only Way is Up
Short and brutally steep, on exhausted legs, Stage 5 will be a major physical and psychological hurdle on the trail to Val de Vie. In the past stages like these have been dubbed play days, but there is little playful about this intense test. The climbing starts virtually instantaneously. Leaving Wellington, the only way is uphill, but mercifully the initial kilometres are rolling rather than straight up. Thereafter the lengthy Hawequa climb serves to spread the field for the singletracks to follow. It is never steep, but rather a slow grind into the Limietberg.
The descent from the summit starts on dusty dual track, before slipping into the Brooklyn Bridge singletrack. The Scout Trail continues the singletrack theme and provides a traverse into the mountain biking Mecca of the Wild Boar Trails. Singletrack climbs and descents blur into one vision of agony and ecstasy thereafter. Up Seven Peaks, down Cool Runnings, up Aap d'Huez into Full Monty – the day's Land Rover Technical Terrain – and a further black diamond, black route loop. The fun, games, climbing and, in all likelihood, suffering are not quite over yet. The stage provides a final sting, heading uphill once more for a last climb across a ridgeline. Then, it is homeward bound for very hard-earned rest and recovery ahead of a big weekend of riding.
In 2021 the Absa Cape Epic goes all the way, taking in the complete Full Monty during Stage 5's Land Rover Technical Terrain. Well-loved for its fast and flowing sections which give way to tight switchback corners the Full Monty is the type of trail which makes the day's massive altitude gain worth-while.
The Scout Trail continues the singletrack theme and provides a traverse into the mountain biking Mecca of the Wild Boar Trails. Singletrack climbs and descents blur into one vision of agony and ecstasy thereafter.
Amy McDougall & Candice Lill racing in the red Absa African Women's jerseys
Riders during the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
Wellington has long been an Absa Cape Epic favourite thanks to its wide variety of trails
Brutal climbs are all part of a day's work when riding in Wellington
5 time Absa Cape Epic winner, Annika Langvad leads Kate Courtney during the 2018 Absa Cape Epic
Siphosenkosi Madolo & Azukile Simayile during the 2018 Absa Cape Epic