The FNB Wines2Whales is not just a mountain biking event; it's a vibrant celebration of the journey itself, where the thrill of the ride is surpassed only by the camaraderie shared among like-minded enthusiasts. Originating in 2009 with the vision of crafting a premier 3-day stage race in South Africa's Western Cape, the event has become a must-experience on the global mountain biking calendar.
Rooted in the spirit of "gees," a uniquely South African concept that truly comes alive when witnessed, the FNB Wines2Whales embodies the essence of adventure, community, and pure enjoyment.
The allure of the race lies in its meticulously honed route, perfected over 13 years. Cape Trails, Agrimark, and dedicated landowners have invested countless hours enhancing the route, introducing new features, and ensuring that #SeriousGEES is experienced at every turn.
Like in 2021, the second edition of the FNB W2W Switchback was due to lead teams from Curro, Hermanus, to Oak Valley Estate and then to Lourensford Wine Estate. With a last minute route change made due to rider safety concerns, this year's edition will set riders off from Lourensford Wine Estate for an entirely new and adapted opening course before transferring to Oak Valley Wine Estate. The route for Stages 2 and 3 will remain as planned.
Although the recent weather has thrown many a curveball, the trail builders and the route team have risen to the challenge to deliver a route that will induce whoops of joy and smiles for miles.
Prepare for an action-packed three days where the thrill of the ride, the picturesque landscapes, and the shared passion for mountain biking create an unforgettable experience. The FNB Wines2Whales is not just a race; it's a celebration of the cycling spirit.
20 - 22 October 2023
The Chardonnay, widely regarded as the highlight of the three events, kicks off the action-packed 10-day race. This unique experience allows riders to be among the first to conquer the freshly minted trail sections specially crafted for this year's events.
While the Chardonnay event welcomes participants across all age categories, its spotlight shines brightly on Women's racing. This is where South Africa's premier riders converge to vie for top honours, including the overall prize money and leader jerseys.
In keeping with the progressive spirit of 2019, the Chardonnay maintains its commitment to inclusivity and equality:
- The first batch to start comprises women exclusively.
- Emphasizing parity, the prize money for women matches that awarded to their male counterparts.
- A concerted media push, tailored to spotlight women, ensures that the event's narrative is woven into the broader tapestry of women's participation and achievement in cycling.
The Chardonnay stands as a flagship women's-focused race, celebrating the evolution and ascension of women in the sport. It is not just a competition; it's a platform to showcase the prowess of women in racing, encompassing both professional and amateur riders alike. The Chardonnay is where the passion for cycling meets the empowerment of women, creating a dynamic and inspiring event for all.
23 - 25 October 2023
Discover the laid-back charm of The Pinotage, renowned for its easygoing vibe among the trio of FNB Wines2Whales events. Tailored for newcomers and novice stage racers, The Pinotage welcomes all types of bikes, with a special nod to the eBike revolution. Whether you're one team member on an eBike or a full team, embracing the eBike experience is not just allowed but encouraged.
New for this year, The Pinotage introduces leader jerseys specifically for the Ebike racing category. Picture yourself leading the charge, setting the pace from the very first batch, while those opting for a more relaxed ride can enjoy the Ebike Tour at the tail end of the field.
The Pinotage doesn’t take itself too seriously, it offers the perfect blend of challenge and a light-hearted social atmosphere that makes it a truly special event.
27 – 29 October 2023
The final in the trio of events, The Shiraz, is renowned for kicking the intensity up a notch or two. In contrast to the Chardonnay's celebration of Women's racing, The Shiraz lays the platform for the Men's, Mixed, and Exxaro teams to flex their muscles along with the age group categories. This event is synonymous with action and fast-paced racing while still embracing the #SeriousGEES, which brings riders back year after year.
Dive into the Whale Category, where we celebrate the majestic riders on the larger side of life – those tipping the scales at over 90 kilograms!
Riders entered in this category are by no means slouches; this category recognises their hefty power-to-weight ratios and rewards the winning teams with a keg of Devils Peak for their efforts.