The Fire Ride & Momentum Grape MTB
Words Fiona McIntosh
The devastating fires around the Simonsberg have been big news lately and we feel for those affected. This weekend’s Fire Ride in the Simonsberg Conservancy is a chance to show your support.
Mountain bikers need little introduction to the spectacular Simonsberg trails that wind their way through the Delheim, Muratie and Uitkyk wine farms. This weekend’s Fire Ride is a chance to ride brand new trails cut by MTB trail building Meurant Botha and to enjoy the peaceful winelands setting.
“As most mountain bikers have realised the Simonsberg Trails system has been ravaged by the recent fires, placing some doubt on the running of the new Fairtree Simonsberg Contour stage race” says Meurant. “We as organisers and trailbuilders certainly shared these doubts as we saw all our hard work reduced to ash. Having had a few days to reflect it is clear that there is only one path for us and that is to stand up and rebuild.
The Contour is a unique event in that the shareholders are the landowners, sponsors and trailbuilders and the purpose of the event is to develop the Simonsberg into a premier trails region. All proceeds from the event go straight towards achieving this vision. By not running the Contour the trails will suffer a double loss at a time when the rebuild needs all assistance it can get.
In terms of the routes we will obviously have to adjust our offer and distances but we are confident that we can produce two days of riding that can showcase the area and put riders right in the middle of the fire zone with some amazing sights and views of the devastation.
Our trail crews are going to clear as much singletrack as possible and we are increasing the team sizes yet again to achieve this. Finalised descriptions and profiles of the new routes will be posted on the FB page.
We ask all riders to support our rebuild efforts by joining us for the inaugural Simonsberg Contour - The Fire Ride.”
Momentum Grape MTB
The second Momentum Grape MTB Ride is also taking place this weekend as part of the 2016 Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick n Pay. The 17km fun ride is scheduled for Sunday, 7 February, starting and finishing at the festival venue, Coetzenburg sports grounds.
The route will wind its way through Stellenbosch and the spectacular Jonkershoek Valley, mostly on tarred roads, with smaller sections of easy dirt roads and tracks. Heading out from Coetzenburg, riders will head up Jonkershoek Road past the Lanzerac and Rudera wine estates to the turnaround point at the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve gate before embarking on the return loop via Assegaaibos and the Jonkershoek Road cycle path.
The relatively gentle route makes the ride suitable for the whole family to enjoy together. The turnaround area is the highest point on the route, so riders can really enjoy the scenery while freewheeling most of the way back to the finish point!
Special permission has been granted by CapeNature to utilise the more secluded Assegaaibos section on the route – an area not usually accessible to cyclists – so riders are in for an extra-special ride this year.
The ride starts at 07h30, with pre-race registration starting at 06h00. Early entries are R110 and can be found online at www.dirtopia.co.za before 2 February. Last-minute entries cost R140. All participants receive free entry to the wine festival, with an additional R75 for the wine-tasting.
Visit the Festival website www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za for a full event schedule. Follow the Stellenbosch Wine Festival on Twitter @StellWineFest, Instagram @Stellenboschwinefest or sign up for regular updates on Facebook at StellenboschWineFestival.