BREAKDOWN OF THE ABSA CAPE EPIC 2024 ROUTE
We decided to send our CEO to the launch of the new Cape Epic route that will take place from 17 – 24 march 2024. Here's his breakdown and insight of the route:
Somerset West – Prologue
The entire prologue is on the Lourensford Farm on the southern slopes of Helderberg, overlooking False Bay. It is the first time that the prologue exceeds 1000 meter vertical climb. This is a lot for only 26 kilometers. Conserve energy. The day will be longer than you have anticipated.
Tulbagh - Stage 1 & 2
Tulbagh – a historical pioneering town, is nestled in a bowl between the high towering mountain ranges. It has a higher altitude so be prepared for more chilly starts.
Stage 1 (90km / 2450m) will traverse the mountains that forms the bowl that belies the town and vineyards. Lots of single track – old and new – and the real beast lies 70 kilometers into the race, in the ascend of Fanti`s Pass, a 500 meter tough incline. This will be a graveyard to those who burned candles all day.
Stage 2 (93km / 2200m) is a cleverly designed pan-handle route. You will ascend 800m up a historical wagon trail and onto a flattish, but technical plateau called the Winterhoek Valley. However, keep something in the tank for you will have a challenging climb at 65 kilometers up Die Eike before dropping to Tulbagh along the same wagon trail.
Tulbagh to Wellington – Transition Stage
Stage 3 (94km / 2200m) The first climb past Waterfall up to Kluitjieskraal is a rock and sand monster, but relief is on its way as the big climb, Bainskloof Pass is on smooth tar. The crevice is at 60 kilometers and with Wellington far below, do not be fooled. You'll have to manage your aching legs as four steep climbs await after the swirling descends.
Wellington - Stage 4 & 5
The sprawling town of Wellington is a fruit bowl with a sting. If the heat goes up, it multiplies in Wellington. Hydration, as ever, is now even a higher priority.
Stage 4 (88km / 3000m) This says it all. It is not going to be easy. There will be riders that did not conserve energy in stage 3. Don't let this be you. There are 5 ugly sisters but the last one is a witch that you will hit at 60 kilometers. Going up switchback at Aap Duez, and then the descend will probably be washed out and the hairpins are scary all the way down. It is aptly called Cliffhanger and your ABSA Cape Epic might be at stake here. Make sure you pay attention to the trail and don't take any unnecessary chances.
Stage 5 (70km / 1750m) this is probably as good as it is going to get. So make sure you keep your sense of humor. There is no bad news specifically on this day, but like so often is ABSA Cape Epic stages, the sting is in the tail.
Stellenbosch - Stage 6 & 7
This historical town is abuzz with tree lined bistro`s and coffee shops. This is where the Epic rider`s family want to stay for the whole week.
Stage 6 (87km / 2300m) by now The ABSA Cape Epic would have beaten you into submission. You start to accept your state of weakness but the focus should be on your battle-ready mindset. That is why you are here. The day can be described as a pendulum between ups and downs. Most riding will be in the southern facing Simonsberg. But make sure you are ready for the last big climb, Botmaskop (and the little last bump – The Bergpad - above the finish line) as it will be in baking hot territory.
Stage 7 (65km / 2000m) is starting in the vast Jonkershoek playpark where the day`s long climbs await. For the first time, all the descending trails will be in the package. Exiting Jonkershoek, the stage is by no means over. A third of the climbs are still to be conquered. Enjoy this day as it has the best single tracks that South Africa has to offer!
TOTAL DISTANCE: 613 km
TOTAL CLIMBING: 16 850m
As we are truly trail locals, here's our mouthwatering hints to take in account, whether you are preparing for the 2024 ABSA Cape Epic, or you are an ardent supporter not to miss a single beat, or say, a pedal stroke of it.
Lots of climbing! I believe it to be the most ever climbing done per kilometer on route. What more is the relatively high percentage of single-track climbing that had been of the route director`s choice.
All but one day will gain more than 2000 meters climbing in a day. Do not expect a recovery day. That uneasy truth you would have to bring into your racing strategy with your partner.
There is no really long stages. All of them are under 100 kilometers. Be prepared for punchy stages.
Stage 4 is the queen stage – be prepared for a 3000 meter ascending hammering.
The grand finale is in the heart of Stellenbosch. This year is the first ABSA Cape Epic to finish within a short walk from the middle of a very charming and historical town with tree-lined coffee shops, bistro`s and wine bars. This is the ABSA Cape Epic for the whole family!
Stay tuned for our ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE 2024 ABSA CAPE EPIC article that's coming out early October!
It features advice on training, teamwork, strategy, nutrition and insights from professional riders. If you are riding the 2024 Absa Cape Epic, you do not want to miss this.