2023 Absa Cape Epic Route Reveal Trails
Details for the 2023 edition of the Absa Cape Epic have been announced.
Eight days. 658 kilometers. 15,775 vertical meters. These are the only stats for the 2023 Absa Cape Epic. But as history has proven over the last 18 editions of The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race, the stats and what’s happening on Africa’s trails don’t are never identical.
The 2023 edition of the Absa Cape Epic sees charm and challenge on a knife edge as the road weaves through pristine fynbos and nature reserves where antelope roam free; walks along a sanctuary of lions, moves between vineyards, orchards and fields of wheat; scale the highest and most demanding peaks in the Western Cape and seek trails that don’t pack a punch in eight days.
In 2023, luxury resides touching distance from rugged trails. Famous vineyards overlook the singletracks, giving mountain bikers the chance to watch the race in comfort and witness the events as they unfold in the Pinnacle of Epic series.
The route of the 19th edition is defined by adventures in hitherto untouched terrain combined with the return of old favourites, including Greenlandberg, a peak revered by those who have tackled it and surrounded by rumors by those who have not. have not yet done during the queen stage.
The race kicks off with a Threshold Test Prologue where seconds and starting lots are contested on the trails of Meerendal Wine Estate and the larger Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club network. These trails are loved by mountain bikers everywhere due to their fast, flowing nature and breathtaking views of the iconic Table Mountain and Robben Island.
Stages one and two begin and end in the whale-watching seaside town of Hermanus and showcase the region’s spectacular hike from the Hemel Valley in Aarde to beyond Stanford and into the Akkadisberg Mountains and Paardenberg where limestone trails, steep terrain and high winds are rampant.
The first transition leg of the 2023 Absa Cape Epic, Stage Three, takes teams inland from Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate in Elgin. The stage begins on trails familiar to returning teams but quickly enters areas completely unfamiliar to the event. The last kilometers of the stage hint at the singletrack-filled race to come on stage four.
Once at Oak Valley Estate, there is a respite in terms of distance due to the inclusion of a mid-week time trial. Although short in miles, it has plenty of meters climbed per mile and the hard-hitting nature of Elgin’s terrain is sure to test physical fitness, mental toughness and partnerships throughout. The fourth stage could prove crucial in the race for the general classification.
The fifth stage, the Queen Stage, leaves Oak Valley Estate towards Lourensford Wine Estate and pits the teams against a climb of Tierkop followed by Groenlandberg, a notorious peak rising to 1,181 meters above sea level.
The fifth stage is sure to be remembered for years to come thanks in large part to the prominent climbs and perilous portage down the Gantouw Pass, where the scars of ox-cart wheels now remind us of the ways of old-fashioned transportation.
The penultimate stage of the 2023 race marks a historic day for the Absa Cape Epic. The entire 82 kilometer route takes place on the grounds of a single estate – Lourensford Wine Estate, one of the largest and busiest singletrack estates in South Africa.
The last stage, from Lourensford to Val de Vie Estate, is rightly difficult. With two fierce climbs and some of South Africa’s most iconic singletrack, The Trail to Val de Vie is both challenging and exhilarating. For any team wearing a leader’s jersey entering stage seven, their final day will be a stressful one. Speed Company Racing has proven that the Grand Final is not a procession in 2022 and the conclusion of 2023 offers far more opportunity to make up for lost time. Or lose it.
The Absa Cape Epic will take place March 19-23, 2023. What the trails will offer remains to be seen, but what is guaranteed is a race for the ages. Learn more about the Absa Cape Epic route here.