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Going into the FNB Wines2Whales, the two Dirt Addict teams could not have predicted the kind of experience they would have over the 3 days.

Day 1 was scheduled to start in Hermanus, but the last-minute change had the teams ride a circular route that started and finished at Lourensford Wine Estate.

“I really wanted to cycle from Hermanus, but the change of route delivered. The scenery was beautiful, and the trails were stunning.” Shared Danya.

Val also shared that all the trails were the best she had ever ridden.

Day 2, or otherwise referred to as the “muddy princess” stage by Imelda, was a mudfest that could only be explained by photos. The trails had become so muddy that riders were sharing bike bath tips in the rivers along the route. As mentioned, it can’t be described, refer to shared photos but be warned of sensitive content of predicted drive train damage.

After a multiple sense of humour fails, Anja and Val decided to call it a day at the first water point. The idea of a cold beer and sparing bike parts seemed why more appealing that fighting the slosh.

“Everyone brought their Geez on every day even with the rain and mud on day two. The organizers were top class making sure any unexpected issues were resolved.” Said Val.

Day 3 was substantially warmer than the previous days and could only be described as “insanely beautiful” by just about every rider that crossed the finish line.

On finishing, Anja shared that the experience was as hard as she thought, but it wasn’t easy.

Michelle de Villiers, fellow Dirt Addict member, showed her race side support each day and was joined by Karin van Niekerk, Azel van der Colff and Michelle du Preez at the finish line of the final day to welcome the teams in.

We asked the two Dirt Addict teams to share their experiences.

How hard was Wines2Whales?
Imelda:
It was not as hard as I thought it would be but still very challenging.
Danya:
It was Easy for me. I killed myself with training 10 weeks prior to. Fitness and strength wise, I was more than capable. I also didn’t race hard. It was more of an adventure and road to discovery. More about experience than performance. That also makes it seem far easier and more enjoyable.
Anja:
It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but it wasn’t easy. I would definitely recommend a good training program for fitness and technical skills.
Val:
The perfect amount of climbing and descending, there were some tough climbs which were well worth the downhill single track that followed.

What advise would you give some who wanted to do Wines2Whales?
Imelda:
Don’t “wing” it. Train for it so that you can enjoy the ride.
Do not rush to finish it, take in the views, and enjoy it, it’s beautiful.
Buy ALL the merchandise. Stay hydrated. Nutrition is important.
Danya:
Get your ass on your bike and train!!! Make sure you are equipped to deal with mechanical issues to take that stress of your shoulders. Make sure your bike is in a great condition and always keep that in mind. First and foremost, your machine will work for you if you take good care of it, lube your chain, clean it properly etc. Hydration and nutrition is KEY!!! Recovery is everything!!!
Eat and sleep well. Fuel for tomorrow. Also. Get to Know yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and always ride within yourself.
Anja:
Preparation is very important, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Go for the experience and enjoy every min – the trails, the views, the ups and downs.
Val:
Book the bike service package.
In training do as much climbing a possible.
During training we had a nutritionist and strength trainer which I believe made all the difference to my strength on the bike and recovery after each day.
Book a massage after each day!

Would you recommend Wines2Whales?
Imelda:
100% YES
Danya:
Absolutely YES.
Anja:
For sure! It is a great goal and an amazing experience.
Val:
Absolutely.

Event Summary
Stage/Day 1 – 56km | 1300m elevation (Lourensford Wine Estate to Lourensford Wine Estate)
Stage/Day 2 – 55km | 1250m elevation (Oakvalley Estate to Oakvalley Estate)
Stage/Day 3 – 64km | 1250m elevation (Oakvalley Estate to Lourensford Wine Estate)

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