The Cape Pioneer Trek kicks off on Sunday the 16th of October at 10:00 from the Southern Cape town of Mossel Bay.
The seven day stage race, through the Garden Route and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape, starts with a 13km prologue along the cliff-top trails and urban paths of Mossel Bay and concludes, on Saturday the 22nd of October, with a 57km final stage from the antelope trodden trails of Chandelier Game Reserve to the historic streets of Oudtshoorn and the finish line at the Queens Hotel.
The 496 kilometre route will take in the best mountain biking the region has to offer by mixing purpose built singletracks with challenging gravel roads. Some of the iconic landmarks the route passes include the Bartolomeu Dias Museum and the Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse in Mossel Bay; the Montagu Pass Old Toll House and the spectacular mountain bike trails of Saasveld of George; and the CP Nel Museum and the quintessential Klein Karoo ostrich farms of Oudtshoorn.
Among the 300 entrants there are 19 nationalities from countries as far flung as Afghanistan and Australia, along with the more regular Southern Cape visitors from European mountain biking hotspots like Switzerland and Belgium. Leading the local charge against the foreign challengers is one of George’s favourite sons, and South African mountain biking legend, Erik Kleinhans. Kleinhans will sport the race favourite’s number board when he lines up alongside Stellenboscher, and honorary Southern Caper for the week, Waylon Woolcock as team Full Sus. In the elite women’s race Catherin Williamson and Leana De Jager will be representing the Southern Cape as they race in the colours of Klein Karoo International. While Williamson is British by nationality she spends nearly six months of the year training and racing from Knysna in the Southern Cape, so she will enjoy a measure of local support too.
The 13km prologue on Sunday the 16th is arguably the most spectator friendly stage of the 2016 Cape Pioneer Trek route. Spectators are encouraged to line the route and cheer on the riders as they ascend to the cliff-top paths around the Cape St. Blaise Lighthouse or sprint to the finish at The Point. Thereafter, stage one heads into the Gondwana Private Game Reserve before returning to Mossel Bay, while stage two is the first moving stage of the race taking riders from Mossel Bay along the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains to George. Stage three offers a singletrack filled treat for the riders as they spend the day twisting and turning through the exhilarating forest trails of Saasveld before stage four challenges them to cross the Outeniqua from the lush Garden Route to the semi-arid Klein Karoo. Stages five and six explore the origins of the Cape Pioneer Trek as the routes trade challenge and reward in the harsh but beautiful Klein Karoo.
The 2016 Cape Pioneer Trek concludes in the historic heart of Oudtshoorn on Saturday the 22nd of October after seven tough days of racing. To find out more about the Cape Pioneer Trek and where you can watch it live visit www.capepioneer.co.za.