Sunday, 02 November 2014 saw FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Adventure riders bid farewell to Oak Valley Wine Estate (Elgin-Grabouw), their home for the past two days as they journeyed towards the finish line at Onrus Caravan Park (just outside Hermanus) where family and hopefully a few whales waited in anticipation to welcome them home. Stage Three consisted of a 73km route that, once completed, took the total number of kilometers traveled off road over a three day period to 213km. According to Johan Kriegler, FNB W2W MTB Director, the two most challenging sections on the Stage Three route are the Houwhoek Switchback Single Tracks and the infamous Hamilton Russel climb, which is the last major climb of the FNB W2W MTB Events, just after the third water-point.
Although the second team to cross the finish line on the day, Michael Creedon and Andrew Davies of Team Oakhaven-Granite secured the overall men’s category title completing the 2014 FNB W2W MTB Adventure in the fastest combined time of 10 hours 57 minutes 27 seconds. According to Davies, they opted to be a little more tactical going into the stage, “We had a big ride on Stage Two, so we expected today’s stage to be a bit more difficult. The rugby players are strong and showed their wisdom and international sporting experience. Although we spent most of our time on each other’s back wheels, we did manage to catch a glimpse of the scenery while watching the highlights videos each night in the rider tent. The FNB Wines2Whales is a memorable experience”. Joel Stransky and Jeremy Thomson of Team Rugby Celeb Team 2 came in second, while Anton Koller and Gregor Krall of Team Rehidrat Sport finished third.
Theresa Ralph and Michael Petersen of Team RBS secured a hat trick stage win, securing the overall title in a well-deserved time of 11 hours 57 minutes 03 seconds. “Today’s stage was deceiving. You think you’re going downhill, when you’re actually climbing and the climbs worked you. Stage Three is definitely one of my best days. I’m from Johannesburg, so coming up the hill and seeing the sea, it’s like a magnet for me. The riders living in Cape Town are definitely spoilt with their riding conditions,” said Ralph. Neill Ungerer and Thea-Mari Van Der Sandt of Team Scott 2 Lovit claimed the second spot on the podium while Coenie Thomas and Leorine De Wet of Team Operation Smile SA finished third.
Team Tailormade Properties’ Lolita Van Aardt and Nadia Visser were the women’s team to beat completing the three day’s riding in a combined time of 12 hours 33 minutes 08 seconds. “Today was hot. The stage was tougher than expected, but we had fun. I’d recommend the FNB Wines2Whales to other riders because of the atmosphere, the fantastic organization and the natural beauty,” said Visser. Kathy Crabbe and Wendy Potgieter of Team Specialized Songo came in second, while Desiree Strydom and Arlien Mattheus of Team Ongegund finished third.
Photo: Team Tailormade Properties’ Lolita Van Aardt and Nadia Visser were the women’s team to beat at the 2014 FNB Wines2Whales MTB Adventure completing the three day’s riding in a combined time of 12 hours 33 minutes 08 seconds. Seen here (front to back): Lolita Van Aardt and Nadia Visser in action on the day.
Photo credit: Cherie Vale / NEWSPORT MEDIA