3 Stages | 152km | 3400m Ascent

  • Stage 1 | 17km | 450m ascent (TT)
  • Stage 2 | 68km | 1600m ascent
  • Stage 3 | 67km | 1350m ascent

The Val de Vie MTB Expedition will this year feature a more tempered route challenge compared to the previous two editions of the Cape Winelands signature 3 day MTB stage race, which takes place on 6-8 October at the Pearl Valley Clubhouse inside the award winning Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.

The degree of route difficulty was an interesting and keenly debated subject at last year’s Val de Vie MTB Expedition. A host of riders felt we were tad over on difficulty where we needed to be a month into Spring.

The Expedition will remain an aspirational challenge but we felt that we needed to be sensitive to a large rider contingent who relish the challenge and the total event offering, but who don’t have the luxury of enough regular long daily training rides coming out of winter.

To give these riders something to aim at (and train for ), we’ve brought down both the Saturday and Sunday stages to under 70km mark and the total ascent to just under 3400m.

This will shorten riding time for the 2nd and 3rd stages considerably. The biggest change is on stage 3 where the ascent drops from 1660m to 1350m. The stage will feature a number of new sections in the Banhoek Concervancy, which will dish up a more flowing ride compared to last year.

By decreasing the distance and ascent we want to bring the event in line with our core principle of serving our rider base. The essence of the route and challenge remain the same, which means the race still presents a substantiative challenge and proper racing platform for serious riders.

Val de Vie MTB Expedition Route Director, Pieter van Wyk, believes the route for Paarl’s signature stage race is unrivalled. The race serves experienced mountain-bikers who are focussed on sustained route quality from start to finish, coupled with unequalled rider hospitality.

Van Wyk, who held the position of route director for numerous years at the Absa Cape Epic, is regarded as one of the finest trail specialists in the country.

If you mention Welvanpas and Banhoek, you immediately grab the attention of mountain-bikers from every corner of South Africa. If you include these two famous trail networks in a 3-stage race based at an exceptional venue, it adds up to an experience that has been crafted to satisfy seasoned mountain-bikers.

The Val de Vie Expedition has seen a remarkable uptake with the extraordinary event offering clearly resonating with experienced mountain-bikers.

It’s an exceptionally well crafted 3-day stage race on a route that incorporates some of the country’s finest mountain bike trails coupled with a world-class race village at the Pearl Valley Clubhouse which serves all 3 days.

Van Wyk led in the era of trail building in the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley when he built the famous Welvanpas trails on the Drakenstein Mountains above Wellington. Since then, numerous trail networks have followed, and the valley has become a popular mountain-biking destination.

Welvanpas (these days known as Wild Boar Trails), which often features in the Absa Cape Epic, forms the backbone of the Expedition’s 2nd stage, and the trail network is still right up there with the best in South Africa.