Andrew McLean makes his debut in the Shesha Fuels Val de Vie MTB Expedition later this year and is relishing the opportunity to ride the trails in the “Valley of Life”, which have become among the most sought after on the South African mountain-biking landscape.

“I’ve been on some sections of these routes during the Absa Cape Epic, but at the Epic you don’t get the chance to properly appreciate them, and also the beauty of the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley,” says McLean.

Val de Vie Estate is the finish venue for the Absa Cape Epic annually. “I’ve heard so much about the Val de Vie MTB Expedition; about how tough and rewarding it is, but mostly about how remarkably well the event has managed to incorporate so many top trails in one weekend as well as the hospitality.”

The Cycle Lab director teams up with former Springbok rugby player Joel Stransky, who has become his regular riding partner.

“I love riding with Joel. His transformation from rugby player to top end cyclist has been amazing. You don’t see a rugby player transforming into a high level rider often, simply because weight is an advantage in rugby and a disadvantage in cycling. Joel continues to amaze me,” said McLean.

“I like the format of the Expedition with riders starting, finishing and staying at the same upmarket venue for all three stages. It’s a welcome change from the mobile race villages, tents and kitchens of point to point events in remote locations. Doing it all at the Pearl Valley Clubhouse and Hotel inside Val de Vie Estate is perfect.”

There is a lot of excitement and expectation leading up to the 2nd edition of South Africa’s new signature 3-Stage Mountain-bike race, which takes place on 7-9 October at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl.

Race Director, Wynand de Villiers, says the event has resonated exceptionally well with seasoned mountain-bikers. “Riders get to know each other on the bike on the challenging and rewarding trails of the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley, and off the bike it’s such a pleasure at the Pearl Valley Hotel and Clubhouse.

“The offering is slick and truly high end. It runs like a well-oiled machine, because we have such depth of experience and knowledge within the organisation. It’s incredible what the race achieved in the first year and we are simply delighted.

“We have a perfect host at Val de Vie Estate, which is the most award winning and fastest growing residential estate in South Africa. It’s such a beautiful place and has set the bar high in terms of residential offerings in South Africa.

“The allure of the incredible weekend offering is accentuated by staying, starting, finishing and eating at the same world-class venue every day. We couldn’t ask for a better venue than the Pearl Valley Clubhouse and Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis inside Val de Vie Estate.