Mountain bikers set for whale of a time

     

    The De Hoop Nature Reserve will play host to weekend of wine tasting, whale watching and mountain biking when the Potberg & De Hoop MTB Weekend Challenge takes place at the end of August. Photo: Supplied

    Some 400 Western Cape mountain bikers will be able to enjoy a unique weekend of wine tasting, whale watching and single track riding through twin nature reserves in the Overberg region later this month.

    Riders and their families looking for an alternative offroad adventure can take part in the Potberg & De Hoop Mountain Bike Weekend Challenge, which consists of several tailor-made events from Friday, August 30, to Sunday, September 1.

    Although the one-day Potberg race has been held annually since 2001, organisers have this year expanded the event to include a new route through De Hoop Nature Reserve.

    According to race co-ordinator Louise Wilson of Garden Route Events, the new additions provided the ideal weekend family adventure.

    “It’s just over two hour’s drive from Cape Town, so riders don’t have to take time off work. The reserves offer a wide variety of activities even if the rest of the family prefer not to ride.”

    The weekend starts with an optional 17km night ride on the Friday, followed by the Potberg MTB Challenge races on the Saturday.

    As in previous years, participants will be able to choose between a 10km, 30km, 55km and 75km course, said Wilson. “So it’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels.”

    With seasoned pros Chris Wolhuter and Erik Kleinhans numbering among previous Potberg winners, the longer distance presented a technical challenge for serious racers, said Wilson.

    The event wraps up with the new 57km De Hoop route on the Sunday.

    Wilson said the field had been limited by Cape Nature to ensure minimum impact on the pristine environment.

    “This is an exclusive opportunity to ride through an abundance of wildlife, which will give nature lovers a rare treat.”

    She said Potberg was home to the only remaining breeding colony of the endangered Cape Vulture, while De Hoop offered some of the world’s best land-based whale watching.

    “Both the 30km and 75km routes on the Saturday take riders along the ocean, where they’ll be overwhelmed by the sight of hundreds of whales just beyond the breakers at this time of year.”

    That evening, the wine tasting – which will be hosted by local winemakers from the Hemel-en-Aarde region – takes place at Koppie Alleen, De Hoop’s primary whale watching lookout point.

    “It’s all about sport, lifestyle, adventure and fun in the great outdoors,” said Wilson.

    The winners of the individual events will be rewarded with prize hampers and all finishers will receive medals.

    Participants can choose from a range of accommodation options, with special package deals available for De Hoop Nature Reserve.