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  1. Western Cape Enduro MTB series. It would be a four-stage, titanic battle to find who be would become Western Province and South African Champions for the year. EWC #3 Video Highlights: The EWC management team paid the weather gods a significant amount to deliver the riders a cool and calm day, perfect for enduro. Stage one would be the Red Phoenix. A fast-flowing stage that got riders down to the bottom of the mountain with nothing but dead flies and insects on the number board and googles. Yes, it's that fast. Riders then had to liaison back to where they'd just come from to take on the much-feared and ever-deteriorating "Plumber". The Plumber, on a good day, is a bike breaker and body shaker. After a week of practice, it had not deteriorated but up-teriorated (an enduro word for a stage that gets blown out and increases in gnarliness). Each new rider attempting the descent would face a completely different set of rocks and half a foot of brown powder which would either wipe them off the face of this earth, cover them in dirt or spit them out wide-eyed and frothing. Once the riders had finished stage 2, they would commence the epic journey over to stage three. Stage three, or Armageddon, would present fitter riders with the opportunity to claw some time back. The long and winding stage had portions of the field whining to the “Stage Creator” about its opening flat sprint. Alas this was an enduro and an ounce of endurance is required. With this event being a Enduro World Series qualifier, riders would need this experience to help them overseas. Alas, this fell on deaf, tired ears. The field was exhausted by the end of stage 3 but had one more assault up to stage 4. The climb back up to the top of the mountain would be a brutal push or ride for all but this is where MTB enduro races build character. Stage 4 or “Iron Monkey” would be a 6 to 9-minute which brought on a tough rock garden and an abundance of loose, steep corners. Its real kicker was its length which would take riders right down to the parking lot and event HQ. Riders had lines of enthusiastic spectators to cheer/heckle them all the way back down to the finish line to conclude what was one hell of a day out! Thankfully, at the end of the day, Western Province's Matt Lombardi (an enduro rider) took top spot in the men and the now "EWC proclaimed" enduro rider, Zandri Strydom from Mpumalanga took first in the females. Some very close times in both categories - times here. The field had some of the top DH, XCO and marathon riders in the country competing for the title too. The entire field was filled with a mix of riders from all ages, disciplines, sexes, speeds, bike types, hair colours and provinces which had the scrap beaten out of them all day long. But the stages were worth it! Thanks to our event partners for making this happen. Quick plug time... go demo the new Giant Reign and Trance, both 29ers that rock! Also, go and buy a permit to Tygerberg mountain bike club as they offer a plethora of awesome trails. Just follow the trail rules. Also a huge thanks to MTO for making some of SA' best trails in their valley. You guys are awesome. Top Five Results MenMatt Lombardi 00:22:30.9 Theo Erlangsen 00:22:38.0 Johann Potgieter 00:22:43.0 Martin Zietsman 00:23:09.1 Sharjah Jonsson 00:23:10.8 WomenZandri Strydom 00:26:34.3 Frankie Du Toit 00:26:34.9 Beani Thies 00:28:10.7 Rika Olivier 00:28:29.2 Jessi Nixon 00:29:18.4 Full results here.
  2. 1. Matt Lombardi and Frankie Du Toit now have competition. They won again, but it seems that new riders on the scene want the 1st place podium. Will they be dethroned in Jonkershoek? 2. There are a lot of new faces in Enduro, especially newcomers from XCO. 3. The knee height of a grass hopper class, AKA the young sproglets, is growing. More and more groms are entering the lite category and then being towed around the mountain by their parents. Thank you parents. 4. 9% of the field were females. Can we get to 15% for Jonkershoek? 5. There are a lot of cool brands in the mountain biking vendor/chill zone that pushed to interact with their riders - Giant bicycles, SRAM, Leatt, Lyne and ION, well done. 6. Hoogekraal suited trail bikes over enduro bikes and hardtails. 115m to 130mm trail bikes seemed to outperform their bigger enduro and hard tails. 7. The Trail Shepherd, Patrick, built some rad off-camber new sections that make for wild riding. We want more Tygerberg!!!! 8. Free Beer from Starke Breweries made for a rowdy crowd at prize giving. 9. Enduro riders are starting to match their riding kit. Sartorial game is being upped. 10. Quite a few MTB WhatsApp Crews are wearing Team Shirts. Go Team! 11. 245 Entrants. Are these the biggest enduros on the African continent? (Answer - YES) 12. Registering 245 riders took longer than expected. Rest assured that plans are in place to deliver a quicker registration experience at the next race. Start training for Round 3 at Jonkershoek on the 6th of October. It's SA champs and an EWS world qualifier. The stages are fully spectator friendly. Huge thanks to Tygerberg MTB Club and Giant Bikes. Without you guys and your professional people, we'd not be able to hold these events. Sending high 5's. And all information for the Enduro Western Cape Series can be found on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. This is the only place we operate so follow us for info on the best enduro and trail riding in the province. Fastest Women down the Hill. 1 Frankie Du Toit 19:24:62 2 Leorine De Wet 20:21:45 3 Kylie Hanekom 20:33:73 4 Colleen De Oliveira 20:56:93 5 Aimee Glisson 21:15:27 Fastest Men down the Hill. 1 Matt Lombardi 16:39:81 2 Jason Boulle 16:57:51 3 Adrian Van Der Merwe 17:03:02 4 Robert Starke 17:12:36 5 Luca Ruwiel 17:25:85 Full Results here.
  3. First race is a week away! (F. me... Somehow I'll be ready-ish for it after 2 months of on/off illness) We have been teased with the conties route, so probably expect to see a lot of recce-ing this weekend. Who else is riding/racing?
  4. Following a super successful first year of the Enduro Western Cape series during 2018, the EWC is back with a bang in 2019, selling out entries and topping out at 230 riders. With the weather gods on their side, riders were treated to an awesome day out at a green and grippy Contermanskloof, with the 5 stages and liaisons covering 27km with around 2100m of combined vert. A few changes to last year’s stages included the scrapping of the wide & off-camber stage 1, and a new section added onto stage 4, as well as a few other small adjustments. The series also sees the addition of the E-bike category, as well as the return of the lite category where newcomers have the opportunity to only do 3 of the 5 stages. It's a beautiful day. Riders line up at registration to get a number board and timing watch. Harry Millar with race briefing before riders head up liaison 1. Let faster riders past. Assist injured riders. Blue flags = pro line. Pink flags = easy line. Ride within your limits. Have fun! Some spectators bringing the gees on Stage 1. On the racing front, it was Franki du Toit that took top spot in the women’s category with a total racing time of 18:19.781. Following her in 2nd was Katja Steenkamp with a time of 19:33.698 and Colleen de Oliveira in third about one minute 15 seconds off the pace coming it at 20:45.776. Landowner, beer-brewer and trail-builder Robert Starke again put down the fastest time in the men’s category with a time of 15:22.841, just 16 seconds ahead of young pinner Luke Moir (15:38.432). Rounding out the podium, just 2 seconds behind Moir, was Dane Olsen with a time of 15:40:148. It was so good to race on my home trails again, after racing the EWS Madeira. It really opened up my eyes to the level of riding and the trails those guys are building, it was truly inspiring. Often I hear local riders say our (RSA) trails are not good enough for an EWS but they are very wrong, they certainly are right up there. The race went really well apart from SS5 when I almost flatted at the top rock garden but thanks to my foamos I made it home with 15psi to spare and got to share my first podium with my brother! Vibes on the trails and race village was simply epic, it’s amazing to see how this awesome sport is growing. Big thanks to the EWC crew for making it happen! Robert Starke | 1st male It was so so cool too see so many people here. I think Conties is always such a nice venue because they do such a good job with the race village and its quite a vibe down there, and the trails are good, with LOTS of climbing. I was happy with how I rode and I really enjoyed it. Coming back from Europe, this is a completely different style of racing again. I punctured at the start of S5 but luckily I could make it down! Overall it was an amazing event. Franki du Toit | 1st female Full results can be found here. We try to organise events that push riders. Putting in some big climbs and gnarly downhills made us nervous. We expected a backlash. Lo and behold, we didn’t need to fret. The racers took the punch in the face like the prize fighters they are are. Well done guys and girls. You’re tough as nails. Rupert von Tutschek | President of Stage Creation and Marketing Big shout out goes to Giant Bicycles, Tygerberg MTB club, Robert Starke, Starke brews, all the marshals and volunteers, and finally to Rupert, Harry, Daniel, Jacques, Michelle and Ezanne for putting together these awesome events, and making it a huge success. Photos and words by Ewald Sadie | www.esphotography.co.za
  5. Number one: Enduro racing can help all cross country and marathon riders get faster. Looking back at how many riders some the Enduro Western Cape (EWC) team overtook on the descents during 2018 Wines2Whales, it became clear that most of the field could increase their speed significantly down all the key hills. With some simple exposure to more descending, riders could easily increase their confidence, brake less, hop over rock gardens and gain minutes on their competition. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. Number two: Trail bikes (the suggested enduro bike of choice) may be better suited to your overall riding style. Given that we're not in the Alps or Rockies, the latest enduro bike would just be overkill for most riders in South Africa. The latest round of trail bikes are so good at climbing and descending that they can be used at marathons and XCO events. Some members of the EWC team have switched their bikes for 2019 and opted for significantly less travel and chosen a bike more suited to all-around mountain biking. The key factors that make a more competent trail bike are wide handlebars, dropper seat-posts and a touch slacker head tube angle. We’re saying it now so that it can be heard in the public realm. Most SA riders choose a bike more suited to fast XCO racing, but if 50% of the field were to select a more trail-oriented bike, they'd have significantly more fun at races and actually ride better. Number three: The trails where enduros are held are riding wonderfully. Tygerberg MTB Club has continued its fantastic maintenance to its trail network and has extended their reach to Greyton. This merely means that we have an abundance of safe, fun trails to ride ourselves silly on each and every weekend. Even the City Bowl has some technical, quick post-work riding for those who reside in town. Try to keep to single track on your MTB. It helps with skill development. And go away riding for the weekend. The Cedarberg, Grootvadersbosch and The Garden Route Trail Park and fantastic fun family riding weekends away. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie. The enduro season is now underway, with the Dirtopia enduros kicking of the first half of the year - they are the perfect introduction to the discipline. After this, the EWC Enduros commence and this is when the ante up’s a couple of notches or 10. The EWC won't have a lite category this year, so all newcomers and riders wanting to get up to speed, start at the Dirtopia races to familiarise yourself with the very relaxed and fun style of riding. The EWC races are on the 9th June, 21st July and 6th October 2019 Also, remember that enduros are spectator friendly. If you thought the downs at a cross country race where exciting to watch then your family and friends need to watch you descend a stage at any of the EWC events this year. The team will be working on better spectator areas at critical points ensuring maximum visuals of the action! In summary, enduros are fun days out and very different style of mountain biking most MTBers will enjoy immensely. The value added by its skill’s development will improve riders overall capability and quite simply, we live in province perfect for Enduro and trail riding. This public service announcement brought to you by Rupert and the EWC Team. If you're enduro-curious, give us a shout and we'll help you have the most fun since the velocipede!
  6. What an end to the season it was. Jonkershoek delivering four amazing stages of racing with the iconic mountain backdrop that could fool you for a second into thinking that you’re somewhere in Europe. The fun and adrenaline did come at a price though, with riders having to climb just under 2000 metres in total, as they ascended the eastern slope of the valley pretty much from bottom to top for each stage. Bennet’s Red, The Plumber, Armageddon, and the Double Black Diamond made up the all-star list of trails for the day, wrapping up a successful 1st year of the newly founded EWC series. A series that could not have happened without the sterling efforts of Dan, Harry, Rupert, Michelle and Jacques, and of course the title sponsors Tygerberg MTB Club and Giant Bikes. On the ladies' racing front, Stellenbosch local Frankie du Toit put down the hammer from the start and took the honours with a total racing time of 24:58.486. Second place was claimed by ex-Austrian Denise Hartwig about 3.5 minutes back, with the third spot going to Suné Henning. It seemed to be the day of the locals as Matt Lombardi claimed TSD and won every stage. Lombardi conquered the four stages in a time of 21:06.415, exactly one minute ahead of 2nd place man Juri de Bruyn. Round 2 winner Robert Starke managed to claim 3rd spot, a mere 5 seconds behind de Bruyn. First light in the Jonkershoek valley Juri de Bruyn charging into 2nd place Denise Hartwig on her way to 2nd Oli Munnik Bluring Best race this year! Jonkershoek put on a show for all of us and the trails were on point. I went with my usual tactics and tried to stay consistent and smooth the whole day, aiming to sew up the series win. I pushed hard in the sections where I knew I could and just consolidated on the more blown out sections. I'm really chuffed to walk away with the overall win, series win, and TSD (total stage domination) on the day! I was certainly kept on my toes the whole day and needed to piece a good race together to stay on top. Looking forward to next season's races! Matt Lombardi | King of EWC 2018 This place never ceases to amaze. What a privilege to live here. This one was slightly tougher than usual, not just in terms of climbing but also the stages were more technical and physical, so it took a lot more out of you! I was pretty broken when I finished. I actually think we had perfect weather, it wasn’t too hot and the wind cooled you down, but it was pretty unpredictable - there were times when you would round a corner and get smacked by the wind which threw me off a bit.The event was well organised, the timing is becoming more and more efficient as the riders get used to the system and the organizers refine it. The stages provided a good challenge, so it felt like you had accomplished something when you got the bottom and had a clean run. The vibe was, as always, amazing, everyone was so stoked to be there. One of my marathon friends happened to ride in Jonkers on the day of the event and she was surprised at how happy all the riders looked and I think that sums up yesterday’s event - everyone ended on a high after a good day out at a well-organised event on amazing trails. It was also rad to ride in Jonkers, I ride there very often so it was pretty much a home race for me which is always fun. Jonkers never disappoints, it’s stunning, it’s challenging and it’s amazing to ride! Frankie du Toit | Queen of EWC 2018 From left: Coleen de Oliveira, Suné Henning, Frankie du Toit, Denise Hartwig, and Leigh Haskins. From left: Rob Starke, Dane Olsen, Matt Lombardi, Juri de Bruyn, and Luke Moir.Top 3 women: 1. Frankie du Toit - 24:58.486 (21st overall) 2. Denise Hartwig (BMT Stellenbosch) - 28:27.293 3. Suné Henning - 31:51.777 Top 3 men: 1. Matt Lombardi (Specialized) - 21:06.415 2. Juri de Bruyn (Ellsworth) - 22:06.135 3. Robert Starke - 22:11.542 Full results can be found here. A big shout out must go to all the riders that attended the three EWC races this year! It's safe to say that Enduro in the Western Cape is back on track! Spread the word, spread the stoke and let's make 2019 an even bigger success.
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