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  1. With blue skies, green vineyards and view for days the stage has been set for what will be yet another breathtaking 2-day event in nature. As has become tradition, the event will start and finish on Delvera Farm and will include the best trails and single track the greater Simonsberg Conservancy has to offer. Meurant Botha welcomes riders from Fairtree Capital, riders from the BMT Academy, representatives from Jan Kriel School (a beneficiary of the event) and other mountain biking stalwarts. For the recce ride, the group of riders headed out to the well-known blue route on Delvera Farm. The short, but punchy climb was rewarded with views of the Simonsberg Mountains and surrounding vineyards as well as Cape Town’s own Table Mountain. Even for a social ride, it wasn’t too long before riders dipped into the flowing descent and were chasing each other’s dust clouds. The MTB two-day event will take place on 2 & 3 Feb 2019 with a 60km and 40km route on offer for both Saturday and Sunday, with the two day’s riding, which forms part of the 2019 ABSA Cape Epic route, taking place on separate trails on the vast network. Do both days, mix it up or do only one day - your choice! Participants can look forward to a big chill area after their ride, with showers, a bike park, bike wash & lube station and a massage service on offer. There will also be a kiddies entertainment area with the option for supporters to join for lunch by buying a food ticket. And yes, great coffee and the best beers will be served on the day. With roughly 12km of singletrack on Day 1 and 26km of singletrack on Day 2, just shy of 50% of the day’s riding will be on the narrow stuff! Because there is so much singletrack, rider numbers are limited to 550 entries to ensure a premium rider experience. There will be no better time to be out in the Winelands as harvest season will be in full swing so do not delay to get your entries in as they will certainly sell out. ROUTE PROFILES Day 1 – Route Description: Saturday’s route has seen the removal of most of the long gravel sections with more singletrack added to both distances. That said, the day remains consistent with our goal of having an easier day than Day 2.Various sections of singletrack and the blue route on Delvera with boardwalks offer non-technical alternative to some of the gnarly sections and rock gardens. Those who enjoy more technical riding are welcome to tame the rougher sections on the route. Saturday’s long route will see at least 7km of additional singletrack compared to last year! As can be seen from the profiles there are many undulations, but the elevations are less severe. Day 1: Long Route Distance: 55km, Elevation: 1380m Day 1: Short Route Distance: 42km, Elevation: 960m Day 2 – Route Description: We are not messing too much with what has become a winning formula: more than 25 singletrack sections showcasing the best of the Simonsberg Trail system. Long route riders head up to Never Say Neverending Again section where 2 Spring seasons has settled the trail into what must be the premier trail in the region. This 10km singletrack is one of the longest continuous pieces of trail in the Western Cape and offers unsurpassed views of the Boland and Peninsula. The Fairtree Contour is the only event that uses this trail as part of its route and the fact that numbers are limited, and we reach the trail after 42km of riding, makes it an enjoyable experience for all. Although the elevation at around 1500 m for the long route is considerable, the climbing is not intense and very manageable. That said, the Long Route is not for inexperienced riders! Those who opt for the shorter route will do most sections apart from Never Say Neverending Again, and can expect a punchy, singletrack infested morning with lots of smiles! Day 2: Long Route Distance: 58km, Elevation: 1550m Day 2: Short Route Distance: 41km, Elevation: 1050m All entries include a daily breakfast snack with coffee, Zebonkey beer and lunch. Early bird entries close on 31 December 2018. Go to www.fairtreecontour.co.za and for more info, contact Dirtopia at info@fairtreecontour.co.za or the Trail Centre on Delvera at Tel:021 884 4752. To stay in touch on social media, follow or like: Facebook: https://www.facebook...onsbergcontour/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dirtopia Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtreecontour
  2. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and event organisers Dirtopia to showcase and expand the expansive singletrack trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain. A field of 400 riders traversed more than 30 single track sections covering over 40km in the 2018 race. Former ABSA Cape Epic winner, Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek clinched the 2018 champion’s trophy in 4:42:26, with multiple USA champion Jeremiah Bishop second in 4:42:37 and three-time World Marathon Champion, Alban Lakata third in 4:42:50. The King of the Mountains trophy went to Belgium rider Frans Claes who rode the 2km uphill in only 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Ariane Luthi impressed with her riding over the two-day event finishing first on both days and winning the 2km Queen of the Mountain uphill sprint in a fast 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Her overall time was 5:21:29 secured her the Fairtree Contour Simonsberg ladies’ champion trophy for the second year running. Defending ABSA Epic champions teammates Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss finished overall second and third in 5:28:30 and 5:30:04 respectively. Although Jennie stuck with Ariane at the outset of the race, Esther caught up about 44km into the race on the downhill and finished 10 meters ahead of her teammate today. The 40km men’s race was won by Durbanville youngster, Juan Louw in 3:57:27 with Morne van Greunen second in 4:07:13 and Unathi Msophi third in 4:31:31. In the 40km ladies’ race, it was Nikki Biesheuvel first in 4:54:23, Karla Fletcher second in 4:58:11 and Robyn Tully third in 5:18:25. BMT Academy rider Luyanda Thobigunya finished overall sixth both days in 2:29 and 2:38 respectively and received the award for the most promising development rider. According to Fairtree Capital, the company is proud to be associated with such a world-class event that saw top class international riders bracing the podium this weekend. Herman Sandrock of Fairtree Capital complimented route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia for keeping the race challenging and tough over the past three years, while honouring landowners for their vision of opening up their farms for the route. Next weekend (10 and 11 February) The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Trail Run Stage Race will give trail runners the opportunity to race in a unique conservation area right at the start of the annual stage race season. Starting and finishing from the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera, the event runs over two days. The entry fee includes timing, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal. A total purse of R10 000 will be up for grabs for the overall winners with equal prize money for the ladies and men. Only runners, who complete both days of the same distance, qualify for prizes and trophies. No prizes will be awarded to those who mix their distances or complete one day. For trail run entries visit www.dirtopia.co.za or www.fairtreecontour.co.za and for mountain bike race results www.trailtag.co.za.
  3. Former ABSA Cape Epic winner, Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek won the 60km men’s race in 2:16:52, with multiple USA champion Jeremiah Bishop second in 2:17:05 and three time World Marathon Champion, Alban Lakata third in 2:17:11. Czech and European marathon champion, Kristian Hynek (middle) won the 60km men's race with Jeremiah Bishop (right) second and Alban Lakata (right) third. Erik Kleinhans, lead from the start and clinched the King of the Mountain title as the fastest man on the 2km time trial uphill section about 30km into the race. Unfortunately, a puncture caused him to lose a lot of time and hampered his chances of a podium win. Erik Kleinhans was crowned King of the Mountains. Ariane Luthi took convincing line honours in the ladies race in a time of 2:34:14 and applauded race organisers for a more challenging single track route with great climbing sections. Day 1 ladies winner Ariane Luthi Jennie Stenerhag who won the Queen of the Mountain title finished second in 2:39:22 with ABSA Cape Epic teammate Esther Suss in third. Jennie Stenerhag and Esther Suss. The 40km men’s race was won by Durbanville youngster, Juan Louw in 1:52:50 with Guy de Cafmeyer in 1:57:25 first veteran and second overall and Morne van Greunen third in 1:58:53. In the 40km ladies’ race it was Nikki Biesheuvel first in 2:20:26 with Karla Fletcher second in 2:23:16 and Robyn Tully third. According to Fairtree Capital, the company is proud to be associated with such a world class event that saw top class international riders bracing the podium today. The overall winners will be announced following tomorrow’s second stage of the Fairtree Contour Simonsberg Stage Race. For complete results visit www.trailtag.co.za and find Sunday’s race information on www.fairtreecontour.co.za
  4. According to event co-ordinator and route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia, riders can look forward to a trails festival of note with more than 30 singletrack sections covering over 40km across the 2 day event on 3 and 4 February 2018. “There is simply no way of providing a rewarding singletrack experience when the field gets too big. Most events try and remedy the situation by making the trails smoother and less technical, ultimately detracting from the rider experience.” To further enhance the rider experience, each distance are sent off in 2 batches, with CSA members going off first each day. Riders who are unsure whether they are technically proficient enough to enter the event are urged to sample the Simonsberg trail system over the holidays and get their permits from the Delheim, Muratie or Delvera trail heads. Permits are also available online at www.dirtpass.co.za. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and event organisers Dirtopia to showcase and expand the expansive singletrack trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain. Stage 1 of the 2018 route will cover less farm road sections, as route design is focussed on expanding on the legal, open-7-days-a-week trails. The Dirtopia trails team is currently building new sections that will add greatly to the diversity of the first day’s route. “To ensure that riders have a pleasurable yet competitive race, we have decided to limit rider numbers to 350 riders on each of the 40km and 60km distance options every day. While the route offers ample opportunity for riders to spread out before entering the first sections of trail, we want to offer participants ideal conditions for an amazing experience,” says Botha. The mountain has recovered spectacularly following the devastating fire in 2016, which damaged 90% of the trails and destroyed large sections of the forest canopy and participants can look forward to spectacular scenery. Longer route riders can expect around 1500m elevation, while the shorter route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. A detailed route map and description is available online at www.fairtreecontour.co.za. Riders can customise their entry and opt for the following variations: 60km both days (R975), 40km both days (R825), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R875), 60km Saturday and 40km on Sunday (R875), 60km one day only (R495) or 40km one day only (R420). Entry fees include a goody bag, breakfast snack, coffee, lunch daily, bike park with lube station, on route technical support by BMT, fully stocked refreshment stations with BOS hydration, live timing and a medal. A total purse of R40 000 will be up for grabs in 2018 with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days. As an Early Bird Special, all entry fees will remain the same as 2017 entry fees until 31 December 2017. In 2017, the event was expanded to include the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race Trail Run starting and finishing from the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera on 10 and 11 February. Entry fees vary according to route selection and whether runners opt for one or both days: 25km both days (R650.00), 12km both days (R500), 12km and 25km respectively (R580.00), 12km on either day (R270) or the 7km fun run on the Sunday (R175). The entry fee includes timing, a goody bag, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal. Runners familiar to Delvera’s trail runs must not expect the same routes as normally used for the popular trail runs hosted at this venue. Routes have been swopped around completely and on day 1 runners in the 25km do the entire ascent of the Klapmutskop, the only annual opportunity to do so in a trail run. This requires climbing a few steps towards the end of the first climb as we enter the hiking trail routes on the koppie. The reward is stunning views over the Boland from an elevation of 523m. The 15km runners do not do the entire climb to the top, making for a slightly easier ascent but they still top out at around 400m above sea level. On Sunday runners head for the Simonsberg, and riders can expect a new approach route to eliminate some of the duplication that occurred in 2017. Entries are limited so enter online www.dirtopia.co.za to avoid disappointment. Meal vouchers can also be booked for family members and friends who would like to come and support and wait at the finish carnival with loads of kids’ entertainment.
  5. The aim for day 1 is to create a faster and technically easier day before Sunday’s single-track extravaganza. In a complete redesign of last year’s first stage, riders will head northeast and explore the farms on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg between Klapmuts and Simondium. Riders who participated in the 2016 Absa Cape Epic will catch glimpses of the final day’s Stage 7 as riders cross from Boschendal to Delvera. Apart from various single-track sections around Klapmutskop, most of the routing is on farm roads and will make for fast riding. In terms of elevation, long route riders can expect a relatively easy day with around 1280m of climbing according to Google Earth, with a distance of 58km. Short route riders can expect around 950m of climbing for the 40km option. Just note that the route does not take in the more technical blue/black single-track on Klapmutskop. On day 2 the route heads into the trails with the Contour being the only event that utilises the ‘Never Say Neverending Again’ Trail in the Simonsberg, that at 10km is one of the longest continuous pieces of trail in the Western Cape and offers unsurpassed views of the Boland and Peninsula. ‘We have also added more flow in the Knorhoek region of Day 2’s route to eliminate some of the stinging ascents and replacing them with single-track. We are also excited to announce that Distell’s Groenhof Farm is becoming part of the permanent trail network and that we’ll be launching new single-track with the 2017 Contour” continues Botha. With more than 26km of single-track on Day 2, just shy of 50% of the days riding will be on the narrow stuff! Race distance for day two is approximately 57km and elevation between 1500 and 1600m. Due to the high volume of single-track, rider numbers to this race are limited to ensure a premium rider experience, so do not delay to get your entries in as only pre-entries are taken. Nicknamed “TheFireRide” after the inaugural event in 2016, the start & finish are at the Agri-tourism village of Delvera just outside Stellenbosch. The region is famous for its top wines and beautiful trails, views, and spectacular scenery. All entrants are treated at registration with a free T-shirt, race, event sweatband, bottle of Delheim or Muratie wine and a breakfast snack with coffee/tea on race mornings. At the finish line, they can look forward to a free bike wash, craft beer, lunch, massage, warm shower and chill out areas with even kiddies entertainment. BOS Sport will support the refreshment stations as hydration partner on the routes and at the finish line for both weekends. Top riders like Team Spur’s Ariane Luthi are already entered with many other top pros also expected to make an appearance as they start preparing for the stage race season. Fairtree Capital added: "We are very proud to be associated with the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour and are very excited to welcome riders for the second edition of the ‘Fire Ride’. After recently testing the trails ourselves, we can attest that the Dirtopia team and the landowners have done an incredible job in preparing the trails and that all participants are in for two fantastic days of mountain biking!” Trail runners get their own two-day stage race on the 11th & 12th of February, with daily 25km and 12km options. Runners will also love the singletrack in the Simonsberg Conservancy and vineyard trails, with a fun short route of 7km added on the Sunday morning. The same offering of T-shirt, wine, food and entertainment will be available for runners too! Entries and all for all events on www.dirtopia.co.za or contact Dirtopia Trail Centre on Delvera at info@dirtopia.co.za or 021 884 4752
  6. Riders that are fortunate enough to be part of the second Fairtree Simonsberg Contour two-day stage race on 4 & 5 February, will have a special experience on the trails, prepared by route designer Meurant Botha of Dirtopia. “The route team has been working hard to finalise the first stage for the 2017 Contour” says Botha. Click here to view the article
  7. After the devastating fire of January 2016, the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB stage race overcame serious challenges and presented riders with a premier winelands riding experience. In February 2017, Fairtree Capital in collaboration with the Simonsberg Conservancy, landowners and Stellenbosch event organisers Dirtopia, will present riders with the 2nd edition of ‘The Fire Ride’ where riders will get a chance to experience the recovering Simonsberg Conservancy. Click here to view the article
  8. The 2017 event is set to take place on the 4th & 5th of February 2017. The Fairtree Contour has been created to continue the development of mountain biking routes and expose the incredible network of single-track trails on the SImonsberg Mountain. With over 25km of mountain single-track, connecting more than 10 wine estates, the region is set to become a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders. Dirtopia has spent the last 3 years developing new routes on Delheim and Muratie wine estates. These trails are now operated in partnership with the landowners and the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy being the primary beneficiary. The conservancy represents more than 20 farms around the mountain and is currently focused on a multi-million rand alien clearing project to return large tracts of the mountain to fynbos and renosterveld. In terms of routing; route designer Meurant Botha says riders can look forwards to even more new trails for the 2017 race. Primarily, last year’s rerouted stage 1 will be redesigned to incorporate more of the Simonsberg with the emphasis on making it the faster, easier route of the two. Sunday’s Queen Stage returns with new trails to eliminate one or two of the lung-busting vineyard climbs and replace them with flowing trails. The trail team is set to start construction in October, gearing up for a hot summer of building. While the final route will be launched later this year, riders can expect daily stages of 55-60km each with around 1500m of elevation. Botha emphasised that the focus will be on a fun, trail experience, a perfect opener for the stage race season. The daily 40km option allows less fit trail fanatics to enjoy the riding experience. There is no better time to be out in the winelands as harvest season will be in full swing in surrounding vineyards. Each participant will receive the following: Event t-shirt Goody bag Morning coffee, breakfast snack and daily lunch buffet Daily bike wash & lube service BOS Sport will continue as the events hydration partner. Riders can look forwards to enjoying the BOS range at the refreshment stations and finish area. The refreshment stations were a huge hit with the riders in 2016, fully stocked with a wide range of savoury snacks and fruit. Delvera Farm, well known for its family friendly atmosphere, will be the host venue where visitors can expect to kids entertainment, showers, a massage service, craft beer and of course tasting the region's award winning wines. Entries: • Long option (60km/day): R975 in total for both days • Short option (40km/day):R825 in total for both daysClick here to enter www.dirtopia.co.za from 4th October. Entries will be limited to 600 riders. For more info, contact Dirtopia at info@dirtopia.co.za or 021 884 4752
  9. The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour was a drive for trail expansion in the Simonsberg Conservancy and during stage 2 riders enjoyed more than 10km of new singletrack. The race venue was Delvera outsider Stellenbosch. Just more than a week ago most of the Simonsberg Mountain and the mountain bike trails burnt extensively in fire that raged for more almost a week. The damage was very visible on route and all the riders marvelled at the fact that the race took place despite it all. “It was much better than what I expected after the fire,” said Louw, who won both stages. “You have to respect the work Meurant Botha and his team has done.” Youngster Jurgens Uys and Belgian Ken van den Bulke joined Louw on the overall winner’s podium. Nicky Giliomee won the women’s race. Michelle Lombardi and Ann Harrison joined her on the winner’s podium on day two. Ariane Kleinhans won stage 1, but took a wrong turn on day two and ended up on the short route. Uys said that day two’s route was a bit more of a challenge than first stage. “There was this one long climb which was a quite a breath-taker,” said Uys. “Today we could see the extensive damage the fire caused. The Fire Ride for sure. Meurant Botha and his team really did an amazing job making sure we could ride here. I’m certain every single rider appreciate what they did very much.” The legendary Michelle Lombardi could not stop smiling when talking about the stage. “The routes were absolutely amazing. Tough for sure, but really awesome. All the fire damage added something different to the race and I think the photos will be special. Riders must keep what they saw today and yesterday in the memory banks for when it all is green again and we can ride all the trails we are used to…”
  10. Adriaan Louw and Nicky Giliomee won the inaugural Fairtree Simonsberg Contour mountain bike stage race. This two-day race gave the riders a chance to see for themselves why the race was affectionately renamed to “The Fire Ride” after the Simonsberg fire. Click here to view the article
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