Val de Vie Estate, Paarl
More and more value at EAI Val de Vie MTB, presented by Bestmed!
With a route that is second to none, a wonderful venue and the best waterpoints you’ll find anywhere in the sport, it’s little wonder that the EAI Val de Vie Mountain Bike Challenge, presented by Bestmed, attracted almost 1000 riders in its inaugural year in 2012.
On 24 November all these elements of race organisation will again be in place, but besides two new title sponsors in Bestmed and EAI, other new sponsors Rudy Project are adding more than R150 000 in prizes up for grabs, a free Rudy Project T-Shirt (valued at R180) to the first 500 entrants and a R200 discount voucher to all entrants on their next Rudy Project Eyewear, Rudy Project helmet, Sidi shoes, Scicon Bike Bag or Ftech ASG kit purchase.
R10 of every entry is donated to the Cancer Association of South Africa.
The popular event this year boasts various route improvements and wonderful added features – including a trip past the house where Nelson Mandela was held captive in the Drakenstein prison.
Cyclists will ride through the prison to the Mandela Statue at the entrance where a photographer will be on hand to capture the special moment. From there they will cycle to the house where Mandela was held, through the yard and out the prison’s back gate.
Cape Nature has given the race the go-ahead to use vast sections of their land, and this has opened some wonderful terrain, including a stunning viewpoint. From the viewpoint there is a wicked 3km descent which is tricky but awesome.
Cape Nature’s approvals as well as Pearl Valley Estate allowing the event thoroughfare means that there won be any double backing on the way back to Val de Vie.
There were a few contrived sections last year on the way back where cyclists passed each other out and back, but these have now all been circumvented.
The waterpoints at the inaugural Val de Vie MTB Challenge left an indelible impression on riders and this year will be no different.
Partners that have come on board already with the waterpoints include Cipla Nutrition, Vrede Foundation, Freedom Hill Farm, Durr Farm, Raw Nutrition, Val De Vie Estate, Organic Energy, Virgin Active, Drakenstein Prison, Ion Camera (Premium brands).
The EAI Val De Vie MTB Challenge, presented by Bestmed, became a highlight on the mountain-bike calendar immediately after the inaugural event last year.
It is regarded as an premier race and the organisers are expecting significantly more participants this year than the more than 1 000 that took part in 2012.
The Val de Vie, situated between Paarl and Franschoek in the picturesque Boland winelands, caters for the entire family and allows cyclists to experience the Paarl wine valley in all its glory.
The riders follow a route over 21 wine farms and estates and have access to properties that they won’t be able to see at other times of the year.
The race is aimed at providing fun and an exciting tour of the area. Every aspect is planned to add up to a social, fun-filled day: the routes, water points, and entertainment.
A venue such as Val De Vie and other wine farms with their polo grounds and premier wines, the stunning landscape of manicured vineyards and homesteads and everything else just add to the exhilarating “down and dirty” mountain-bike race.
5km kiddies race
The little ones take their bikes on a fun-filled adventure ride within the secure Val De Vie estate. They ride through vineyards and past stables. Gladiator castles, clowns, vibey water points and cartoon characters will cheer them on. Receiving their finisher’s medals at the end will give them a reminder of a truly special day.
The 30km distance is an exciting event that incorporates some of the best trails the area has to offer. Special features and water points will bring out tons of fun. Cycling through vineyards, the riders will experience breathtaking views and negotiate features that add up to a sense of accomplishment and fun.
60 Km route
This route incorporates the best of Paarl and will take cyclists on a journey never to be forgotten, winding through 21 wine farms and private estates that incorporate history as well as beauty. The organisers have ensured that, besides the amazing views, fun at the water points and excellent riding features, participants will face a challenge worth every drop of sweat.
- Traversing through more than 25 vineyards
- Cycling over natural streams, including the source of Durr spring water
- Amazing descents and spectacular views from mountain tops
- Experiencing cycling through the grounds of Victor Verster Prison where Nelson Mandel was held, having an picture taken at the Mandela statue and cycling through the grounds of the home where he was held
- Wine tasting at water points
- Grape stomping
- Vibey stop-overs at water points managed by companies such as Red Bull and Virgin
- Experiencing the beauty of the Cape’s nature
- Cycling past the famous polo stables at Val De Vie, along the banks of the main field and restaurant and past cheering supporters to the finish
- Experiencing the Val De Vie market
- A variety of top-quality food and snacks at the Polo restaurant or picnicking on the banks of the polo fields.
Many of the farms the that the riders will see are not usually open to the public but the organisers have built strong relationships with the owners and have been given access to the properties.
Excellent route marking, lead and sweep vehicles, medical staff and marshals are backed up by support staff along every section of the route to ensure all cyclists are safe and every need is attended to. Mechanical issues will be sorted out within minutes by the technical support staff.
Start and finish area
The start and finish area is part of the experience, thanks to many special features:
- Top-quality start/finish shoot
- Easy access to parking , entertainment and restroom facilities
- Spectator-friendly area
- Bike-wash area where a friendly staff member will take your bike as you finish , wash it and return it within minutes
- Vibey entertainment and an MC to keep everyone excited
- Polo coaches and horses for those wanting to try out this sport
- Kiddies play area that will be monitored and manned
- Picnic area
- Photograph area where you can order pictures that were taken along the route
- Merchandise area
- Exciting give-aways and competitions
- Wine tasting area.