- Long distance: 51km with 1050m climbing
- Short distance: 24km with 725m climbing
Stage 1 Long: 51km with 1 050m of climbing
Kicking off from Stanford Valley the, 51 kilometre long, opening stage stars with a leg-awakening bang. Heading up the Lucerne climb riders will note it is not all easy going in the Stanford MTB Classic there are some challenges to conquer along the way too. The reward for the Lucerne climb is provided by views from Flouhoogte across the Stanford region and the descent to Paardenbergsrivier. The event’s first singletrack flows alongside the meandering Paardenbergsrivier, past Sandhoogte and into the Papiesvlei Fynbos Area. Where the trail terminates Water Point 1 awaits before Hartebeeskloof’s singletracks lead riders on a journey to Hermanuspietersfontein. No wine farm visit would be complete without a vineyard climb or two and so it is with the Stanford MTB Classic’s traverse of the Hermanuspietersfontein wine estate. Fortunately the climbs take riders back into the forests for the Skaduwee singletracks from Vredenburg to Water Point 2. Then the route winds up-river to Salmonsdam and on again, climbing all the while, to Keeromskloof. Jeep tracks though the fynbos lead riders over a neck, along an old wagon trail, to a lookout above Raka Wines. From there it is all downhill for an exhilarating run-in to the finish at Stanford Valley.
Stage 1 Short: 24km with 750m of climbing
The short route on the opening day is just 24 kilometres long, but also starts with the challenging Lucerne climb to Flouhoogte. It then descends to Paardebergrivier and crosses a dam wall, where an interesting optional extra awaits. More singletrack follows and leads to the day’s Water Point at Paardenberg. While the longer route riders head upriver from that point the short route entrants head down, following the singletracks before rejoining the route they took down from Flouhoogte to back-track and ride the Lucerne section as a thrilling descent to Stanford Valley.
Relive Stage 1 (Long Route)
- Long distance: 43km with 822m climbing
- Short distance: 27km with 570m climbing
Stage 2 Long: 43km with 822m of climbing
The second stage of the Stanford MTB Classic features a 43 kilometre long route, which should ensure riders are back at Stanford Valley in time for an early lunch and prize giving – before hitting the road for home. It too starts with the now infamous Lucerne climb, though it heads up a little higher on the Stage 2 in order to provide views over Walkerbay in the distance. The descent through the fynbos then takes riders through the Oakgrove trails to Vaalvlei where Naas Terblanche will be waiting with a little something to taste; and if you would like to stay and chat you’ll find he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fynbos frogs. From Naas’s Vaalvlei, the route meanders to Honeybee farm and the Modderrivier. There the Groen Weidings singletracks lead riders to Water Point 1, after crossing the R326 at Boschheuvel. A short while and a crossing of the Kleinrivier later the routes split.
The longer route heads in the direction of Stanford itself taking the scenic route through the Weltevrede, Stanford Hills and Sir Robert Stanford estates. Vineyard roads and singletracks make up the kilometres across those illustrious farms and take riders all the way to Water Point 2 at the Birkenhead Brewery’s tasting room. A fun downhill links Birkenhead with the gravel back-road to Kleinrivier Cheese were longer route riders will start to catch up to their short route brethren.
Stage 2 Short: 27km with 600m of climbing
The short route, which takes in 27 kilometres on the final day of the Stanford MTB Classic, starts once more with the Lucerne climb. It heads up a little higher on the Stage 2 though, in order to provide views over Walkerbay in the distance. The descent through the fynbos then takes riders through the Oakgrove trails to Vaalvlei where Naas Terblanche will be waiting with a little something to taste; and if you would like to stay and chat you’ll find he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fynbos frogs. From Naas’s Vaalvlei, the route takes riders to Honeybee farm and the Modderrivier. There the Groen Weidings singletracks lead riders to the Water Point, after crossing the R326 at Boschheuvel. Crossing the Kleinrivier a short while later, the short route riders join a quiet gravel road from the Kleinrivier crossing past Kleinrivier Cheese. Then it’s singletrack virtually all the way back to Stanford Valley, along the Philipskop’ San Rock Art, Witwater and Bluegum trails to the Kleinrivier below the race village. The final stretch includes a climb from the river and a duck through a culvert under the R326 to lead riders home to Stanford Valley.