As people, we live for experiences. Novel situations that make us see things in a different way or adapt ourselves to a new challenge or environment. Mountain biking is a great medium through which to have these experiences and many mountain biking events will seek to package their experience offerings in such a way as to deliver that novelty, often by the choice of route.
One event that has done this superbly is the Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek stage race. Over the course of this 7 day ride you can expect an expertly crafted route that will allow you to explore some of the most beautiful Western Cape scenes you’ll ever see, coupled with premium hospitality at the start and end of each day so you can just sink into the flow and spend your time off the bike totally relaxed.
With a small batch of just over 100 riders things don’t feel too crowded in the race village or on the trails and, being an event presented by Biogen, you’ll be treated like a pro athlete on the stages, having all the fuel you could need on hand for maximum enjoyment! 2023 will be the Cape Pioneer Trek’s 14th edition and it’s at its best ever, here’s why.
An iconic route, yet it’s never static
If we are talking about novel experiences on our bikes, it all starts with the route. A great route will take you places few have been. It will challenge you but also reward your efforts. The Cape Pioneer Trek route changes each year (as is required with all UCI-graded stage races) and while keeping the route fresh and ever evolving, the organisers have managed to create some iconic features that form part of the event’s DNA; such as stunning forest single track at Saasveld, the historic Montagu Pass and a stage finish on top of the mighty Swartberg Pass.
Proceedings begin with a 27 km / 450 m prologue time trial stage. From then on the main stages range in distance from 55 km to 90 km with elevations ranging from 1200 to 1900 meters gained (bar the 2300 m stage 5, finishing atop Swartberg Pass).
The days balance challenge and enjoyment with finesse. Most participants will be able to race them at the intensity they prefer and not simply be out there trying to survive.
2 events, both offering great value
You can get yourself ready for a true Dryland experience at this full service stage race. For those who can’t secure a full week off work or aren’t quite ready to tackle the full Cape Pioneer Trek (as well as E-Bike riders), the four-day race starts from Stage 3 and includes the formidable ascent of the Swartberg Pass on Stage 5.
The 7 day event kicks off in the Saasveld singletracks and includes the magnificent Montagu pass ascent, world-class Witfontein trails, Jonkersberg Nature reserve and all the good stuff in between.
The 4 day Adventure event entry fee is R28 500 per team and the 7 day ride R52 500, both of which offer phenomenal value for the experience and hospitality you will be enjoying. Both of those entry fees include all meals; from lunch on the prologue day until the final day for a celebratory meal once you’re done! Speaking of those meals, the food here is excellent.
You will eat well, no doubt about it
Stage-race food and water has been known to create havoc. While there’s always a risk, the Cape Pioneer Trek’s culinary team and meticulous attention to detail by Rene Rademeyer, wife of event co-founder Henco, takes exceptional care with sourcing, storing and preparation of food and water to ensure excellence on and off your bike.
Really owning it
That attention to detail and top class experience go beyond just the food, event owners Carel Herholdt, Bernard le Roux, and Henco who we just mentioned, have all been actively involved since inception in 2009 to make sure their baby runs just as envisioned! It is something that you feel when you’re there and speaks to the unique value offered by this amazing stage race experience.
What about my stomach on the bike?
Rest assured, you can plan your stage with only essential supplements on the bike, knowing that at each water point, you get a full range of popular endurance riding snacks, as well as high-quality energy bars and gels from Biogen. You’ll even find beautifully braaied Ostrich steak, cooked to perfection by Carel. You’ll be grateful to not have loaded pockets on the bike and your taste buds will be glad for it as well!
The VIP experience, for everyone
There is a VIP area at the Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen. The VIP area takes up the entire race village because everyone is a VIP. There’s no segregation at the #RaceWithSoul where every rider and supporter is treated with the same respect and gratitude.
Unity in the community at Cape Pioneer Trek
Each town that hosts a stage puts in a big effort to support the event before, during and after the race. From passionate town support to local schools hosting the race village, the Cape Pioneer Trek not only boosts the local economy but also receives a small-town spirit that will fuel your journey with love!
Heritage is important
After 13 editions and 91 stages, the Cape Pioneer Trek has established itself as one of the most significant mountain bike events in South Africa. For most, it’s a classy high-quality event that offers value for money and an excellent all-round experience, while for the professionals, it’s a well thought out race that offers solid prize money, good media coverage and UCI points.
Options for luxury!
There are four levels of accommodation at the Cape Pioneer Trek: Standard Red Tent (sleeps one); Silver Upgrade Luxury Tent (sleeps one or two); Gold Upgrade – Guest House & B&B accommodation (sleeps one or two); Platinum Upgrade – Guest House and Hotel accommodation (sleeps one or two). This is all managed by the event organisers (including shuttles to and from the race village), leaving you to simply book the accommodation that suits your budget and enjoy the experience.
As far as stage races go, the Cape Pioneer Trek is the whole package. Killer route, superb hospitality, an intimate race village and more. To find out more or to secure your entry for the 2023 Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, head over to capepioneer.co.za
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