Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen
From the arid desert scapes of the Groot Karoo to the great mountains of the Klein Karoo and the aboriginal forests of the Garden Route, the Cape Pioneer has it all, a truly African mountain biking experience. The magic lies in the unique combination of exciting, diverse trails, passionate people and authentic human connection, brought to you by world-class event organisers.
Prologue: we had to bring this one back – too many requests could not be ignored. The prologue route is the most spectacular in years – it consists of a newly-built single and jeep-track, hand-built by passionate George Mountain bikers. This ride will be an absolute hit, with exhilarating fast flowing trails with sharp climbs and steep descends. There are many viewpoints for spectators along the route which makes it easy to follow and cheer riders along. The distance for 2023 is increased to 27 km with just over 450 meters of total vertical ascent, nothing major in climbing which makes this a fast and furious opening to the 2023 #RaceWithSoul
Start at Glenwood House School, George. Finish 27km later back at the school with 450m of elevation.
Stage 1 will take riders through the amazing Jonkersberg Nature Reserve, riding on exquisite trails, some newly built, some legendary in the area. This is a stage everyone will look forward to and will leave with great memories, the true essence of mountain biking personified. This primarily single-track stage can easily be underestimated due to the relatively short distance, don’t be fooled this day will keep you very busy. Truly a spectacular stage with views of George and the ocean close by, this promises to be the highlight for those purists among us. Spectators can once again join in the fun with various points along the route accessible to friends and family.
Start at Glenwood House School, George. Finish 55km later back at the school with 1 850m of elevation. The cut-off is 6 hours from the start.
On Stage 2, we leave the coast and head towards the interior, the route taking riders in a northerly direction towards Louvain, our hosts for the next two days. Loads of marvellous single-track riding for the first 25 kilometres in the Witfontein Nature Reserve, and then onto the iconic Montagu Mountain Pass, with a twist we might add. Over the mountain onto Herold, a sleepy village on the Northern slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains, adjacent to some of the best-kept secrets in mountain biking. We head east onto trails so lovingly built and kept by the passionate people at Louvain. You will be blown away by this day, although challenging, always rewarding.
Start at Glenwood House School, George. Finish 81km later back at Louvain Guest Farm, Herold. 1 950m of elevation. The cut-off is 7 hours from the start.
Stage 3 is a brand new stage ridden for the first time in 2022 and back for 2023 is something to behold. Stage three kicks off with a challenging climb up Duiwelskop, at the top, the Indian Ocean below creates a fabulous backdrop. Riders take an easterly turn towards Uniondale onto a mountain track rarely used this century, then north towards Eagles Falls and Buffelsdrift, just passing by the southern foothills of the Kammanassie, towards the river carrying the same name. New trails, challenging climbs, fabulous views onto a finish at Louvain. What a day!
Start at Louvain Guest Farm, Herold. Finish 63km later back at Louvain Guest Farm, Herold. 1 400m of elevation. The cut-off is 6 hours from the start.
Today we head to Oudtshoorn – we have an absolute treat in store for you on stage 4, this year we are taking a different angle during the latter part of the stage. Upon leaving Louvain, within the first few kilometres, the track heads upwards on a challenging early-morning climb – the view makes up for the effort. Descending towards water point 1 and then onto the Kammanassie River for the climb of the day out of the riverbed towards water point 2. The route passes Dysselsdorp and the exit of the valley onto Lidikwe Reserve, a special treat on the route to the finish. The change in climate and terrain is evident as we enter the arid desert-like Karoo; riders approach Oudtshoorn from a different angle as we find our way towards Langenhoven Gymnasium, our hosts for the next couple of days.
Start at Louvain Guest Farm, Herold. Finish 90km later at Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn. 1 650m of elevation. The cut-off is 8 hours from the start.
Stage 5 will have to stay, even though rated as one of the most challenging it has often been praised as the best – 2023 is no different, a new section will make this day slightly more challenging but still very rewarding. The mighty Swartberg Mountain is not accommodating, often not allowing riders to the top, and treacherous and extreme weather is always in play. The Queen stage will be challenging, but those views make up for the effort. It will elevate riders more than 2000 meters vertically finishing at close to 2000m above the sea. At the start, this stage leaves Oudtshoorn in an easterly direction negotiating the foothills of this great mountain as riders slowly find their way to the top. The final 8km is straight up to the best finish of any mountain bike race – the World Heritage site of Swartberg Mountain welcomes everyone to its beauty and splendour. The overall yellow and pink jersey wearers should be decided here, tomorrow is another day.
Start at Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn. Finish 90km later at Swartberg Mountain, Oudtshoorn. 2 300m of elevation. The cut-off is 8 hours from the start.
Stage 6, often regarded as one of the best, capping a week of fabulous riding is revisited this year. Most notable is the fast start which will separate the field and could determine the overall outcome. Of course, Chandelier is still on the cards, but with a twist, enough said, it is all about having fun and celebrating the achievements of the week gone by. 60 km of jeep-track up, single-track down! A fast race to the finish at the Queens Hotel caps a brilliant week in the saddle – until 2023.
Start at Langenhoven Gimnasium, Oudtshoorn. Finish 66km later at Queens Hotel, Oudtshoorn. 1 250m of elevation. The cut-off is 6 hours from the start.
Click here for all the details about the Cape Pioneer Trek.