Heaven on earth at Nissan TrailSeeker Hemel & Aarde


The third leg in the new Western Cape Nissan TrailSeeker Series will take place this weekend in the picturesque Hemel and Aarde valley near Hermanus. Directly translated as “heaven on earth” the Hemel & Aarde valley is not only a gem when it comes to the picturesque landscapes and fantastic wines in the region, the exquisite hand built trails are equally attractive. The mountain bike trails around the coastal town of Hermanus are some of the most under-rated trails in the country. But on Saturday, they’ll be highly appreciated when over 1000 mountain bikers tackle them at the Nissan TrailSeeker Hemel & Aarde event.

New to the Western Cape in 2015, the Nissan TrailSeeker Series creates safe, fun mountain bike events that help create a trail legacy for the areas that host its events, either through increased awareness or assistance with building new sections of trail for the events, which then remain to be enjoyed thereafter. The exclusive trails in the region are normally reserved for hefty price tag stage races, but this weekend the addition of special never ridden before sections that have been added just for this event will open these trails to everyone lucky enough to have an entry. The route is well balanced with winding single track, breathtaking views and fast downhills as you take in the views of the ocean while riding at the foot of the mountain.

With the results of Round 1 being nullified due to route markings being moved and removed, Round 2 at Grabouw gave Western Cape mountain bikers their first complete Nissan TrailSeeker experience and the route was highly praised by both top finishers and back-markers.

Candice Neethling (Pam Golding/Freewheel Cycology) and Adriaan Louw (Contego Swift) won the women and men’s marathon titles respectively, but will both be under pressure this weekend to defend their respective leads in the series, which doubles as the 2015 Western Cape Provincial Marathon Series. Cross Country specialist and household name Philip Buys from Scott LCB will also be in action as well as Swedish marathon specialist Jennie Stenerhag from Ascendis Health.

There are four distances on offer, all starting and finishing at Sumaridge Estate Wines, nestled in the scenic Hemel & Aarde Valley. As was the case with Round 2, there will be a fairly generous amount of climbing, but the subsequent descending on some fun, flowing singletrack will be the reward.

The 65km marathon has an elevation gain of 1500m, while the 37km half marathon has 800m of total ascent. Even the 20km fun race (400m) and the 10km fun ride (200m) have their share of gradient, which organisers say will be “moderately challenging in scenic surrounds”.

As with all Nissan TrailSeeker events, the race venue will cater for all ages and offers supporters and spectators a comfortable, relaxed environment to enjoy while they wait for their mountain bikers to enjoy the trails.

Online entries have closed, but late entries will be taken at registration on Friday and Saturday.

Nissan TrailSeeker Hemel & Aarde schedule of events:
Venue: Sumaridge Wine Estate

Friday, 9 October at City Cycles, Canal Walk 09h00–13h00
Friday, 9 October at Eoudia Cycles, Hermanus 16h00–19h00
Saturday, 10 October at Sumaridge Estate Wines 06h00–10h00

Race times:
Saturday, 10 October

07:15 Riders Briefing / Leaders Jersey Handover
07:30 Start Marathon
08:50 Start Half Marathon
09:40 Start Fun Race
10:05 Start Fun Ride
10:35 Winner of the Fun Ride Expected
10:40 Winner of the Fun Race Expected
10:35 Winner of the 1/2 Marathon expected
10:05 Winner of the Marathon expected
13:00 Prize Giving

For more information, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za