Overberg’s Hidden Gems Revealed by Stanford MTB Classic

Day 2 now starts with a climb which takes riders past the Stanford Valley Guest Farm dam and along a new singletrack to a spectacular view point. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Day 2 now starts with a climb which takes riders past the Stanford Valley Guest Farm dam and along a new singletrack to a spectacular view point. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The 2020 Stanford MTB Classic, an Overberg MTB Events race, is set to take place on the 29th of February and 1st of March this year. In order to ensure that newcomers and returning riders alike are treated to a spectacular weekend of mountain biking the event’s route has been revamped. It now boasts more singletrack than ever and more opportunities to immerse oneself in the stunning Stanford Valley Guest Farm and Paardenberg surrounds.

 

Offering two days of riding, with a longer (±50 kilometres) and a shorter (±25 kilometres) route options, the Stanford MTB Classic is the perfect active family getaway. Located just 155 kilometres from the Cape Town city centre the race village is an easy Friday afternoon drive away. All entry options include lunches at the Stanford Valley Guest Farm race village and accommodation be can booked separately through Stanford Tourism.

 

Off the bike the atmosphere is one of relaxed country life. The vast lawns of the race village are dotted with oaks under which riders can unwind in the shade post-stage, sharing stories from the trails or revelling in their shared love of the outdoors. Family members are welcome too with extra meal tickets available to purchase for non-riders. Alternatively, tables can be booked at the venue’s Manor House restaurant; allowing supporters to relax in comfort over a scrumptious meal and a glass of award-winning local wine while the mountain bikers take on the trails. As well as being open for lunches throughout the race, the Manor House will also be open for pre-race breakfasts and sunset dinners.

 

The new singletracks wind through pristine fynbos and marvellous sand stone formations. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The new singletracks wind through pristine fynbos and marvellous sand stone formations. Photo by Oakpics.com.

On the bike the riding at the Stanford MTB Classic has been refined. The opening day now features a 40-kilometre loop, which takes in 630 metres of climbing. It starts at Stanford Valley Guest Farm, before heading south towards Óak Grove Farm and the first of the event’s Strava sections, Lucerne Sea. After passing through the Vaalvlei vineyards the route turns towards Stanford itself, passing through the Sir Robert Stanford, Welgesind and Stanford Hills farms. From the highest reaches of their vineyards the valley floor spreads out in an emerald carpet to the south east, showcasing natural fynbos, flower farms and vineyards bordered by mountains to the north and low hills, which separate the valley from the ocean, to the south. After passing the high fences of Winding the route crosses the Kleinrivier and heads for home at the Stanford Valley Guest Farm.  The day’s short route option is 27 kilometres in length.

 

Stage 2 is the race’s action-packed play day. On the Stanford Valley Guest Farm and Paardenberg farms in particular trail building has been taking place at a frantic pace since the 2019 Stanford MTB Classic. In 2020 it is 53 kilometres long and features 950 metres of climbing. Starting and finishing at Stanford Valley Guest Farm once again; Day 2 begins with a climb, turns left at Lucerne, and takes riders around the Stanford Valley Guest Farm dam and up the new singletrack to the bench. From there it flows down to the start of the new Slipstream singletrack which takes riders over three bridge crossings and snakes all the way up to the Beloftebos Bitterbal Bult singletrack. This features beautiful fynbos and rock formations overlooking Stanford Valley Guest Farm and the Raka wine farm. The trail drops towards Beloftebos to follow the Wabooms River. Skirting the Paardeberg farm lands the route loops south and then west, traversing the Hartebees and Protea Link singletracks on the way back to Stanford Valley Guest Farm.

 

Each climb in the Stanford MTB Classic is well worth the effort as it provides rewards in the form of thrilling downhills and breath-taking views. Photo by Oakpics.com.

Each climb in the Stanford MTB Classic is well worth the effort as it provides rewards in the form of thrilling downhills and breath-taking views. Photo by Oakpics.com.

“It is important for us to showcase the spectacular riding, in a region not traditionally associated with mountain biking” event director Anneke Jacobs explained. “Stanford Valley Guest Farm have put in an exceptional amount of work, building new trails, which mountain bikers will now be able to visit throughout the year. Permits to ride the trails can be purchased at Stanford Valley Guest Farm; which also boasts a restaurant which is open for breakfasts and lunches, as well as accommodation options. The Stanford MTB Classic is thus a first taste of the adventures the Stanford area offers and we hope that participants in the event return for weekends in the platteland later in the year.”

 

“The distances in the Stanford MTB Classic may be short” Jacobs continued. “But the terrain is deceptively tough at times. The longer route option is certainly not for inexperienced mountain bikers. We believe it is perfect though for long-time riders to take part in for the simple pleasure of riding their bikes and for experienced mountain bikers who have yet to take part in a multi-day race to experience their first stage race in. The short distance routes feature much of the longer route’s best scenery, but with less of the exertion. They are ideal for riders with competent bike handling skills but who find themselves short of the fitness required for a three hour, plus, ride.”

 

The existing trails on the Paardenberg farm are still included in the event to ensure there are familiar favourites to reward returning riders. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The existing trails on the Paardenberg farm are still included in the event to ensure there are familiar favourites to reward returning riders. Photo by Oakpics.com.

The Stanford MTB Classic is not a race, in the traditional sense. Times are taken via Strava for designated sections on the route. Each day the man and woman with the fastest combined time for the day will be rewarded with a prize, as will the fastest man and woman, overall, after the two stages.

 

Entries to the event are open, and will remain so until Wednesday the 26th of February. Thereafter riders can enter at registration, but a late entry fee will apply. To enter the 2020 Stanford MTB Classic, which takes place from the 29th of February to the 1st of March, please visit www.stanfordmtbclassic.co.za.