Ever heard the saying, “you can organise everything but the weather”, well never has it been more true than this past weekend. Fortunately, Mountain bikers are tough creatures, and all things considered, we were able to make the best of the weekend still.
As Friday afternoon wound down, the group arrived in Stanford around 15:00 on a cold and windy Friday afternoon. Nevertheless, bikes were offloaded and prepped, and we enjoyed a short ride around town, just to get the lay of the land so to speak. It was only a few km but proved to be a lovely ice breaker. After returning to our accommodation at Inn The End, everyone cleaned themselves up, and then we headed out for dinner at Madre’s, one of the many excellent restaurants hidden away in the village.
After dinner, we returned to Inn the End, and settled the stomachs with a customary shot of Grappa each, before settling in for the night. The plan was to tackle a 60km ride in the morning, but the weather report seemed ominous, and we decided to make a final call on the days plans in the morning.
The morning came, and the projections had rung true. The weather was properly foul, and it was raining cats and dogs. Even the toughest of riders would be hard-pressed to go for a ride in weather like this, so the decision was made to rather wait it out. We had a breakfast appointment at 09:30, at Bluegum Estate, which would have been the 20km mark on our ride, this we, however, planned to keep. So after some coffee, we loaded the bikes onto the rack and took a drive up from Stanford to Bluegum estate instead. We would see what the weather did later on, and then take it from there. This proved to be a wise choice. The fresh croissants, fluffy scrambled eggs and perfectly crisp bacon waiting for us were definitely worth the drive up.
The weather, however, wasn’t letting up, it would get worse before getting better, as a little bit of sleet first fell over the lawns outside the restaurant, before a fine drizzle set in, that would remain most of the rest of the day. We had our bikes though and feeling guilty after the scrumptious breakfast, we decided to do the 20km back to Stanford in reverse, rain and all. When we got to the top of the infamous strava segment know as “the real kots bult”, the rain stopped, and we could enjoy a still wet, but very enjoyable ride past Stanford Hills and back into town, where a hot pot of coffee and a warm kaggel fire waited to warm us up. As the afternoon dragged on, the weather improved dramatically, and by 15:30, the sun was out, and we decided there was no harm in fitting in another quick ride. A quick lap of the village, before heading out of town towards Sir Robert Stanford, for a quick drag up the hill, followed by a high-speed race back down, before heading towards Birkenhead, where we did a quick lap of the vineyards, and then dashed across the road, to join some single track that would take us out towards the other side of Stanford, returning through the industrial area, back into town, and then on home. It was only a short 15km ride, but full of playful features and at least one serious climb. Now it was time to freshen up and get ready for the evenings’ entertainment, Pizza making.
The Pizza making didn’t disappoint and after a brief introduction to the various ingredients on offer, everyone had a chance to custom build their own pizza, which was shared and “judged” by the rest of the group. Fortunately, there was no pineapple amongst the ingredients, and the selection of locally sourced cheese meant that all the pizzas came out as winners, and the consensus was that everyone ate way too much, and regardless of the weather, tomorrow we all needed to put in a big ride.
Sunday morning came around, and the weather gods were on our side this time. We enjoyed a quick cup of coffee and some muesli and then hit the road just after 08:00. The first stretch up to Bluegum Estate went by quickly, as it was the reverse of yesterdays ride. We stopped for a quick coffee, before continuing. The heavy rain the day before had saturated most of the area, and also pushed the Klien River to burst its banks in many spots, meaning we had to change our route a little, as most of the planned crossing points were now impassable. With this in mind, we called in our support vehicle and got them to give us a lift to the top of the Valley, where we could start the ride in earnest, at Stonehouse Cheese Estate.
From Stonehouse, we made our way down the valley, crossing a farm gate onto Boschrivier Wine Estate, where we stopped off at the tasting room to enjoy some of their finest cab sav and Shiraz. From Boschrivier, we continued to snake our way through the vineyards and on to Raka, where we enjoyed another sampling of fine Merlots and Malbecs. Further down the valley, after one slightly dodgy crossing of the Klien River, we would again cross over, at one of the few bridges not yet overwhelmed by the floodwater, and enjoy our final wine tasting of the day at Birkenhead, where we also enjoyed a cheese platter and some freshly baked bread. A well-deserved lunch, after a wet, but very adventurous morning of riding.
We returned to the accommodation in town, in time for everyone to have a shower and freshen up before taking the drive back into Cape Town.
We hope the weather plays along for our next trip, but regardless, great fun was had all around.
To book a spot on our final trip for the year this Oct, click here, there are still 4 spots available.