"A civilization is a heritage of beliefs, customs and knowledge slowly accumulated in the course of centuries - elements difficult at times to justify by logic, but justifying themselves as paths when they lead somewhere, since they open up for man his inner distance."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
As mountain bikers we are considered our own civilization and we are often looking for that distance. A new challenge that lets us grow. A journey which allows us the freedom to take a path less travelled and come home with a slightly different view of the world.
The Dr Evil Classic is a 3 day mountain bike stage race, taking place over the Heritage Day weekend, on trails in and around Plettenberg Bay and the Garden Route. The area is rich in its own heritage and has numerous sites which date back centuries and have shaped our country's history. But for us lovers of two wheels, it is the old trails and forest roads that keep us coming back for more. The contour roads which climb and descend valleys and forests are what the riders of the Dr Evil Classic have come to love and these journeys are those which shape mountain bikers.
The route is an incredible mix of the different biomes and landscapes found in this area and the route master has taken full advantage of the terrain and landscapes.
DAY ONE - STAGE 1
DISTANCE : 70.6km | ELEVATION : 1405m ACCENT
Day one starts at the Plettenberg Game Reserve and riding among wildlife such as zebras, wildebeest and even elephants before heading up into the valleys surrounding the reserve. The timber forests allow the route to contour along magnificent vistas and riders can enjoy the fresh mountain air as they traverse the valleys ahead. The 70km distance is the longest day in the saddle but a great way to wake up the legs and put those climbing legs to full use.
DAY TWO - STAGE 2
DISTANCE : 45.3km | ELEVATION : 884m ACCENT
Day 2 belongs to the forests. The shortest day at 45km takes riders into some of the most beautiful forested areas surrounding Plettenberg Bay. A great mix of jeep and single track trails take you on pine needle tracks with the towered pines around you. It is a true privilege to ride amongst these giants. Riders dip and dive into pockets of natural forest where the earth is damp and the cool air reminds you why you get on your bike to take on these amazing journeys. The final stretch is a custom built single track thrill-ride back to the race venue. The property owners are clearly serious about developing some great mountain-bike trails for the guests to enjoy and it is an amazing flowing joyride back to the finish line at Kurland Lodge.
DAY THREE - STAGE 3
DISTANCE : 51km | ELEVATION : 789m ACCENT
Day 3 is a 50km sea view delight. The organisers have done a great job down-playing the awesomeness of the day and if you are new to the race, they don't give away much but trust us you won't be able to stop talking about the day's ride when you hit the finish line. Cairnbrogie Farm is situated on the Plett Airport Road in the ecologically sensitive twenty kilometre stretch of unspoiled coastline between Robberg Nature Reserve and Harkerville State Forest. This area is known as the Robberg Coastal Corridor (RCC) and has beautiful coastal land and it links the Robberg Nature Reserve in the east to the Garden Route National Park in the west. In 2015 a Mountain Bike & Trail Park was built on the farm in association with DirtLab, an industry leader in the construction and design of pumptracks and trails, adding to this superb biking destination.
The day begins and ends along this amazing stretch of coastline and the cliff paths will take your breath away. Twisting and turning your way in and around the sea cliffs with the sound of the waves crashing below is a truly incredible way to see our beautiful country from your saddle. From the sea cliffs we ride down into Harkerville Forest. Long winding jeep track roads under the forest canopy scattered with some amazing single track sections deep in the forest gives riders a chance to enjoy some of the best trails of the area. A flowing single track section through some fynbos brings you back to the finish line and ends three days of some incredible riding.
The distances have been chosen with the riders who want to take part in the Karoo2Coast event on the Sunday, in mind. Shorter day 2 and 3 means the legs won't be completely finished before the 100km Karoo2Coast on Sunday. Riders can add that event to the mix and have an epic 4 days of riding in the Garden Route over the Heritage Day weekend. Find out more about Karoo2Coast here. This also works in favour of riders who are hesitant to take on longer stage races. The event gives riders new to stage racing the perfect opportunity to get three consecutive days in, with time to recover over an ice cold beer after each day. There are hills that must be climbed, single track that must be navigated and descents which must be ridden as fast as you like with a smile from ear to ear. The route has its fair share of challenges but also a lot of the flowing terrain us mountain bikers love. This makes it a great challenge for all riders.
Off the bike, the team on the ground runs a tight ship. The race organisation is sharp and slick and yet friendly and down to earth. Chatting to race organisers and team members everyday in the lunch queue is the norm and the genuine interest these folk have in the riders guarantees that you will have made a host of new friends before heading back to your everyday life. A new race start venue everyday also adds to the overall feel of the race as it feels new and exciting and each has their own character and vibe.
Another pretty cool thing the race has perfected is the relationship with its sponsors and partners. Riders will see that the companies invested in the race are genuinely excited about the event and are ambassadors of the Dr Evil Classic and what it is trying to achieve. Scott Sports Africa had an incredible activation called #getyourheadinthegame which saw riders donating their old helmets and receiving a new Scott helmet at the Scott station on the route of day 2. A total of 80 new helmets were given away to riders and their old helmets were donated to a local charity for riders unable to afford their own. This kind of interaction from sponsors with riders on events shows how much they believe in the event and its value to the mountain biking community.
It is evident that Dr Evil and its partners are invested in the South African Mountain Biking community and all its riders.
The Dr Evil Classic is an amazing 3 days of sweat, play and money well spent. In comparison to some of the other stage races on offer in South Africa, this one is great value for money. Mark the 2020 race dates in your calendar now and get yourself down to the Garden Route for some epic views, gracious hospitality and fun on your bike.
For more information visit: www.drevilclassic.com/
All Images by https://oakpics.com/