The start and finish will be from the elegant country retreat of the Rotterdam Boutique Hotel on the outskirts of Swellendam. Rich in heritage and brimming with grandeur the farm dates back to 1794 and boasts a rich history and heritage like no other. Famous for being the home of the late Grand Prix racer Ian Fraser Jones and still owned by the family today. This will be a 30km ride to loosen the legs for what will be laying ahead over the next 6 days. Riding through the beautiful citrus orchards in the Buffeljagsriver Valley and then through the small game farm of Kwetu with numerous wild species like Springbok, Bontebok, Giraffe, Eland, Wildebeest, Kudu, Waterbuck, Reebok and Sable crossing your path.
Timing starts 1km | Timing stops 28km | Total racing 27km
Stage 2 – Swellendam – Swellendam
On this stage you will have to conquer the tough Overberg rolling hills. From the start to finish there will only be one flat section and it’s approximately 100 metres long! In this section you will enter a neutral zone, eat as much as you can, get on the Malgas ferry and cross the majestic Breede river on the only man-pulled pontoon left in South Africa. This 95km with 1400m of ascent will get you warmed up for the rest of the Rainmaker Rollercoaster 2019!
Timing starts 19km | Timing check 59km | Timing stops 90km | Total racing 70km
Stage 3 – Swellendam – Riversdale
This will not be the longest stage of the tour however don’t underestimate as it is possibly the hardest of them all. The first 15km through farmlands will only be the start of some tough gravel riding up ahead. You will have to climb up the gravel version of Alp du Huez with about 400m of altitude gain of steep gravel terrain. After you have reached the top you will descend into the Duiwenhoks river valley with a few serious rolling hills before reaching Riversdale for a welcome rest.
Timing starts 26km | Timing stops 94km | Total racing 68km
Stage 4 – Riversdale – Calitzdorp
From the lush green garden route to the semi dessert of the little Karoo. First you will need to conquer Garcia pass to reach this beautiful arid region. Then you will the reach Rooiberg pass with the views of the little Karoo opening up as you crest the pass. With a total of 69 bends in the 14km, corners and curves aplenty make sure you keep something in the legs for this majestic section.
Timing starts 22km | Timing stops 107km | Total racing 85km
Stage 5 – Calitzdorp – Oudtshoorn
The shortest and easiest of all the stages, you will have earned this mid ride recovery day! Take the opportunity to spin out the legs and recover for what lies ahead on stage 6. Flat and fast whilst riding into the ostrich capital of the world. Keep your eyes up and your head out of the sand!
Timing starts 500m | Timing stops 49km | Total racing 48.5km
Stage 6 – Oudtshoorn – Uniondale
This is a beautiful stage through the Kamanassie region with stunning mountains as a backdrop throughout the whole stretch from Oudthoorn up to Uniondale. With 1800m of ascent this is tough stage after yesterday’s easy day out. This is Karoo in its true unbelievable beauty. However there are some battles you will need to conquer in this vast semi dessert. After the drag up to Uniondale for 95km, the Karoo Lady aka the Ghost of Uniondale will be waiting for you!
Timing starts 10km | Timing stops 78km | Total racing 68km
Stage 7 – Uniondale – Plettenberg Bay
This will be a stunning day out through the the enclosed Knysna forest sections. The forest is home to some of South Africa’s oldest indigenous trees and include Ironwood (Olea capensis), Stinkwood (Ocotea bullata), Outeniqua Yellowwood. The forest is also home to the African elephant and they are seen on rare occasions. This day and tour will be rounded off by visiting the Kwano Cycling Academy before finishing in Plettenberg Bay.
After passing through the beautiful Uniondale poort on a 10km tar section you will cross the Langkloof and enter the Prince Alfred pass. This is the last section of the Old Ox Wagon route that started at Malgas right at the ferry we crossed in Stage 1. Thomas Bain built this pass in 1860’s with a thrilling 11km descent right down to the Keurboomsriver. The same river forms the lagoon at the finish line 60km later. Be aware with a total of 89km and 1900m of climbing on this last stage will mean you still need to cross a mountain or two (or three!) before reaching the blue sea of Plettenberg Bay at the Kwano Cycling Academy