After three days with precious few free kilometres, the transition stage from Saronsberg, in Tulbagh, to the Slanghoek valley appears, on paper, to be an easier day.
Especially as the racing ends at the Goudini Spa and teams will transfer over the Limietberg Mountains, rather than having to ride over them.
There is, however, a sting in the tail of the stage. The early kilometres may tick past with unnerving ease, but once the surface begins to roughen the challenges come thick and fast.
Brutally uneven dual tracks through a private game reserve provide a sudden shock. Crossing the Breede River the challenging riding recommences with a steep but short climb into the Slanghoek Mountains.
Rocky singletracks undulate along the length of the range; punishing the legs before the the infamous Thudbuster climb drive heart rates in the red. From there it is into the Land Rover Technical Terrain, the Slanghoek trails climb.
From the top, it’s into Slanghoek cross-country course followed swiftly by the most technical of the mountain’s trails, covering the final kilometres to the remote finish at the Goudini Spa.
From the Spa, a transfer through Du Toitskloof takes the teams to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Wellington.
RECAP | Absa Cape Epic Stage 3: The extreme heat of Tulbagh