Route description for Tour de Vine 2018 Stage 3, on Wednesday 14 March 2018
Montagu to Tulbagh
The Longest Day
Today we cycle. We might call for an earlier start, in which case we will provide for lighting if needed. Pace yourselves and ensure you take in enough energy during the day. We leave Montagu and cycle through the quiet vineyards and cool air. Just when your legs are warm enough the climbing starts. There are 4 signature climbs, of which the very first one is probably our favourite in terms of scenery. Be sure to look over your shoulder – you’ll know when the time is right. We’ll encounter very little (if any) traffic during the first 80-odd km to the N1.
Breakfast will be at the top of our second climb, at exactly 1234 meters above sea level. Thereafter a fast decent to the National Road, where we regroup at the waterpoint and follow the neutral section for about 10kms on the N1, before turning left on the R46 towards Ceres, passing Aquila Big 5 Game Reserve on the left.
Follow the R46 of Die Venster (at 114kms) to the T-junction at 121km, turning left towards Ceres and to stay on the R46. After the T-junction we start climbing again – for the last time today – reaching the top of the Hottentotskloof pass at 131km (and 1200m above sea level). From here on we have a brilliant downhill (sometimes with terrible headwinds) for the last 30 kms all the way into Ceres. Stop at Hoërskool Charlie Hofmeyer on the outskirts of town, for a well-deserved beer, braai and massage.
We saved the best for last – relax before the last stint to Tulbagh, which is mostly downhill in any event (and has been used as a time trial section in previous years).
Optional shorter route ending in Ceres
So many climbs
We encounter no less than 5 passes, of which the first 4 are decent climbs (Koo, Rooi, Venster & Hottentot) and the last one (Michell’s) is all down into the valley. More on each below, starting with Burgers Pass, also known as Koo.
Look forward to Rooihoogte Pass, because breakfast awaits at the summit.
The aptly-named window, with views all the way to the horizon.
The S-bend that is Hottentotskloof Pass.
And last but not least, Michell’s (not Mitchell’s) Pass.
Named after Governor Ryk Tulbagh, the town is situated in the Tulbagh basin and surrounded by mountains on three sides – the Obiqua Mountains (to the West), Winterhoek Mountain (North) and Witzenberg Mountains (East). In September 1969 the Boland area was hit by an earthquake that caused considerable damage to the town. After the disaster in Church Street extensive projects of restoration began and because of this work Tulbagh now contains possibly the largest number of Cape-Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian provincial heritage sites in one street in South Africa. Tulbagh was established in 1795 and has a population of about 10,000 today.