FNB Wines2Whales 2023 – Entries are Open!

Make it a date: Tuesday, 14 February, the day of love, chocolates, flowers and fastest-finger-first entries to the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales!

FNB Wines2Whales |

What’s in a date? Quite a lot, possibly, as the big daddy of three-dayers, the FNB Wines2Whales, shifts ever-so-slightly forward for 2023 – and reverses the route for a second bite at the highly-successful Switchback experiment of 2021.

A change is as good as a holiday, the old chestnut goes, and holidays don’t come much better than sweating it out over three days on the best trails in the Western Cape, with your bestie, a week earlier (read: better weather, clearer calendar, rugby to watch in the evenings!) than in the past. Entries for all three events open on Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, 14 February, you romantic slob!), and if you are looking to ride the super-popular Chardonnay W2W-week-opener, best you have your mouse and credit card at the ready. The other two events – the mid-week e-bike-friendly Pinotage, and the more race-snake Shiraz often give you a few more hours to get your a into g, but it’s probably best not to tempt fate; if you want to be part of the #SeriousGEES get those entries in ASAP.

FNB W2W 2023 –  What You Need To Know

The Route

The race has evolved and shifted, gradually and greatly, over the years. The most significant change is the Switchback. 2023 will see the second running of the reimagined route; from Curro Hermanus to Lourensford Wine Estate, in Somerset West. Once again there will be new single tracks, as Cape Trails sculpt paths through the fynbos, gum forests and vineyards. Oak Valley Estate, like the opening day – remains the central race village for two nights – providing a constant to come home to; a place to unwind, recharge and reminisce about the day on the trails. 

One of the highlights of the FNB W2W Switchback is the most imposing feature of the traditional direction’s opening stage: Gantouw Pass. Located mid-way through Stage 3, Gantouw Pass leads teams from the Elgin plateau down into the Helderberg during the Switchback edition. The ancient footpath was established by vast herds of eland, before being used by Khoi herdsmen and later European settlers, with their ox wagons. For ages it was the easiest route through the Hottentots Holland Mountains, which it remains, today, for FNB W2W mountain bikers.

Nick Muzik/FNB W2W

Heading down the pass provides more opportunity to appreciate the spectacular views over False Bay, the wine farms of Somerset West and the verdant fynbos. Riders should be on the lookout for proteas in bloom, tiny sugar birds feeding on the nectar of said flowers and the basking bloukop koggelmanders (or agama atra if you are feeling scientific).

Entries for all three events open at 9am South African time on Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, 14 February

There are few opportunities outside of the FNB Wines2Whales Switchback to rail switchback berms and trails in the morning, while surrounded by the unparalleled biodiversity of the Cape floral kingdom, followed by a delicious lunch, an afternoon of sipping award winning cool-climate wines, and an evening of watching the Rugby World Cup after another hearty meal.

The Date

In 2023, the events shift forward slightly on the calendar, starting with the women’s Chardonnay race from the 20th to the 22nd of October. Then it is time for the e-bikers to charge their batteries and power though the switchbacks in the mid-week Pinotage event, from the 23rd to the 25th of October. Finally, the men’s, mixed and Exxaro races take to the course, from the 27th to the 29th of October. Anyone can enter any of the events, of course and riders of all levels are welcomed with open arms. 

Nick Muzik/FNB W2W

For most mountain bikers, their own schedules are the deciding factor of which event to enter, and teams are encouraged to enter the event that best suits their schedules and ambitions. Whichever event is selected, you can rest assured that there will be enough like-minded people to share the trails, tent village and tables at dinner with. Rediscover old friendships and establish a few new ones.

Sam Clark/FNB W2W

Enter the FNB W2W Switchback here:

So, three days spent like that sounds pretty good right now…

Celebrate your passion for all things mountain biking this Valentine’s Day and enter the 2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback. Visit www.epic-series.com/wines2whales and start your love affair with SeriousGEES. 

2023 FNB Wines2Whales Switchback


20 to 22 October


23 to 25 October


27 to 29 October


200km with 4 500m of climbing from Hermanus to Lourensford Wine Estate

Entries Open

14 February 2023 at 09:00








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