Old Hermon: Muddy Marvelous!

The Swartland drained just enough after Friday's downpours to make the Old Hermon Gravel Ride a blast for those who braved the spring chill.

Old Hermon |

PHOTOS: Chris Hitchcock/CTCTT

A fresh, clear morning greeted the riders of the Old Hermon Gravel Ride, held in Wellington on Saturday, 26 August. After a week of torrential rain, the cloudless skies were a welcome relief; most of the standing water had drained by the time the riders rode off into the farmlands, choosing between 22km, 45km and the flagship 85km distances.

It wasn’t all clear, though. In all, nearly 1 000 riders braved the pre-spring chill, and there were smiles all round, and all around the beautiful back roads out of Wellington, in spite of a delayed start due to flooded parking areas.

Friday’s downpours called for both changes to the routes, and to the logistics at Welbedacht. The organisers want to thank all involved for the patience they showed in the face of a frustratingly delayed, muddy start.

The wait was worth it, with the sunny Swartland providing the perfect backdrop for some great racing as the muddy smiles at the finish line – the Old Hermon Gravel ride uses Schalk Burger’s Welbedacht Wine Estate for it’s base – would attest. The sometimes slippery conditions led to some tactical racing and tested skill levels. The 85km event, which also serves duty as a seeding event for the 2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour, kicked off with a climb up a road-bike bucket lister: Bainskloof Pass.

The reward for the smooth, fast ascent was a flowing fynbos descent, before the reduced front groups hit the rolling backroads north and towards Hermon, before returning to Welbedacht. Eventual men’s champ Franko van Zyl came home in a shade under three hours, three minutes ahead of Dan Loubser, while the women’s 85km title went to Michaela Surtees, whose ten-minute winning margin over Layla Schwellnus was good enough for 17th overall. Guy de Cafmeyer and Nikalau Volsteedt took the honours in the 45km route, with Daniel van Niekerk and Aylin Botha the 22km winners.

Full results from the Old Hermon Gravel Ride.

READ MORE ON: event results events gravel racing gravel rides old hermon

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