2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Australia's most respected and prestigious stage race, Cape to Cape MTB. This event is a blast, we've been racing or shooting it for five years now, and we cannot get enough; great racing, beautiful trails, and an amazing holiday experience rolled into one.
To celebrate the 10th birthday of the race, race director Jason Dover has tied together all the finest cuts of the past decade, delivering up a smorgasbord of singletrack. They’ve also brought all the whole event much closer into Margaret River to ramp up the party vibe and make it all easier logistically for riders too. We got JD on the phone to tell us all about the plans.
Jason Dover: “The thought for year 10 was always that we wanted to finish up in Margaret River for the final stage, make it a great vibe right back in town and to wrap it all up with a Margaret River Special Stage. But then we thought, hey, why not make them all ‘special stages’ and base the whole event in closer to Margaret River!
“The challenge was how to do this, but then still retain all the things that make the Cape to Cape MTB what it is. Obviously the course has evolved over the years, but never have we had to work out four new stages in one go, so it was a pretty complex task!
I’m really stoked with the course, because I think as we release the details there’s things in there that everyone who has raced before we know and love, but then loads of new things to get excited about too.”
Stage 1: Xanadu to Xanadu
“In essence we’ve created two Margaret River Special Stages, and Stage 1 is one of these. It really focuses on all the singletrack that’s right in Margaret River. We’ve got an awesome alignment through the new compartment 10 trails, we’ve got Big Pine in there, plus The Pines, some other trails we’ve never been able to use before along the river and out to 10 Mile Dam. It’s going to be an incredible stage, about 50km, and chock-a-block full of singletrack, and of course it ends up at Xanadu which is always a favourite.”
Stage 2: Leeuwin Estate to Leeuwin Estate.
“Stage 2 is probably the one that’s closest to what we’ve used before in Cape to Cape, but instead of starting down at Hamelin Bay, we’re going to start at Leeuwin Estate. We’ll then head south on old rail alignment that will take us straight into the tall trees of Boranup. It’s a great course, it lets us avoid all the slog along the road, and gets right into the 25km of beautiful trail in Boranup that we all love. That stage will be about 60km, but all killer, no road or mucking around. It’ll be a fast, fun stage.”
Stage 3: Colonial Brewery to Colonial Brewery
“We’re calling this one the Middle Earth Special Stage! In the past we’ve only used about five kays of all the singletrack out at Middle Earth, this time we’re using over 20km, and we’ve picked the best of the best. We’ve managed to avoid all the nasty climbs, so it’s just sweet, flowing singletrack. The City of Busselton have allowed us to use a lot of trail out there we previously couldn’t access, so were stoked. We’ve got a new alignment to get us out from Colonial Brewery to Middle Earth too, so it’s a fast 25km out there, then into all the singletrack, and then 15km back out to the brewery for a beer. It’s really exciting to have Middle Earth having its own stage.
Stage 4: Margaret River to Margaret River.
“Stage 4 is really quite similar to what we’ve included in the Margaret River Special Stage before, which was previously Stage 3. It’s the one that’s absolutely crammed with singletrack. We roll out of the main street of Margaret River, before heading out to Carters Rd, South Carters loop, Burnside loop, The Pines, Compartment 10…. Anyone who has ridden the new Compartment 10 will know how cool that trail is. Whereas we used to finish out at Colonial, we’ll now finish back in town, so it’ll be great way to finish up, with an event village back in Margs. It’ll be awesome.”
“With the event all being a bit closer to Margaret River, I think it’ll be a lot more relaxing too. The previous course we’ve used is great, but logistically it’s not been the easiest event to do. Because you’ve finished in a different place to where you’ve started each day, you need to think about picking up your car, or getting dropped back somehow. But with this new format, starting and finishing each day at the same spot, you can really chill out. If you want to chat and have a drink, lie in the sun, you just can, there’s no stress. It’s a luxury we’ve never had before logistically.
This year, people can choose what wave they want to start in – so if you don’t want the 8am start with the top guys, you can just pick a later wave.
“The extended waves we’ve got for the starts will make it more relaxed too. This year, people can choose what wave they want to start in – so if you don’t want the 8am start with the top guys, you can just pick a later wave. It means people who want to have a couple of beers the night before, or who want a bit of a sleep in, can kick off at 10am. It’ll make for a really great vibe I think, much more of a celebration.
“We’ve also got 15 minute gaps between each wave too, so it should make for a really clean ride, much less congestion. And managing the numbers will be important, because we’re looking at 2000 riders this year! We’re already at 80% of capacity, which is already more riders than we’ve ever had before, and we’re definitely going to sell out.
And looking at the sign ups so far, it’s about 45% new riders, which is brilliant. It just shows that we’ve set out what we wanted to achieve this year, making the event more accessible and appealing whilst still keeping what the Cape to Cape has always been about.”
This event will all be sold out before too long, and you’ll be GUTTED if you’ve sat on the fence and you missed it. To enter, head to http://capetocapemtb.com