Learn to Thrive Through FNB W2W

Biking in the Bosch skills guru, Joanna Dobinson, knows a few things about thriving, rather than just surviving, at the FNB Wines2Whales.

Don’t just survive the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales. Learn to thrive; regardless of the trails, weather and the antics of your fellow riders with the sage advice of Biking in the Bosch’s Joanna Dobinson.

“It’s a bucket list race because of the incredible beauty of the route” Dobinson praised before elaborating. “It is also a very ‘do-able’ route for most people. It’s very obtainable, in terms of distances for most riders too, which really helps. The highlight for me is the spectacularly diverse scenery and lekker gees among the riders! Traversing through the majestic mountains on Day One, into the fun technical “play day” in the vineyards and apple orchards on Day Two, and then dropping down the gorge to the pristine ocean views over Hermanus is just world-class.”

Turning her addition to skills, riders can practice in the final weeks leading into the event, the Stellenbosch based skills coach said: “The biggest request I get from my FNB W2W clients is to get them ready for the switchbacks on Day Two, in Paul Cluver, and on Day 3, into Houw Hoek. Getting into the Attack Position, looking ahead and remembering that momentum is your friend are the first steps! Then focus on line selection; take the corner wide on entry and cut onto the inside to give yourself space in the turn. The same applies for your lines on uphill and downhill switchbacks. A handy trick to put into practice is elbows out on the downs, for stability, and elbows in on the uphill switchbacks to prevent your front wheel from lifting.”

“This will be my fourth FNB Wines2Whales” Dobinson continued. “So, I know the route relatively well. For me the toughest section of the route is the piece between the Gantouw Pass portage and the Grabouw Country Club water point on Stage 1. The A2Z Trails, though fun, are sandy in places and after using different muscles for the portage can cause you to cramp. So, take a cramp-blocking tablet.”

Dobinson listed The Gorge, Stage 3’s Land Rover Experience Section trail as her favourite of the route. Then added it was difficult to pick a second favourite from the plethora of trails on Paul Cluver and Oak Valley on Stage 2.

The FNB Wines2Whales is not just about amazing riding however. Many riders camp in the race village and for them Dobinson has advice too. “Be sure to pack ear plugs” she warned. “And bring as much bedding as you can to ensure you’re warm, there’s nothing worse than not sleeping before a ride because you got cold during the night. It’s really helpful to have a shoulder bag, or backpack, with everything you need for showering. I always pack flip-flops too, but also fill it with your towel, shower gel, casual clothes, etc. It makes your life so much easier and saves you extra trips to the showers because you’ve forgotten something.”

“The pros watch the amount of time they spend on their feet post stage, so do everything you can to minimise walking around aimlessly or standing around” Dobinson added. “Get yourself a spot in the FNB Rider Lounge or Cape Brewing Co Chill Zone and put your feet up.”

“From a personal point of view, Kasha Dickie and I will be riding the FNB W2W Chardonnay race as Team Wild & Free” Dobinson stated. “I’m really excited. It’ll be the first time I start in an all women start group. And to be honest it is a little intimidating to line up alongside some of the best riders in the world. But Kasha and I are really looking forward to it and getting a free run into the singletrack downhills!”

Joanna Dobinson’s Top Tips for Thriving Through FNB W2W

Top Tip for Stage 1: Don’t start too fast! It’s a long day, which starts with a 7-kilometre-long climb and includes the portage too. So, pace yourself on Stage 1. I’ve found riding Stage 1 in shoes with a non-carbon sole is best, they’re more flexible and comfortable to hike-a-bike up the Gantouw Pass in.

Top Tip for Stage 2: There are so many switchbacks on Stage 2, so my tip for the day is regarding line choice. Start the corner wide, cut though the apex and make sure you turn your head and look towards where you want to go.

Top Tip for Stage 3: Save energy for the climb from the Wildekrans trails to Water Point 2. You need to conserve energy there so you have lots of gees for the Gaf-se-Bos and Hemel en Aarde singletracks.