BUCO DR EVIL CLASSIC: MY FIRST STAGE RACE

Having been in the mountain biking arena for many years – on and off the bike since the early 1990’s, supporting friends and my husband at many events from the first MTB Nationals in Sedgefield in 1992 to the 2015 ABSA Cape Epic – I finally got the opportunity to participate in my very first mountain bike stage race, the 2017 BUCO Dr Evil Classic. Although I prefer to refer to this as an experience or an event, and not a race. I wasn’t racing anywhere at any breakneck speed.

Back in 2014, I was four days away from doing my planned first stage race, the Berg & Bush, when I took an unfortunate tumble on my local trail on my last training ride and shattered my wrist. The three-year journey from this point to my actual first stage race was tougher than I ever could have imagined.  But enough of my sad story. Why the Dr Evil Classic?

Tired, but stoked to be finished with Stage 1

The organisers of the Berg & Bush had most kindly given me an invitation to come to their event as soon as I was ready, so I finally felt I had the energy to tackle that event in 2017.  I had been training consistently with that as my goal when my husband said “why don’t we do the Dr Evil Classic as a warm up, a bit of a tester, before Berg & Bush?”.

I was hesitant, as the name insinuates that this is not a pleasant event. After all, I’m all about having fun on my bike and enjoying the experience. Eventually I thought, well I am going to need to be fit enough to finish a three-day stage event in October, it will at least be a solid three days of training.

So off we went, driving from Joburg to Plettenberg Bay the day before the event. We arrived at the local school, with 15 minutes to spare before registration closed on Wednesday 20th September. “It’s all part of the journey,” I kept saying.  By then the registration was pretty quiet. Were efficiently assisted with our registration and treated to a hearty home style dinner, which is part of the entry package.

Due to the nature of our business, our accommodation had been arranged by Plettenberg Bay Tourism, and it was perfect. A log cabin in the woods at The Crags.

Our verandah in the beautiful The Crags residential reserve

Stage 1 – 73km with about 1200m ascent

After our first night’s sleep, which came easily despite the nerves, we were up early and on our way to the start. I knew I had the best riding partner there is, so on race day 1, I felt quite calm. I knew there was a lot of climbing and it would be my longest ride on a MTB to date, but we were in no rush and there was no pressure. That pretty much sums up how the event feels as a whole – no pressure. No pretences and nothing was a problem for anyone on the organising team.

The trails on day one were not tough and comprised lots of jeep track and gravel roads, much of it through some of the most beautiful planted and indigenous forests. The water points were always a welcome sight, with lots of friendly faces and banter. There was never a shortage of supplies either. I crossed the finish line with a smile and a sense of achievement. As is the format, after all three stages, we were treated to a hearty home-style lunch. All the riders get to sit together, chat about their day in the saddle and enjoy the grub while prize giving  takes place.

The massive fires of 2017 had such a devastating effect on the Plett and Knysna area. So sad

Stage 2 – 38km with about 960m ascent

This was the toughest day for me, as the climbs where a little steeper. Even when I’m fit, I ‘m a reluctant climber… But with the distance being relatively short and the trails uncomplicated, I managed just fine. Another morning enjoying the beautiful scenery and hospitality of Plettenberg Bay.

We rode in places that were remote and stunning!

Stage 3 – 47km with about 900m ascent

There had been a little bit a rain overnight, but it didn’t dampen the vibe as we eagerly started Stage 3. This day had the most singletrack and the most breath-taking views as it took us through the Harkerville Forest and the cliff-tops above the ocean. Besides a few slippery roots in one of the forest sections, the trails were fun and stimulating.  I even found myself becoming a little competitive on this stage due to another mixed couple riding near us. Clearly, I still had enough energy left to pedal a bit harder!

The final day saw us riding along the coast through the Harkerville Forest. Incredible scenery!

And before I could even think twice, my first three-day stage race was complete, and I loved every pedal stroke. I would recommend the BUCO Dr Evil Classic to any mountain biker who has a moderate fitness level and high appreciation for natural beauty. The routes chosen by the infamous Dr Evil – Leon Evans, are more aligned with his personality than his nickname – really cool, easy going and even gentle (in mountain bike trail terms).

Not your average race number board. Not your average race!

Keen to find out more, or to enter the 2018 edition? Head over here: drevilclassic.co.za

Joanne Badenhorst

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How to choose which race to ride

With over 750 MTB events throughout South Africa, riders are spoilt for choice in selecting the races they choose to ride and run the risk of spending more time racing than training.

We asked some of our favourite riders how they decide which races to enter and what motivates them to try a new race:

Dr Evil Classic 3 Day Stage MTB Race │15-17 September 2016 │Plettenberg Bay South Africa

Pro Cyclist Oliver Munnick

Oliver Munnuick“Having ridden for more than 10 years, I am lucky enough to have participated in a huge variety of events throughout South Africa, a few more than once! For this reason the primary motivation I have when considering entering an event is whether or not I have participated before. Nowadays, I’m more inclined to choose an event that I haven’t done before. Another important consideration is whether it fits into my work schedule – sometimes deadlines get in the way of events and it’s just not possible to make it.”

Pro Women’s Cyclist SanMari Woithe


SanMari-final“With so many events to choose from I make a point of specifically choosing events that I haven’t done before. It is always good to do new events… see different places… meet new people… ride unfamiliar trails. Life should be interesting, not a repetition of doing the same thing over and over again. I think our (Merrell Ladies’) emphasis is enjoying our ride and having fun, not specifically winning the race. I am very thankful and privileged with my Merrell sponsorship allowing me the freedom to choose from any event in the country. Planning my events around my children’s sporting and cultural activities, is also important to me. 

The Dr Evil Classic is an event that we always wanted to tick off because of good feedback from previous events and off course… it is the most beautiful part of our country we will be riding in! Merrell ladies are looking forward “Getting Outside” and having lots of fun :)”

Pro Cyclist Darren Lill

Darren Lill“Exposure for sponsors. Time of season – is it a target event, or an event that in a stepping stone / good training block leading up to a target event. Prize money, and hand in hand with that – how well do the race organisers treat the pro teams i.e. do they offer a complimentary entry.”

Pro Women’s Cyclist Nicky Giliomee


Nicky-Final“An event that has balance in its technical terrain, scenery and make-up is always a big pull factor for me. The Dr Evil Classic takes you through beautiful lush indigenous forest the one minute and the next minute you are following smooth manicured trails along the coast, what more could you ask for?” 

“The Dr Evil classic is an amazing race, technical enough for the racing snakes but approachable enough for the weekend warriors, all in all, a great family event.”

Jacques Brink – owner of Knysna Cycle Works and “Mayor” of Cycling in Knysna

Jacques Brink“The route plays a huge roll in choosing a event for me , The DR Evil always have a little variation of a similar route , good balance of road , jeep track and of course singe track. Harkerville is iconic! (the holy grail) . Great atmosphere at the race registration, the village vibe and the community spirit!    Water points with a difference, getting your muddy glasses washed by the water point , a bit more than you expect from a water point!

I grade races on the presentation and in the innovative way it’s marketed , also the commercial valve of the race ! Bigger is not better, that close knit family feeling , the presence of the organization to the customers (riders needs at heart) Dr Evil just does it for me in every way every year I’v done it; it’s the “Vibe” of the event , keep it up 👍”

Passionate Cyclist – Janette Coetzee

Janette Coetzee“These days we are spoiled for choice. I have certain areas in South Africa, that doesn’t require a lot of traveling, where I like to ride my bike (accessible). Entering a race, logistics play a major role. A clover leaf format and accommodation within riding distance from the start. I don’t like high profile races, small field, rather than all the pro’s in the sport. Organisation is very important. Then the route… Not too technical, daily distance that is done by lunchtime. I love race merchandise. It’s my way of showing how far I have come in cycling.   Looking at Dr Evil Classic, it pretty much fits the profile. Organisation is top class. From the information on the website to the affordable entry fee. It’s held in an area where one is spoiled for choice when looking for accommodation. The routes are tough, but manageable. After all, it is Dr Evil. And the support during and after the race, is superior. The team is always willing to go the extra mile. And you get spoiled with an awesome goodie bag! Not often you can wear a buff with Harkerville forest on it! This race is not a high profile pro race and that gives the weekend warrior a chance to get on the podium.  Awesome scenery. Well balanced route and trails. Limited small field. Affordable entry fee. Lots of character! And a country feel to it! Proudly signed off by Dr Evil 👹 I have done 3 out of the 4 Dr Evil Classics. Looking forward to number 4 in September!

As you can see riders have their own opinions at to what makes a race unmissable – season, new routes, spoils for riders, technical terrain and scenery. This is one of the reasons that Dr Evil Classic has rolled out our new 3 race villages for our 2016 event. 3 days, 3 beautiful routes and 3 fun villages.

Our reasons why you should enter Dr Evil Classic 2016 on 15-17 September
Special Offer: Enter before 31 May 2016

Hop to it

 

7 Reasons to Ride the Dr Evil Classic

1.      Explore more of the Garden Route:

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The Dr Evil Classic MTB is an opportunity to ride sections of the Garden Route not normally accessible outside this event. Journey along the roads of private game and dairy farms, ride through the indigenous forests around Plettenberg Bay, take in the majesty of the coastal route with breath-taking clifftop ocean views and appreciate the mountains and winelands around Kay and Monty Vineyards. The Dr Evil Classic is a world-class race set in one of the most spectacular regions on earth making for a very unforgettable race.

2.      New race format:

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3 days and 3 race villages; this is a first for the Dr Evil Classic and promises to be a real treat for riders. Each day will start and end at the same village, making it easy for riders to enjoy the unique trails each day and move easily between venues. The first day’s race village will bring riders back to Wittedrift for forest and farmland trails, while day two takes riders up to Cairnbrogie Farm for those memorable coastal trails and, finally, the third day will introduce riders to the Plett Winelands and The Crags at Kay and Monty Vineyards.

3.      Gentle Daily Distances:

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Despite his reputation, Dr Evil aka Leon Evans wants to showcase the beautiful area that he calls home, so riders can expect a more manageable daily distance to really take in the scenery. The Dr Evil Classic is aimed at providing a race for all levels of rider.

4.      Goodie bags and lots of spoils

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Dr Evil Classic is committed to a philosophy of taking care of our riders. From the awesome Cape Union Mart fleeces and other treats in our goodie bags to gorgeous meals and well-marked trails, we aim to ensure that you have a premium experience in Plettenberg Bay.

5.      C’mon, it’s Dr Evil!

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Leon Evans is best known as the route designer of the ABSA Cape Epic and he has brought his passion home to the Garden Route. Make no mistake, though, this is Dr Evil’s signature event and one worth experiencing for yourself.

6. Enter Dr Evil and Karoo to Coast

There are still a few entries to the popular Karoo to Coast for riders of the Dr Evil Classic. Dr Evil daily distances are 75km, 55km and 45km’s and serve as an excellent warm up to the K2C, where riders will have a second start group when riding both events. You can can also inbox Zandile@drevilclassic.com for your awesome discount on the Dr Evil Classic if you enter both events. This can only be redeemed by contacting Zandile directly and doing a manual entry, don’t miss this opportunity!

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7.  Dr Evil for Good

Do your bit for the Plettenberg Bay local community. Dr Evil Classic has supported the following charities since the event started in 2012 – Plett Rotary, Plett Animal Welfare Society, CANSA, Kwano Cycling Academy and the Wittedrift School.

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Enter Now │Website and more information

Special Offer until 31 May 2016

Enter before the 31st of May 2016 and you could stand a chance to win two nights for two at Knysna Hollow Country Estate, two entries to Pennypinchers Lions Karoo to Coast MTB Challenge, one team or two solo entries for the Pennypinchers Dr Evil Classic Stage Race and a case of Red Bridge Brewing Co craft beer – all valued at over R20 000.  

 

Dr Evil Changing Direction

3 days, 3 incredible Race Villages

Leon Evans’ signature event – the Dr Evil Classic MTB Race – is changing direction for this year’s 3-stage race in September. In order to showcase even more of the gorgeous Garden Route, Dr Evil himself has shifted the route to include 3 separate race villages for each day of the hotly anticipated event. The race will start and end at the same village each day, making it easy for riders to park at each unique venue, ride the route and finish at that same venue.

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The essence of the Dr Evil Classic, now in its fifth year, is to experience the pristine trails of the Garden Route, which are definitely some of the best in the country. September is the perfect time of year for a mountain bike race of this magnitude as the weather is generally crisp and clear. It’s time to peddle through the areas around Plettenberg Bay, challenge yourself to 3 days of tough and beautiful trails and take in the sights and sounds of one of South Africa’s most spectacular and untouched regions.  The routes will be made up of a combination of single track, scenic district roads and forest trails.

Every year, Leon Evans aka Dr Evil works hard to develop a unique and varied route and will announce the final route maps and profiles in the coming months. But here is what we do know about the race villages and stages:

Stage One Race Village: Wittedrift High School

Day One will bring mainly indigenous forest/plantation riding with breathtaking scenery along the mountain side of the N2. A day well spent in the forest and a maximum of 75km.

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Early Bird Special Offer

Stage Two Race Village: Cairnbrogie Farm

Get ready for those ocean views! Day Two is a coastal route – a lot of single track – taking in the best tracks in Harkerville and a maximum of 55km.

Dr-Evil-Classic-Day-2

Stage Three Race Village: Kay & Monty Vineyards

Now this will be something special – biking through the Plett Winelands! Day Three will be held at the award winning Kay and Monty Vineyards that boasts a new wine tasting and function venue, which has direct access to the Keurbooms pine plantations.

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Also new to the event this year, is a corporate category.  We’re looking to encourage some friendly competition amongst business owners, both locally and nationally.  The Corporate option is for two riders only i.e. – a team entry and not a solo entry.

Corporate Challenge Entries

Booking Information:

Entries are open for the Pennypinchers Dr Evil Classic, which will take place from 15-17 September 2016. The event sold out in 2014 and 2015 and there will only be space for 350 riders in 2016.

The 2016 route maps, profiles and detailed information will be available at drevilclassic.com soon. The Pennypinchers Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge is a separate event that takes place on Sunday 18th September 2016.

Riders who enter the Dr Evil Classic will receive a preferential start in the Pennypinchers Lions Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Challenge. Riders who enter the Lions Karoo to Coast and wish to ride the Dr Evil Classic will receive a R200 discount on their Dr Evil entry.

Early Bird Special Offer

Enter now and win: Enter before the 31st of March 2016 and you could stand a chance to win three nights for a max of 10 people at the fantastic luxury Rare Earth Country Estate located at the Kay and Monty Vineyards. This accommodation is valued at R34 000 and you will also receive a R2 500 voucher from Cape Union Mart – the event merchandise partner. There are also two solo or one team entry for Dr Evil up for grabs.

For more information, visit www.drevilclassic.com or mail zandile@drevilclassic.com