Meerendal Ready to Host Prologue
The start of any Absa Cape Epic involves a
heady cocktail of excitement, nerves and celebration, as riders set off on
their 781km journey towards achieving what is, for many, a lifetime goal.
Nestled in the Durbanville winelands, Meerendal Wine Estate is ready to host an
auspicious event such as this, the prologue of the 2012 event.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for
Meerendal Wine Estate and the Durbanville Wine Valley to showcase our superb
wines and the amazing landscape and beauty of the Tygerberg Hills. It will be a
wonderful boost for tourism in Durbanville and the surroundings too,” says Meerendal’s
general manager Willi Botha.
prepares for the 2012 Prologue
Hosting the biggest mountain bike stage
race in the world has its challenges however. A typical race venue requires a
large area of level, smooth and soft ground for hospitality, facilities and of
course parking. Grass is ideal, but it’s rare for the organisers to find such a
large stretch of lawn. Bennie Howard, Meerendal’s marketing and sales manager
says, “We had a lot to do and we’re all on track. We just need to pray for a
little rain now to get the grass to grow more!” Victor Rossouw is credited as
the man who made it all happen. “He’s a practical genius. It used to be a
vineyard and he got the whole thing ploughed with our machines to get the soil
ready for sowing the seeds and planting grass. The other problem to overcome was
the water issue, but thanks to the City of Cape Town we were able to water
Howard tells of more difficulties, “There
were still lots of weeds to take care of and areas that were battling a bit,
but at least it’s green already and coming along strong. I was very excited
(and relieved) to get back to work on Monday and see a green field! We’re
mowing now for the first time and are already planting another area next week.”
Not only have Meerendal cleared a field for
the race, they have renovated their Cape Dutch Manor House into six luxury
accommodation suites (it was previously a restaurant with various reception rooms)
and relocated their restaurant. “The rezoning was granted in 2011, around the time when we
agreed to host the event, so it worked out perfectly."
Howard glows about how well the two
organisations worked together to achieve some tough goals. “As proud as I am of
how great the venue looks, I am more proud of how we all understood each others
needs and cooperated, and also of our team spirit throughout the process.” We
all look forward to Meerendal presenting yet another successful Absa Cape Epic
prologue, on the 25th of March 2012.