Come race your modern gravel bike at NOVA Eroica!

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I often get “I thought Eroica was only for vintage bicycles?” … well you’d be correct that Eroica has always been about celebrating vintage cycling culture and the ways things used to be. But Eroica also looks to the future, and just like those early racers took their road bikes to gravel when they had to, so we do it now on our modern gravel bikes so many years later. NOVA is Eroica’s answer to how modern cycling can be invited to the vintage fold. Come race your modern gravel bike at NOVA Eroica!

 

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Callum cresting the infamous Ouberg Pass climb. A hard climb on any day.

 

The NOVA in South Africa is on the same day as the Classic Eroica ride, and shares the same emphasis on good fresh local food stops and the social aspect of the ride. And this is where the nice part comes in - NOVA is a race, but there are only four clearly marked timed racing sections along the approximately 90km route. Each racer will have a detailed map marked with the route, the Strava segments, food pick-up stops, picnic spots, view points and a secret swim spot or two. This means that you can plan ahead to make your day as laid back, or challenging as possible. Go hard in the race sections, and spend the rest of the day hanging out, drinking beer, swimming, and enjoying the view, all along the magnificent route.

 

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The tar section down the Koo can be fast and sketchy.

 

For 2021 the NOVA route will be a little shorter than before, but judging by how many riders the original 150km route destroyed in previous years, I’m sure some will welcome the new 90km distance. The old 150km goes up the infamous Ouberg Pass and then turns north towards Touwsrivier, then west towards the top of the Koo valley for a long fast drop down the tar back to Montagu - but not before a quick sojourn into the Baden area for a last race section. In previous years this route was hard on riders. The northern most sections are very remote, and extreme heat and wind can make a tough day into a serious challenge.

 

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The semi-desert of the Karoo.

 

But for 2021 we’ve got our new 90km NOVA route - almost no tar, and with more technical sections. And, after some negotiations with local farmers, riders will have the opportunity to traverse some truly spectacular sections on private land. These are rich and storied roads, and even though you might only be about 15km as the crow flies from Montagu at times, it feels like time has stopped in some of these valleys.

 

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Occasionally a mechanical is a good excuse for a break.

 

Each rider will be required to have Strava installed on their smartphones to enable us to compare their racing segment times at the end of the day. There are four clearly marked racing sections, each about 7km in distance, and the end of the last segment is a portage up the back of the dam wall of the Pietersfontein Dam for a compulsory NOVA-selfie, to be posted to your ride on Strava. Once you’re on top of the dam wall your race is over, and you can scramble down to the water for a well deserved swim, or head back to the Groenland rest stop for a couple of John’s famous gin-coolers.

 

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Never make the mistake of looking back if you haven't reached the top yet!

 

With everything we’ve been through in the last year I’m sure you’re also looking forward to get back to some kind of normalcy. But we have also made sure that Eroica this year is planned with everyone's safety in mind. From the informal start - whenever you want from 07:00 to 10:00 - to the open spaces at our food and drink stops, we’re giving everyone the opportunity to make their Eroica 2021 their own event, and engage with others on a level they feel comfortable.

 

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Missing the days of social interactions like these.

 

So come join us for NOVA Eroica 2021! Remember the NOVA will share the route with all the Classic riders too, so come check out some beautiful vintage bikes, and maybe even race someone on an old steel racing steed up a hill! It’s time to make some new memories, and to share adventure again … it’s been too long!

 

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Respite from the heat!

 

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Tech.

 

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Hey Joe provided the beer!

 

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Feel the heat.

 

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The Troyeville Flamingoes from JHB. Don’t be fooled - tough birds.

 

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Smiles and thumbs up!

 

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Until …

 

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Lynnae and her super-cool retro-modern gravel built.

 

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These views.

 

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Race face.

 

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It never looks very steep on camera.

 

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Looking done at the first rest stop!

 

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When you see Poppie leading you in you know there will be roosterbrood!

 

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Old meets new.

 

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Real food at Eroica!

 

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The 2018 NOVA winner, Jean Biermans, almost didn’t finish after his derailleur went into his wheel.

 

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But in true Eroica spirit he quickly converted to singlespeed.

 

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Back on the road - smooth single-speed sailing.

 

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Every Eroica rider and NOVA racer receives a route map that must be stamped at every checkpoint.

 

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The NOVA race segments are recorded on Strava - if you complete all four segments the fastest, you win.

 

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NOVA winner in 2018 - Jean Beirmans!

 

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Smile or grimace?

 

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Views and views. If you remember to look up.

 

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Long way to go.

 

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Philip feeling the heat.

 

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Finisher!

 




25 Comments

Grease_Monkey, Mar 25 2021 01:32

Something wrong with the pics... they all show up as links, not actual photos. 

Shebeen, Mar 25 2021 01:58

did it 2019..think it's time again!

 

 

 

Something wrong with the pics... they all show up as links, not actual photos. 

click on the features - works for me now https://community.bi...?source=sidebar

mecheng89, Mar 25 2021 02:04

Looks ILL. Just a rotten time of year for me. 

Grease_Monkey, Mar 25 2021 02:20

did it 2019..think it's time again!

 

 

 

click on the features - works for me now https://community.bi...?source=sidebar

 

That worked, thanks.

Hilton., Mar 25 2021 02:21

Fantastic pictures. Makes me really want to do this!

bertusras, Mar 25 2021 02:25

Who has a bike box in GP that I can borrow for a weekend...

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 25 2021 03:44

Fantastic pictures. Makes me really want to do this!

Come join us Hilton! Guaranteed good times : ) 

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 25 2021 03:46

Who has a bike box in GP that I can borrow for a weekend...

Grab a cardboard box from your local bike shop? I never bother with bike boxes ... free, readily available, reuse, and recycle.

W Smith, Mar 25 2021 03:55

My favourite ride.Such a nice vibe on and off the bike. Glad the route is shorter this year. The 150 km was a killer but also a challenge

Danger Dassie, Mar 25 2021 10:28

Ah, the lesser spotted Flamingoes in all their hipster glory, stick on mustaches and everything.

Wayne pudding Mol, Mar 26 2021 06:51

Ah, the lesser spotted Flamingoes in all their hipster glory, stick on mustaches and everything.


Have just entered and you’ve reminded me to get a nice flannel shirt - sadly a month is not enough time for me to grow a beard

bertusras, Mar 26 2021 06:51

Grab a cardboard box from your local bike shop? I never bother with bike boxes ... free, readily available, reuse, and recycle.

 

I would go that route if I trusted ACSA staff not to chuck someone else's overweight wheeliebag on top of my carbon bike...

Jewbacca, Mar 26 2021 07:25

I would go that route if I trusted ACSA staff not to chuck someone else's overweight wheeliebag on top of my carbon bike...

Best thing to do is to build one using Correx board, rivets and some adhesive velcro.

 

I have one I built which has done nearly 10 years of service at multiple expedition races, international flights etc and with a few duct tape repairs is still going strong.

 

The correx protects your bike better than anything

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 26 2021 08:33

Ah, the lesser spotted Flamingoes in all their hipster glory, stick on mustaches and everything.

Those moustaches are 100% real. 

BuffsVintageBikes, Mar 26 2021 10:12

So much awesomeness, I just wish the Nova was on the Sunday so that we could do both rides over the weekend.

Wayne pudding Mol, Mar 26 2021 11:14

So much awesomeness, I just wish the Nova was on the Sunday so that we could do both rides over the weekend.

ah but you can

 

do the short ride early on one of your many fine roadies and then catch the later start on the Nova

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 26 2021 01:07

So much awesomeness, I just wish the Nova was on the Sunday so that we could do both rides over the weekend.

Or race NOVA on Saturday and plan your own Classic ride Sunday. And remember, there is also the unofficial informal ride Sunday morning. 

475, Mar 28 2021 09:55

I can't believe I'm going to miss this... I'm heading back to GP 1 week before the event 🙈

I've downloaded the routes. Can one ride the entire route before the event date without upsetting farmers/locals?

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 28 2021 11:00

I can't believe I'm going to miss this... I'm heading back to GP 1 week before the event

I've downloaded the routes. Can one ride the entire route before the event date without upsetting farmers/locals?

Hi 475. Sorry to hear you'll miss NOVA.

 

If you've downloaded the 2021 .gxp file please do not attempt to ride the route before the event, or ever without getting permission from all the land owners. Negotiating permission to cross private land is a complex and sometimes tenuous arrangement, and riding the route without permission can jeopardise the event, and getting access in future years. If you'd like to try and arrange access after the event please get in touch with me (0829286586) and I can put you in contact with the relevant people.

 

In the meantime, if you'd like the ride the NOVA route from previous years, you're welcome to. The route follows public roads. 

 

https://connect.garm...course/17146581

 

: )

475, Mar 29 2021 09:06

Hi 475. Sorry to hear you'll miss NOVA.

 

If you've downloaded the 2021 .gxp file please do not attempt to ride the route before the event, or ever without getting permission from all the land owners. Negotiating permission to cross private land is a complex and sometimes tenuous arrangement, and riding the route without permission can jeopardise the event, and getting access in future years. If you'd like to try and arrange access after the event please get in touch with me (0829286586) and I can put you in contact with the relevant people.

 

In the meantime, if you'd like the ride the NOVA route from previous years, you're welcome to. The route follows public roads. 

 

https://connect.garm...course/17146581

 

: )

 

Hi Stan Engelbrecht

 

Thank you for the response. I thought as much, hence me asking :)

 

I'll explore the surrounding dirt roads. Thanks for sharing the old route - I'll get that onto my computer too. In any case, the sights are amazing in that part of the world!

 

:clap:

bertusras, Mar 29 2021 09:28

Hi 475. Sorry to hear you'll miss NOVA.

 

If you've downloaded the 2021 .gxp file please do not attempt to ride the route before the event, or ever without getting permission from all the land owners. Negotiating permission to cross private land is a complex and sometimes tenuous arrangement, and riding the route without permission can jeopardise the event, and getting access in future years. If you'd like to try and arrange access after the event please get in touch with me (0829286586) and I can put you in contact with the relevant people.

 

In the meantime, if you'd like the ride the NOVA route from previous years, you're welcome to. The route follows public roads. 

 

https://connect.garm...course/17146581

 

: )

 

Hmm, this is the same route as the one on the website? i.e. the website doesn't have the 97km route?

Stan Engelbrecht, Mar 29 2021 02:41

Hmm, this is the same route as the one on the website? i.e. the website doesn't have the 97km route?

The new route is on the Eroica South Africa website, not the NOVA website. 

Danger Dassie, Mar 29 2021 07:27

Have just entered and you’ve reminded me to get a nice flannel shirt - sadly a month is not enough time for me to grow a beard

Remember, it must be artisan craftsmanship hand stitched by a retired peg leg sailor, using material recycled from cloth sacks that once held coffee beans for shipping.

A month is just long enough for me to have a beard, not full. But still a beard of sorts. More pressed on entering though, my birthday on the day and couldn't think of a better way to celebrate!


Well I could, but ........... :whistling:

Danger Dassie, Mar 29 2021 07:29

Those moustaches are 100% real. 

Oh how they have you fooled. Those wily sartorialists....

christovdw, Apr 12 2021 10:23

Should be good fun! Looking forward to some Koo Valley gravel!