Grabouw 121111. Stage three of the Wine to Whales MTB race was cancelled today beacause of bad weather. PHOTO SAM CLARK. [email protected]


CAPE Town lived up to its four-seasons-in-one-day reputation as several high-profile sporting events were marred by rain, hail and snow – with the sun making an appearance in the late afternoon.

Snow on the mountains and heavy rain forced organisers to cancel the third leg of the Wine2Whales mountain bike challenge.

The three-day race was cut short yesterday morning, leaving riders unable to complete the 85km stage from Grabouw Country Club to Onrus Caravan Park near Hermanus.

Race co-commissaire Richard Durrant said: “It was cancelled due to unsafe conditions and rider safety was compromised by snow on the mountains. We couldn’t allow riders being wet and suffering hypothermia from low temperatures.

“We also could not guarantee medics and personnel would be able to access the course should anything happen.”

Co-commissaire Arno Neethling said: “We realise that it’s a mountain bike race, but it’s also not an extreme challenge and our main concern remains to get our riders home safely. The decision was taken in consultation with the route directors, disaster management, and the medical and rescue teams.”

Dominic Calitz and Matthys Beukes of Team were the 2011 Contego Wines2Whales Champions in the men’s team category.

Ischen Stopforth and Catherine Williamson of Team Bizhub won the women’s title and Yolande De Villiers and Johan Labuschagne of Team Cycle Lab KTM defended their mixed team title.

Thousands of people braved rain and hail to take part in the Discovery Cape Time Big Walk.

Race organiser Tania Carolus said about 37 000 walkers had been expected to take part but only about 80 percent of them arrived.

“It was a bit challenging when you’re thrown a curve ball of having four seasons in one day, but most entrants braved the weather,” Carolus said.

Participants entered to walk 10 routes. Starting from Cape Town to Simon’s Town, the 80km walk kicked off at 3.45am. Other distances were 50km, 30km, 25km, 20km, 13km, 12km, 11km, 10km, and 5km.

Funds raised are to be given to charities including Cansa, Nazareth House and The Steenberg Foundation.

Walkers were entertained by comedians David Isaacs, Oscar Petersen, Stuart Taylor and Kurt Schoonraad. Everyone who crossed the finish line received a medal.

The heavy showers also led to the postponement of the RideLife cycling day planned in Stellenbosch yesterday.

Non-motorised transport users were set for a ride in the streets of the town but the event was cancelled after morning downpours.

Organiser Carinus Lemmer said the event would take place in about three weeks, weather permitting.

“It was very wet out there, so we decided it would be better to postpone… we’re aiming for another Sunday about three weeks from now, but we’ll let people know once we finalise the date,” he said.

Cape Town weather officer meteorologist Henning Grobler said rain was not unusual for this time of year.

He said a cold front supported by an upper air system resulted in some snow on the mountain tops which was expected to melt by today.

Capetonians could expect sunny conditions this week.

The Weather Service has issued fire warnings as temperatures soar in Gauteng.