The race starts from (and finishes at) The Ferry Hotel situated on the banks of the Gamtoos River, near Jeffrey’s Bay.
After the start, the route heads off along a 5,8km tar section in a Northerly direction before turning sharp left and a further 5km of undulating tar road follows to get the legs nicely warmed before the gravel road fun starts. Riders turn right at Flamingo Lake onto the Padlangs gravel road, with some short-sharp climbs incl. the infamous “Concrete Killer” climb (@ 17,5km) to test the climbing legs for what’s to follow later in the race.
At about 19,5km into the race the route crosses the Hankey tar road and then takes a left turn onto a fast downhill tar road section and a small climb before splitting off to the right (at the 1st water point at ± 22 km into the race). The route then goes past Loerie Ruskamp and drops down to a river crossing (normally without any water in it) which signals the start of Lex’s Monster climb …a 12.5km ascent with an elevation gain of ± 650m, with the KOM Hotspot at the summit at ± 36km into the race.
After the KOM Hotspot riders are treated to some exhilarating downhill jeep track (NB: REDUCE speed for the deceptive Kamakaze hairpin bend 39km into the race!), before the route turns left onto the Elands River road and reaches the 2nd water point (near Sand River Dam) at ± 48.5km into the race.
The route then winds through the Elands River Valley to reach the 3rd water point at the Cheese Shop ± 76,8km into the race, where riders will be faced with the difficult choice of either stopping to fill up with fuel or continuing past and onto the 2nd major climb of the race (± 7.5km with 250m elevation gain) up to the Mast.
From the Mast to Patensie is fast downhill territory, spiced up with a few short sharp climbs and tight bends along the way, after which riders reach the 4th water point at +/-100,5km into the race (at Patensie) where it would be prudent to fill up on fuel.
The route then meanders through some lush citrus farmlands and then gradually climbs through Droëkloof before turning left at ± 111km into the race, after which riders will be faced with the daunting task of tackling The Never Ender climb (± 12km with 250m elevation gain). The summit of Never Ender is reach at +/- 122km into the race and followed by a bit more climbing along the Y-Split (TAKE NOTE: keep left at the split!), after which riders can enjoy the next ± 6km down to Zuurbron (at ± 131km into the race) where the 5th water point is situated.
After leaving the Zuurbron water point there’s a short section of single track before crossing underneath the (Humansdorp-Hankey) tar road. NOTE: After exiting the tunnel, the route takes a sharp RIGHT (NOTE: the is the start a +/-9km section which is different to our 2017 route!) and heads up to a left turn onto a gravel road section (which should be familiar to Trans Baviaans riders). After +/-4km on this gravel road the route turns left (NB: Do Not miss this LEFT TURN!) off the gravel road and through a farm gate onto jeep track which drops down into the valley where the route heads right. A further 1km of jeep track follows before the route turns left and a +/1km rocky jeep track section starts which gradually climbs out of the valley, then takes a right and a left turn and then heads straight along a fence for a 2km jeep track section, before turning right onto the Mondplaas gravel road. NOTE: lookout for cars on the road before turning right!)
Once onto the Mondplaas road there’s about 16km left to the finish. The first half of which is a fast stretch of gravel, although somewhat bumpy, especially if you’re the hard core type taking on the Trans Elands on a hardtail). Riders will be pleased to reach the start of the tar road at just short of 150km into the race and should be even more pleased to know that it’s tar all the way to the finish. Many a race is either won or lost along this final stretch, depending on whether you’ve left your legs behind on one of the many climbs earlier in the race.
The finish is at The Ferry Hotel, where riders can enjoy a cool frosty and something to eat while reliving the memories made in completing the Trans Elands Extreme MTB Marathon, SA’s toughest 100 miler, founded by Lex Holmes.
Actual distance = 156km