2019 Trans Elands Extreme (160km) route description

Extreme route GPX file

2020 Trans Elands 60km Marathon route description

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 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

The 60km race starts at 07h00 from The Ferry Hotel situated on the banks of the Gamtoos River, near Jeffrey’s Bay.

You’ll turn right out of the grounds of The Ferry Hotel and along the tar road in a Southerly direction. The route takes a right turn at the first T-junction and another right to cross over the Gamtoos River via the old single lane bridge.

At +/- 2,2km from the start, the route turns right off the tar road and onto a gravel road through the Mondplaas cattle farm. The route goes past the main homestead as well as the staff houses where you can be sure to get plenty of support from the local kids. Be on the lookout for cattle heading to or from the milking shed along the way.

At +/- 6,7km you turn right onto a public gravel road (normal road rules apply here!) and about 500m further you turn left and onto the start of a jeep track climb (+/- 800 m long, with +/- 80m elevation gain). This is followed by a further +/- 3km of jeep track which is fairly fast, but grassy in places. The route turns left just before reaching the boundary fence and immediately right and onto a public road (watch out for normal traffic here!) with a short section of tar and then gravel.

At +/-12,5km into the race, the route takes a left turn (away from the 30km route which continues straight here) and runs to the left of and in parallel with a trainline.

At +/- 14,6km from the start the route takes a right turn and enters a privately owned farm. For the next +/-2km you’ll ride along the inside of the boundary fence of this farm. At about 18,8km the route takes a sharp left and runs along the top of a valley with awesome, mostly downhill (but a bit technical in places) jeeptrack up until +/-22,7km, after which the route turns right and runs between game fences on either side.

At +/-23,7km you’ll reach the 1st Waterpoint where it is advisable to fill up for the CLIMB ahead. After the waterpoint, you’ll take a sharp right onto a public road (NB: look out for motor vehicles before turning right here!). This gravel road with an elevation gain of +/- 170m over the next 6km, might look familiar (as it is used during the Trans Baviaans, although in the opposite direction).

At +/-30km the route turns right towards Little Mac (of Trans Baviaans fame), which you’ll fortunately be descending this time and it will be in broad daylight too. Be VERY careful though, along this fast technical descend. And as they say, “after very downhill there’s an uphill”, so you’ll be taking on the Mooidraai climb (+/- 1,5km with 75m elevation gain) next.

At +/-34km the route takes a sharp right (onto the Zuurbron farm) where it joins up with and follows the same route as the 160km “extreme”. NB: Do not miss this right turn!   After going through a farm gate you’ll be on a fast downhill section of 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 at (+/- 39km into the race) onto the Mondplaas gravel road. NOTE: lookout for cars on the road before turning right!  You’ll now be on the infamous bumpy, but fast Mondplaas road and you’ll reach the 2nd Waterpoint at +/-43,5km into the race (be sure to take a selfie with the CHOC “Cow” ladies at this waterpoint). After this waterpoint you’ll be on the same route as the 30km “lite” riders, so if you’re a racing snake, please look out for 30km back markers that you might come across along the way!

At +/-46,3km at the bottom of a downhill on the Mondplaas road, the 60km (and 30km) route turns left (away from the 160km route) to do a +/- 4,5km loop through another cattle farm and then returns back onto the public gravel road. At +/- 52km the route turns left off the public road and heads back through the Mondplaas cattle farm and then left onto the R102 tar road (normal road rules apply here!) and back across the Gamtoos river bridge to the finish at The Ferry Hotel where the festivities await you.

Actual distance = 61km (incl. 2,2km neutral zone at the start)

2019 Trans Elands Mini (30km) route description

The 30km race starts at 07h30 from The Ferry Hotel situated on the banks of the Gamtoos River, near Jeffrey’s Bay.

You’ll turn right out of the grounds of The Ferry Hotel and along the tar road in a Southerly direction. The route takes a right turn at the first T-junction and another right to cross over the Gamtoos River via the old single lane bridge.

At +/- 2,2km from the start, the route turns right off the tar road and onto a gravel road through the Mondplaas cattle farm. The route goes past the main homestead as well as the staff houses where you can be sure to get plenty of support from the local kids. Be on the lookout for cattle heading to or from the milking shed along the way.

At +/- 6,7km you turn right onto a public gravel road (normal road rules apply here!) and about 500m further you turn left and onto the start of a jeep track climb (+/- 800 m in length, with +/- 80m elevation gain). This is followed by a further +/- 3km of jeep track which is fairly fast, but grassy in places.

The route turns left just before reaching the boundary fence and immediately right and onto a public road (watch out for normal traffic here!) with a short section of tar and then gravel to the highest point on the route, where the Waterpoint is located at +/-13,5km into the race.

Lookout for normal traffic as you leave the WP with a right turn onto a somewhat bumpy, but fast gravel public road. At the bottom of the downhill at +/- 16,3km into the race, you take a left out of the gravel road to do a +/- 4,5km loop through another cattle farm and then return back onto the public gravel road. At +/- 22km the route turns left off the public road and heads back through the Mondplaas cattle farm and then left onto the R102 tar road (normal road rules apply here!) and back across the Gamtoos river bridge to the finish at The Ferry Hotel.

With a 3 hour time limit, you might just be finished in time to enjoy a hearty breakfast at The Ferry Hotel after your ride.

Actual distance = 29km