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 onto gravel to Loerie Ruskamp where the 1st water point is located (at ± 22 km into the race). After Loerie Ruskamp the route 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 and somewhat technical downhill jeep track (NB: REDUCE speed for the deceptive Kamakaze hairpin bend 39km into the race!), before the route reaches the 2nd water point (AT THE INTERSECTION with Elands River Rd) at just short of 44km into the race. The route then turns left onto Elands River Rd and goes past the Sand River Dam.
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. Just before the tar road at Patensie, the route takes a SHARP right next to the canal, and then a left +/- 1km further, where riders will be relieved to see 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” (if not corrugated) the next ± 6km down to Zuurbron farm. NOTE there is a CHANGE HERE for 2021: the route takes a SHARP LEFT just BEFORE the STOP sign (at the Hankey – Humansdorp tar road) and drops down along a newly cut short section of single track, then goes underneath the tar road and tales a right UP to the very important Zuurbron WP and Checkpoint (NOTE: cut-off times HERE!).
After leaving the Zuurbron WP, turn left onto a gravel road (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 game fence for a 1km jeep track section, before turning right (NOTE: the change here for 2021) for a further 2km between fences and then takes a left and goes past the (Zuurbron 2nd farm house) 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 tar road goes underneath the N2 and then takes a left onto Old Cape Rd (NB: look out for cars on this road!). You will then ride over the Old Gamtoos River (single lane) bridge …where you may start the celebrations :-). Take a left after the bridge, down to the the finish at The Ferry Hotel, where you 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 = 157km