The Great Kei Trek Overview

Welcome to mountain biking’s best kept secret. The Great Kei Trek.

After an unbelievable 2018 inaugural event, the 2019 staging promises to be even better.

The scheduled dates are 2, 3 & 4 May.

If you haven’t heard about The Great Kei Trek, read on. If you have, well then best you just enter as spots for the 2019 edition will be limited.

In keeping with the tradition of creating top class and high-quality events, The Leverage Corporation is proud to announce the 2019, staging of The Great Kei Trek.

The Great Kei Trek, is a 3-day, 240km race/ ride that will be something new and exciting on the MTB calendar.

The Great Kei Trek is a race that isn’t a race. In 2018 we introduced various Strava Sections and we had a number of these on each day – some were won by the racing snakes and some by the non-snakes, and some were won by people who didn’t even ride a particular Strava Section.

The emphasis is on pushing yourself as best you can, but without the pressure of a typical MTB race.

This will definitely appeal to those who traditionally use the months of April or May for their “away-game”. So if you are tired of doing the “same old-same-old”, or are still stuck on a waiting list, and you are looking for something new, this is definitely something for you.

A 2-rider team race, fully catered for, with different tented accommodation options and some new and exciting tracks for 2019, and of course some stunning Eastern Cape Hospitality – something that will get you wanting to do this ride. (Warning – the Eastern Cape okes, especially the farmers, know how to look after you – just ask those who did the 2018 edition)

The race is scheduled to start in Tylden, a small village just outside, Queenstown. Queenstown will host rider registration and pre-party.

Day 1 will see riders travel from Tylden bypassing the beautiful village of Cathcart some 30km away. Cathcart was originally a small military post, but is now a peaceful farming town with an hospitable community.

Riders will push on to the quaint historical village of the Old Thomas River where they will enjoy their first night of Eastern Cape hospitality. (Google Old Thomas River – it’s like a trip to another century)

Old Thomas River Historical Village is owned by Jeff and Anne Samson, Jeff is the consummate collector and historian and will entertain you until late at night with tales of what has happened over the years.

Jeff does the entertaining while Anne and her team will ensure that you are well fed. She’s a brilliant chef.

The village is named after a British deserter, Thomas Bently who was killed by a poisonous bushman arrow.

The old town train station sits between old forts and dates back to the late 1870’s. The station was remodeled in 1926 and was last used in 1948. The village is brimming with history and was restored to its former glory in 2003.

Day 1 will be approximately 75km. (For those of you who rode in 2018, you will notice that we have reduced the distance somewhat, but have included some really fun sections of single track we weren’t able to access in 2018)

Day 2 will see riders leave The Old Thomas River, destination Komga.

Once having left Old Thomas River, riders will push on through the beautiful forests of Stutterheim before the final push of the day to Komga.

Stutterheim is the home of many picturesque hiking trails, as well as mountain streams that are well-stocked with trout – not that you will have time for fishing, but we thought you might like to know. The iconic Amatola Hiking Trail goes past Stutterheim, it was hailed as the best 7-day hike in the country, but unfortunately the facilities have become a bit run down.

Before reaching Komga, you will have one big challenge for the day – The Kubusi Valley. 4km from top to bottom with a descent of 300m. So take it easy – this is your first Strava Section of Day 2 – no pedaling from Top to Bottom.

And then the climb – Strava Section 2 – 7km from bottom to the top of the valley, and almost 400m of climbing. It’s steep.

Komga, your home for night 2, is a town in Amatole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape and is situated 45mins north of East London. It was founded as a farming centre in 1877 on the site of a military camp established in 1854.

Prepare to be spoilt here. The Komga Ladies know how to cook and the Farmers know how to braai, so prepare yourselves for a feast – Komga Style.

Day 2 will be in the region of 95km.

And then the final push, Day 3…. From Komga, through the Chaba Wind Farm, boasting seven massive Vestas wind turbines, then through the Great Kei River Valley to through the charming tiny coastal village of Haga Haga.

Haga Haga is a new detour for 2019 and will afford you some more beautiful views of the ocean. Haga as it is affectionately known is a popular holiday destination and has been just that for the organizer for the past 19 years.

From Haga, with one or two climbs to go, you will then push on to the beautiful and stunning and peaceful seaside holiday village of Morgan Bay which will be the finish of a rewarding three days of an unbelievable experience. Here you will finish in 2019 on the cliffs with absolutely stunning views. And Chris, the brewer from the local brewery called Emerald Vale, will be there to assist you “rehydrate” yourself.

Once you have fully hydrated yourself, you can then ride at your leisure on to the charming fishing village of Kei Mouth, some 4kms away, where the Kei Mouth Golf Club team will be waiting to entertain you.

All post-race logistics such as your complimentary burger, your medal, vehicle collection, box collection and bike drop off will take place at the golf club.

Day 3 will be in the region of 76km.

And then don’t forget the after party. Following the success of the 2018 party, you will need to book, but you can do this closer to race day. The after party will again take place at the Morgan Bay Hotel on the night of the 4th of May – don’t worry – it’s a Saturday night, so book your flight home carefully and you can have a lie-in on Sunday.

IN CLOSING:

All water tables are manned by the farmers from various farmer’s associations and they do their utmost to make sure you are well looked after at each point.

And finally…If the route is not to your liking you can shoot down the Course Director, Deanbean, on The Bikehub.co.za’s Great Kei Trek thread. Deanbean needed his fireproof suit and bullet proof vest for the week after the GKT. But he survived and will be bringing you another awesome ride in 2018.

Just double check when he tells you to turn left… or is it right…

But Deanbean promises a much-improved route for 2019.


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