By Riaan Odendaal
THE inaugural Great Kei Trek took place over the weekend of 27 April 2018, a three-day Mountain Bike event that started at Roydon’s Game Lodge just outside Komani before winding its way to Kei Mouth where the Kei Mouth Country Club hosted the riders for lunch on Sunday.
The main prize-giving took place at the Morgan Bay Hotel.
The Great Kei Trek is the brainchild of Rob Jackson of The Leverage Corporation.
Riders – mostly from upcountry – enjoyed the Eastern Cape scenery and the hospitality of the local Thomas River and Komga farmers. Thomas River and Komga were also the location of the two overnight stops where riders arrived to an already pitched tent and rider box. The smaller tents had comfortable mattresses where the larger tents (an optional extra) had room to stand and a stretcher instead of bare mattresses. Roydon Game Reserve hosted the riders on the Friday night with a braai and warm fires as well as a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning, that signalled the stage one start. o
The first stage was from Queenstown to Thomas River, a tough stage of 95km consisting of gravel roads, single track and jeep track. Every stage had three water points hosted by the local farmers. Route planner Dean Sheared made sure riders would work hard between water points two and three. s
A final 11km brought them to Thomas River, where once again the local farmers ensured riders were well fed and rested,
Sunday morning was another early rise with a scheduled start time of 7am. The day’s stage consisted of district roads, single track and jeep track with a forest section and amazing scenery. The stage ended 95km away in Komga where the local traffic authorities escorted cyclists to the finish line.
The Komga showgrounds were the venue for the evening and the local farmers ensured that everyone was well cared for.
Monday saw the last and final stage of the event – Komga to Kei Mouth – that was a shorter stage of 72km.
A second event, the Farmers’ Ride, was added to Sunday where the Trek riders were joined by social riders participating in only the final stage. The route took riders through the wind farms and along the Ocean View road down to Black Rock Farm and onto the Morgan Bay cliffs for a compulsory 10-minute stop – the final water point manned by Emerald Vale Brewery. This final stop slowed the pace and forced the riders to soak up the breathtaking beauty of the cliffs with a well-deserved ale.
A big thank you to all the sponsors and congratulation to Rob Jackson from Leverage Corporation and his team who did a great job in putting together a very successful Great Kei Trek.