The Roof of Africa enduro race is one of the toughest races in the world. This is the 45th year of the race, which happens in Lesotho, between the 17th and 20th of November. Learn why it has been named “The Mother of all Hard Enduros.”
The race this year is based on the more traditional Roof’s, which will see competitors riding in more remote areas, at times very much alone and wondering where the hell they are. The course has been set by riders, with riders’ interests first before anything else. It may not be as spectator friendly as in the past, but will be an adventure of note. The service crews will have a Roof of their own, traveling high up into the mountains on unpaved roads to support their riders.
PRO – 492KM
EXPERT – 381KM
INTERMEDIATE – 308KM
Start will be just before Thaba Busiu at the small quarry. Riders will start with a bit of a fast section, through the fields to the first mountain range where you will then head up “Seamus’s Slide”. Once on the plateau, you will follow along the ridge of the mountain and it will be a fast flowing section. Then you will drop down a rocky section into the valley, and straight into a tight bushy section. Followed by a bit of a technical climb, leading you to the back of “Repeater”. You will drop down “Repeater” and then head to the right; and straight back up a not-too-technical climb. Then into some more fast flowing sections on the plateau, through the fields and a few villages. Then another decent into some flowing tube-type riding, and once at the bottom, straight up the other side, a short and very rocky climb. After that you will head into a forest section, “Forest Gump” a bit of a hill to go up. Then single track riding till you reach the tar road crossing.
Then the long technical climb of the TT, “Handlebar Hill” (from 2010). Once at the top, you will ride on the plateau a bit, before dropping down a steep short rocky piece. Then it opens up with some single-track riding, with a few river crossings and zigzags through a forest section. Then you will climb up a bit of a technical white rock section, before coming down the first of the two heavy downhills. After this a bit more flowing single track, into a bit of flat-out fields to the final challenge “The Dropper” a serious downhill. Then it’s back home along some fast terrain. Across the tar road and back into the small quarry for the flying finish.
Start will again be at the small quarry just before Thaba Busiu. Riders will head into a fast section, all the way to Roma Bridge where they will cross under the bridge and head straight towards “Keyhole”. After that, they will head up and down a few ridges before coming to Sandstone Slide, which is a very steep, white rock downhill. This will lead them into a very nice-flowing tube section, before crossing over a gravel road into some single-track bushy sections. This will lead you to Ha Tlali, where you will drop down a very steep and short downhill “Tlali Tumbler” after this you will head towards the first refuel. (48 KM)
After the refuel you will head down to 2-Bridges, cross over and then into “Uli-Forrest”. From there you will do the Silver Loop from 2010 in reverse. This being a very slippery climb, “Cleavage Climb” between the rocks, and then back down. Then you will do a loop through a few fields and along a couple faster section, as well as a technical climb and descent to end up at Ramabanta for the second refuel. This refuel will be along the road just below Ramabanta before the bridge. So service crews will park on the side and you as the rider will be responsible for spotting your crew. (41 KM) (Total 89 KM)
Then you will head out along the gravel road and just after the bridge turn right and head up “Baboons Pass”. Once you reach the Top you will turn right and head along “Bridal Pass” to Semongkong. This section will be nice, flowing, single-track with a few bushy pieces and a climb and descent or two. Semongkong will be the third refuel of the day, and will also be the finish for the intermediate class. (39 KM) (Total 128 KM)
After the refuel you will head along a gravel road, for a few kilometers before turning right off it and along the famous route towards “Slide Your Arse”. Halfway along this section, you will turn right just after a river and head up and over a few mountain ranges. This will be a bit of virgin terrain, single-track and bushy, but it isn’t too long. This will lead you to the Top of “Big Dick”, a very steep and challenging downhill. At the bottom of this, you will have a bit of flowing riding to catch your breath before heading into “Ribaneng” all the way back to Ramabanta for the fourth refuel and finish for the expert class. This refuel will be again along the gravel road, but the road just to the right of Ramabanta. Yet again, service crews will be parked along the road and it is the rider’s responsibility to spot his crew. (58 KM) (Total 186 KM)
After this refuel the Pro riders will head out on the Pro Loop. You will start off heading into “Black Neck”, a single-track flowing, but technical section which you will follow all the way to “Mad Cow Pass”, a gnarly climb. This will leave you on the top of the mountain range, and a bit of a chance to catch your breath before dropping down “Boilers”, which is a very bushy decent with round rolling rocks. Now you will ride a bit of a faster section, down some white rocks and into a bit of single-track that will twist and wind all the way to “Free Fall” which will be the last challenges facing the Pro Riders. Free Fall is a long, off-camber, very rocking with a few tough step section. This will be the Finish of Fridays Racing. (59 KM) (Total 245KM)
If you survive all the challenges of Friday, you will begin Saturday again at the small quarry, just before Thaba Busiu. You will follow the same section as you did on Friday; but just before you get to the Tar Road for the first time there will be a split. That will take you through a few fields, which will lead you to a drop into the Roma Valley down the white sandstone rocks. You will then follow the same section as the Pro riders followed, towards Free Fall and as you head into the forest, you will continue straight through the forest and NOT up Free Fall. You will then follow single-track all the way to Roma Bridge, and you will cross in the same place as Friday. But after you cross under the bridge, you will turn LEFT and head along a fast section towards “Music Box”. This will be the first of Saturday’s many challenges. Once you have conquered this pass, you will be at the first refuel to catch your breath. This refuel will be at the top of Music Box. (41 KM)
You will then do a small loop towards Pressure Cooker, single track section that is really fun riding. This will lead towards the zig-zag shale climb to Nyakasoba. You will cross over the tar road and the head down Popanyane to 2-Bridges where you will cross over the steel bridge, head straight over the tar road and towards “Two T*ts Pass”. Once you are at the top of this relatively easy pass, you will have a bit of single-track along the plateau until you drop down a technical decent called “Spaghetti”. At the bottom of this descent you will join into the “Black Neck Section” the Pro riders done the day before. You will follow along this section for a few kilometers, before crossing over a steel bridge towards St. Benedict’s. This split will be clearly marked and controlled by a marshal. St. Benedict’s will be the second refuel and a major split for the Pro and Expert/Intermediate Classes. (42KM) (Total 83KM)
Pro riders will turn left out of the refuel and follow a main gravel road, that will be LIVE for about 4 kilometers before turning right off the gravel road and into “Never Ending Steps”. This turn-off will be yet again be controlled by a marshal. This section will be the first, major challenge for the pro riders, a very slippery fine sand climb with a few hectic steps. Once at the top of this climb, you will turn left and drop down “Errol-ling Round Rocks” a very technical, loose decent. The Expert/Intermediate riders will join in at the top of this decent.
Expert /Intermediate riders will turn right out of the refuel and follow a main gravel round for about 1 kilometer, before turning off to the left and into a bit of a flowing section before they reach the “Never Ending Story” climb; which is a long and very, never-ending, bushy, single-track with lots of rocks hidden behind the bushes. Once you reach the top, you will have a section to catch your breath along the plateau that will lead you to the top of the “Errol-ling Round Rocks” descent.
Once you make it down this pass, you will head into a bit of technical single-track riding all the way back to the gravel road, which you will cross over twice. At the third road crossing, there will be another important split, controlled by a marshal. This time Pro/Expert will head off to the left and the Intermediate class will head off to the right.
The Intermediate riders will follow a very spectacular, single-track section along the Makhaleng River. This will lead them into their last, serious challenge of the Roof. A very gnarly short climb that is very slippery, but once you reach the top there is a nice shady place to have a break. Then it is smooth sailing all the way to your finish at Setibeng. (37KM) (Total 120KM)
The Pro/Expert class will then hook into the final piece of the Gold section of 2010. You will head up “Bush Push” climb, which is quite a long and obviously bushy climb. This will leave you on the top of the mountain range where you will have a flowing section along the plateau fields, until you reach the top of “Dalton’s Drop” a very steep, loose rock descent into the bushman’s valley. Once in the valley, you will have a nice flowing section towards “Bushman’s Pass” to catch your breath before heading up the Expert’s finishing Climb. The right side of bushman’s, which is slippery, rocky, long and tough.
Pro (48KM) (Total 131KM)
Expert (52KM) (Total 135KM)
Pro riders will then head straight over bushman’s and into your third refuel. After this refuel, you will head down into the Setibeng Valley, which is a very enjoyable downhill. Following this, you will head down a very scenic single trail, that will take you all the way up a bit of a technical climb to the top of “Belokomo Pass”. Down this pass is very tough on the arms and once at the bottom at the village, you will turn right and you will have a bit of flowing single-track to catch your breath. But then you head into the Make-or-Break section, “Push Me Pass”. A very tough, long, slippery and mentally draining climb with some scary drop-offs. Once this is conquered you will drop into “Push Me Down” a tough, rocky descent back into the bushman’s valley. From here you have single-track riding, with a bit of fast fields all the way back to “Bushman’s Pass”. You will cross the Tar Road, at the bottom of the pass and then head up the left side of Bushman’s to complete the 2012 PRO Roof of Africa. (56KM) (Total 187KM) If you get here you are a man amongst men.