After 10 days of cycling through banana forests, over abandoned railway tracks, through marshes, over countless climbs and accidentally once on an elephant trail, the route for the Kintu Trial 2020 is almost complete. 99% definite and very soon online on the website. It is going to be awesome!

Below a short report of the recce

With 3 bicycles on the roof of the 4×4 bus, relaxed calves and a lot of enthusiasm for the following days, Thies and Jorn together with driver George left from Kampala on March 6 to Fort Portal to explore the route for the 2020 Kintu Trial. After a 6-hour drive and a good lunch, the first kilometers were cycled. The route was largely already mapped out, but every beautiful single track we encountered was tried to see if it was suitable for the Kintu Trial. Unfortunately, this also occasionally resulted in some tracking through swamps with wet feet as a result …. we had to put some effort in it. Our fitness level also wasn’t as desired, given the considerable amount of “Coke?” stops. Due to this, in combination with the late start, only half of the route for day 1 was cycled, so after 55 KM it was wrap for this day. Still the beer afterwards tasted no less.

On the second day, the remaining half for the first stagewas explored. From Fort Portal, the route headed south along several crater lakes. Halfway we had a break at the top of the KOM with the appropriate name “Top of the World”. Of course this one stays in! Afterwards a technical descent was attempted, but it turned out not to be a succes with our hard tails. The finish spot seemed very nice, but unfortunately not suitable for the Kintu Trial, so an alternative finish was sought which turnes out to be even more beautiful and where you can swim. Afterwards we searched for a new route for the next day which wasn’t on the maps or on Google Earth and despite our good hopes, after a few hundred meters, it turned out that we were on an elephant trail. Since the grass was already up to our shoulders and dusk had started to fall, we decided that it was not a success and that we should look for an alternative the next day.

That next day started in a ‘rustic’ Ugandan hotel in Rwimi (read: washing in a bucket, music until 4 am, pillows as hard as wood), where we had to look for breakfast to replenish our energy reserves. Breakfast ultimately consisted of the same as our many snacks on the bike, namely the famous Rolex, or rolled eggs. An omelet with vegetables rolled in a chapati, a classic. After this, the recce quickly continued with a search for a route south across two rivers without having to take the paved bridges. Unfortunately, the infrastructure turned out to be just not sufficiently developed to avoid them, so we are still stuck with ~ 3KM of asphalt. Perhaps one river crossing could just be done, but since November is right after the rain season, the water will probably be too high. Fortunately, the first 50KM were slightly downhill, so the muscles were relaxed for the monster climb to come.

And indeed it was a monster climb. Even George and his 4×4 were pushed to the limit. We are therefore eagerly looking forward the person who takes the KOM here during KT 2020 (a nice reward is in the offing). Afterwards, of course, no time to relax, but steadily took up some more altimeters. A grueling day with again the necessary “Coke?” stops. On the way we also carried the bikes through a dried-up canyon, crossed the equator at 35km / h and passed some elephant families in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. A good reflection of a day at the Kintu Trial.

After the considerable tough day before, for this day we decided to skip the first half of the route. The first few miles were known terrain, so didn’t necessarily need to be explored. So we had a deserved break in the morning. As a bonus, at one of the accommodations we visited, we were surprised  with a very welcome pasta lunch, so in the afternoon we got back to it. Again a very nice route was explored with many single tracks (awesome!). On the way to our final stop Buhoma we doubted to get in to Congo for a small detour, but after all decided to leave the border about a hundred meters to the right. We had an unplanned finish in Buhoma, but were warmly welcomed by local mountain biker Daniel, who knew exactly what we needed. Food, lots of it and fast.

The next day we continued towards Ruhija in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. In the morning we tried some great single tracks pointed out by Daniel and for the most part included them in the route. On one lame descent, Jorn inspected the red mud up close (unfortunately the GoPro only turned on when he lied already between the tea plants). Upon entering the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, George was waiting for us with a delicious lunch and so we could enjoy this overwhelming green jungle. In theory we could also encounter mountain gorillas, but since we passed in the middle of the day, we missed them this time. The eventual long climb in Bwindi led us to the Ruhija Gorilla Resort camp at an altitude of 2300 meters, the final stop for this day. In the evening we enjoyed watching the KOM’s of this day and made some new ones while enjoying a few good beers.

The last day of the recce started with a short climb to the highest point of the Kintu Trial a little over 2500 meters, followed by a long descent from the national park. A nice warm up. The goal for the day was to find a new route from Bwindi towards Lake Mutanda that we could use for the Kintu Trial. However at first-hand we experienced that great single tracks on satellite images do not always correspond to reality. Especiall you can be mistaken for the height profiles. Result: a KOM that will probably remain in our possession for a very long time. The “Deadly Hike and Bike” is 32% on average, with peaks well above 50%. Hmm yes hiking indeed and unfortunately just not suitable for our route. But the alternative still offers enough challenge though! In the end, a very beautiful route was put together with an impressive finish at the edge of Lake Mutanda.

After 6 days, with many challenging climbs, smooth single tracks, a lot of cokes and calves that have grown slightly again, the recce was over. And with a lot of confidence we can say that it is going to be really awesome. Both the route and the accommodations meet what we hoped for. We are sure that the Kintu Trial 2020 will be great!