Safari Gravel Race – Kenya’s Inaugural UCI Event

UCI Gravel World Series

In the heart of Kenya’s stunning Naivasha, something monumental is about to take place: the Safari Gravel Race, the country’s first-ever UCI event. Scheduled just a week after Rwanda’s race, this event promises to be a unique blend of adrenaline-pumping action and breathtaking scenery. We caught up with organizer Mikel Delagrange and race director James Savage to get the inside scoop.

Mikel: “Picture this: the majestic backdrop of Hell’s Gate National Park, home to the iconic Pride Rock that inspired Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. It’s a privilege to host this event, especially considering its proximity to our other gravel race, the Migration Gravel Race in the Masai Mara National Park. Most riders take the opportunity to travel to combine both races, eventually even with the race in Rwanda. This isn’t just another race; it’s a historic moment for Kenya, and we couldn’t be prouder.”

What can participants expect from the course?

James: “We wanted to cater to all levels of riders, so we’ve designed a course with three loops. The first, a 20km loop, offers a taste of racing for newcomers. The second, a 40km loop, is the final round for men over 60 and women over 50. And finally, a challenging 60km loop that will push even the elite riders to their limits. Starting and ending at the Flamingo Farm near Elsa’s Gate, each loop showcases the natural beauty of the park.”

Racing amidst a safari backdrop must be a unique experience for foreign participants?

James: “Absolutely. The course isn’t just about the rocks and gravel; it’s about sharing the terrain with Kenya’s diverse wildlife. From giraffes to zebras, ostriches to wildebeests, riders will encounter a truly unforgettable spectacle of nature.”

And with such an exotic setting, one can only imagine the intensity of the competition.

James: “Indeed. Despite the picturesque surroundings, this race will be no walk in the park. With 1800m of elevation gain and a predominantly gravel terrain, participants will need to bring their best legs.”

Any notable names confirmed for the event?

Mikel: “We’re thrilled to announce the participation of some renowned cyclists, including Lachlan Morton, Lawrence Naesen, Chad Haga, Freddy Ovett, Mattia de Marchi, Elliot Phillips, Amity Rockwell, Maddy Nutt, Sarah Diekmeyer. It’s shaping up to be a showdown of epic proportions.”

As the excitement builds for Kenya’s maiden UCI event, all eyes are on the Safari Gravel Race, where history will be made amidst the untamed beauty of Naivasha’s wilderness.

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