GPS Info

The inaugural RVO back in 2010 pioneered adventure racing with 100% GPS enabled self-navigation. GARMIN has continued as our exclusive GPS partner since 2010, we would be lost without GARMIN.

Must I use a GPS on the RVO?

YES, each team must have a GPS unit. The RVO route is not marked, indicated nor signaled in any way, so without a GPS you will get lost. The only way to navigate the RVO route is by following the RVO track on a GPS.

Navigation Systems is the GARMIN specialist distributor in Kenya. They offer all RVO entrants very special pricing on select models .

What model of GARMIN device is best for the RVO?

There are 3 series of GARMIN GPS that are recommended for the RVO:

Series 1 – eTrex touch 25/35, eTrex 20x/30x, eTrex 10/20/30
Series 2 - Dakota 20, Oregon, Montana.
Series 3 – Edge 800 / 810 / 820 / 1000

Value for your $$'s

  • Any eTrex or Series 2 device for half the price of the 820 / 1000
  • EDGE 800/ 810/ 820 - if you are a statistical (or status) fanatic that needs to measure every imaginable cycling performance data.
  • EDGE 1000 is super sexy BUT offers negligible extra value for its super sexy price.

Series 1&2 are BEST for use on the RVO because:

  • Are designed first and foremost as navigation devices with cycling performance monitoring as built in features.
  • Their software logic for navigation is intuitive.
  • AA batteries eliminate the desperation to find a power strip for recharging.
  • Simply bring a pair of AA batteries per stage - keep a set in your camelback as backup (when you forget to replace them in camp).

Series 3 are designed as cycling performance monitors with navigation as an additional feature (after thought?). Their software logic for navigation is cumbersome, frustrating, far from intuitive when mountain biking far from any mapped road.

Very fundamental differences in the way the Series 1&2 vs. 3 operate.

  • If you are purchasing a GARMIN for the RVO and any other ALL purpose needs, then buy any Series 1 or 2
  • Series 1&2 will measure all the cycling performance stats that a mountain biker needs
  • Series 1&2 are excellent for driving, hiking, city walking, fishing, aviation, geocaching.
  • Series 3 devices are useless when off the bike.


Fenix & other watches: are amazingly capable BUT totally impractical on the RVO, you cannot navigate with them while hurtling down a rugged trail.

Edge 500/510/520 ARE NOT USEABLE ON THE RVO. They are not navigation devices as you cannot upload and display tracks on them.

Edge 705/605 are cycling performance monitors best suited for road cycling. For the RVO, they have very limited track management functions, the map screen is tiny with very poor resolution, therefore challenging for quick and precise navigation out on the forest trails. Useable yes but not at all friendly.

Map 64s: is very capable / useable but its size is too cumbersome for cycling.

MAP 60/62 CSX | eTrex Legend (all versions) are discontinued – they are barely useable, not recommended, therefore not supported. Please don't bring one then ask us for help - we will ignore you!!

Must I use a Garmin GPS, or can I use any other make?

A: Garmin manufacture the best consumer GPS units, other makes of GPS units will accept the RVO tracks but they will not perform as well.

How do I setup my GPS?

We very strongly recommend that all entrants are fully acquainted with their GPS device prior to the race. As race organisers we assume you are technically proficient at setting up your GPS device with your navigation preferences and how to self-navigate.

  • We will not train you on how to assemble your bike / fix a puncture / lube your chain / GPS usage.
  • We will provide training and guidance at the Prologue but not during the event proper.
  • DO NOT seek assistance when at the start line on 26 Sep - we will ignore you!!
I want to buy a GPS now so I can practice with it before the race, Can I buy it now, or is the special offer only at the time of the race?

Once you are registered for the RVO and paid your entry, then you can buy your GPS with the RVO discount.

If I have a GPS now and live outside Kenya, Can you send me the track?

Yes, we will email it to you one week in advance of the event.

How do I attach my GPS to my bike?

GARMIN makes plastic brackets for mounting units to bicycle stems / handlebars. Once fitted securely they hold the GPS in place even over the roughest of trails. Due to trail vibration we recommend mounting your GPS on the steering stem and not the handlebar.

Do I need a Kenya base map pre-loaded into my GPS unit? Will one be provided with the RVO track?

Preferably YES, all international entrants will receive a micro-SD card with the Kenya road map to install in their GPS. This detailed base map contains contoured topographical info, major and minor roads plus '000's of Points of Interest. It is available for purchase by non-international entrants.

The RVO track in .GPX format is separate, this will be distributed via email 1 week prior to the RVO. The track is 100% precise, so long as you stay on track you will be fine, but WHEN you do stray way off track you might need the road map to recover.

I don't know anything about orienteering. How will I know if I am on the right track if I only have a GPS?

You don’t need to know anything about orienteering, nor do you need to be an expert on GPSs. The only thing you do need to ensure is that when you view your screen - you are the arrow and the RVO track is the fat line. As long as you keep the arrow on the line, then you are on course.

It is critical that all entrants are very familiar with their GPS units, especially at adjusting their zoom level in/out. Due to the innumerable junctions and single-track footpaths, we suggest riding with a maximum zoom level of 80m-120m magnification.

By using a Garmin GPS there is little chance of getting lost, and the additional information that appears on the screen means you don’t even have to hesitate when you come to an intersection or crossroads. Your performance on the trails will be exactly the same as if you were following physical course markers, with the added benefit that you are unlikely to take a wrong turn, and you will never get (totally) lost, unlike if you were following a marked course.

Are Garmin GPS compatible with Mac computers?

Yes, the RVO race office is 100% Mac.

Odyssey Rules

Unfortunately there must be rules, rules are created principally for rider safety and enjoyment. For those who are serious racers, these rules also provide the parameters in which riders must race to avoid penalties or punch-ups.

For non-racers, they will give you an indication of what it’s like to race without actually having to. There are two rules that we consider mandatory for all riders:

(a) Partners must stick together at all times

(b) Riders carry their full supply of obligatory equipment (defined sec. 5).

It might happen that some stronger partners might leave their weaker partners along the way. This is regrettably not within the spirit of MTB stage races and friendships are easily broken. Any riders stuck in the middle of the Rift Valley without sustenance or repair equipment will have a very long day.  They might also become a convenient meal on (broken) wheels…

Supplementary versions of the RVO rules may be uploaded in due course. The RVO is conducted in the spirit of self-contained, self-reliant cross-country cycling. Riders participate in the RVO with an understanding and acceptance of this ethos.

Unwritten Rules of single track riding

The RVO has some superb sections of single track. The ride of way principal applies to single track and any challenging sections. Ride of Way is a very simple concept that applies to all mountain bikers all over the planet:

“If you are walking on a section because it is too technical or you are too tired to cycle, you must give way to those that are riding”

If you are behind someone pushing simply ask for ride of way.

Give Way – if there is a faster rider behind you, try to find a safe place to let him or her pass you. If you are man and she is a woman do not knock her over just because she is faster than you.

If you are behind a slower rider, politely ask them to let you pass but don’t make them panic and fall. We are all here for a good time. Keep it nice and chilled and nobody will get hurt. Not even your ego.

The RVO entry cancellation and refund policy is as follows:

Cancellation before 30th June: 100% refund (less any bank charges)

Cancellation between 01st to 31st July: 75% refund

Cancellation between 01st August to 31st August: 25% refund

Cancellation after 01st September: 0% refund

Rider substitutions within a team after 01st July will attract a fee of KES 1,000.

Changes to registered T-shirt size will not be accepted after 15th July, please ensure that you selected your correct size during registration.

Rules of Participation

1. Riders
1.1 Minimum age of participation is 18 years on RVO start date.

1.2 Riders must be in good health, well trained and possess a good sense of adventure and humour.

1.3 Two riders constitute a team and they must never be separated by more than 2 minutes while on the route.

1.4 Should one rider drop out, the surviving rider must join another team after ensuring their partner is safe and the organizers have confirmed their retirement. The 2-minute separation rule remains in force with the newly formed team.

2. Medical
2.1 During the race, RVO Medical Officer reserves the right to withdraw a rider who is not considered physically or mentally capable of continuing.

3. Bicycles
3.1 Only Mountain Bikes in good working order will be allowed to start the race.

3.2 No more than one bike per rider is allowed. Riders must start and finish the event on the same bike.

3.3 Maintenance of bicycles during the race is the responsibility of each rider.

3.4 Basic bike repair services at Race Camp might be provided by independent private workshops.

3.5 In all cases of maintenance and repair, riders are required to complete the full distance of the stage with their bikes and within the time allowed

4. Helmets and Clothing
4.1 A rider not wearing a helmet at any stage of the race will be disqualified.

4.2 All helmets must comply with international 'ANSI' standards.

4.3 Appropriate riding attire, including a shirt, must be worn at all times.

4.4 Eye protection is very strongly recommended.

4.5 Fully enclosed footwear must be worn.

4.6 High Sun Protection Factor (+30) sunblock is very highly recommended; very little tree cover exists along the route.

5. Obligatory Equipment
It is absolutely necessary that riders ensure that they are fully prepared to deal with emergencies they may encounter. Each team should carry the following items during the race (usually loaded on the faster rider):

First Aid Kit – containing a minimum of:
Foil survival blanket
First Aid Dressings x 3 (Sizes 2, 3 and 4 recommended)
Adhesive first aid plasters x 5
Sun-block with a minimum SPF factor of 30
Any riders on specific personal medications are responsible for supplying and carrying such medication.
At least 3 litres liquid capacity per rider.
Multi-tool or bike repair tools
Mobile telephone with sufficient battery and air time

6. Nutrition and Hydration
The RVO will pass through very hot and dry areas of the Great Rift Valley:

6.1 Riders retain the ultimate responsibility to carry enough water (3L) and nutrition with them.

6.2 The RVO Race Organization is not obliged to provide water and nutrition nor any water points along the route.

7. Seconding and Support
7.1 Competitors may receive assistance from a fellow competitor. (Ref 7.4 below).

7.2 Outside seconding, assistance or feeding is permitted in designated areas only.

7.3 Outside assistance includes assisting with bike maintenance, water and nutrition support and physically assisting riders. (This implies that team members may receive physical assistance from their team partner like towing up a hill.)

7.4 Bike repairs may be performed on the route but without obstructing other riders.

7.5 The Race Organization will endeavor to provide neutral water stations that supply food, water and medical assistance.

7.6 Riders are not allowed to draft behind other riders who are not participating in the RVO, but may draft behind their own team partner or other team riders taking part in the RVO

7.7 No other form of drafting is permitted whatsoever including, but not limited to, private vehicles, motorcycles and trucks.

7.8 Specific escort or seconding vehicles not provided by the RVO Race Organizers are not permitted to follow the race route. However, supporters may drive their own vehicles along public roads to reach vantage points to vocally support riders. All sections of the route will be open to all non-event traffic – including some public roads.

8. Withdrawals and the Formation of New Teams
8.1 Teams that cannot continue the race, for whatever reason, must immediately inform the Race Office. This can be done at the Race Start, the Finish, at Checkpoints.

8.2 In the event of a search and rescue operation being initiated for a rider or team which has withdrawn, but has not informed the Race Office, the cost of the search and rescue operation will be transferred to the rider or team.

8.3 In the event of one team member being incapable of completing the race, The Race Office will assist to form a new team in which the single rider can participate. The formation of a new team, however, remains the rider's responsibility.

8.4 The formation of new teams can only be done at the end of a stage, and by the latest at 06h30 before the start of the following stage.

8.5 Single riders will not be allowed to begin any stage on their own.

8.6 Newly formed teams will not qualify for team ranking, but individual riders will qualify as race finishers, on condition that they ride as a team with the newly formed team.

9. Ethical and Environmental
9.1 No littering or unnecessary damage to the environment will be tolerated.

9.2 Litter, relating to sports nutrition and feeding stations, will be tolerated within the direct area of the feed stations.

10. Protests
10.1 Any protests must be submitted in writing to the Race Director, within 30 minutes of the protesting rider finishing the stage.

10.2 A non-refundable deposit of 1 full crate of beer (25 bottles) must be lodged together with the protest. The protest will be debated only after the said deposited crate of beer has been fully consumed by the deliberants, thereafter a final and binding verdict will be declared.

11. Doping
11.1 The RVO has no idea on how to conduct dope tests.

11.2 All dopers are welcome to cut, roll and smoke the grass tracks of Stage 1. This will hopefully make it easier for others to peddle across the grass tracks.

12. Disqualification and Penalties
Teams may be disqualified at the discretion of the Race Director for any one or more of the following reasons including, but not limited to:

12.1 Riding at any point on any stage without a helmet

12.2 Excessive littering

12.3 Disrespect or damage to the environment

12.4 Bad sportsmanship

12.5 Abuse of Race Officials

12.6 Traffic Rule violations

12.7 Breaking of RVO Race Rules as described above

12.8 Rule infringements and Penalties are provided in the Table below, but are not limited to that Table.

12.9 Time penalties will be applied to Stage results, as well as to Overall Race results or General Classification

13. Basic Mountain Bike Racing Rules and Etiquette
13.1 Riders must complete the entire distance of the race, and the responsibility for following the official route lies with the rider.

13.2 A rider is not permitted to take any shortcuts or to omit a circuit, or take other advantage of a similar nature against opponents.

13.3 Riders, who exit the route of the course for any reason, must return to the course at the same point from which they exited, or at a point that cannot be considered as having created unfair advantage.

13.4 A rider can receive any technical assistance along the course from any other competitor, but not from non-competitors.

13.5 Riders must act in a polite manner at all times, and permit any faster rider to overtake without obstructing.

13.6 Riders must respect the countryside and ride only on the official route. Riders must avoid polluting the area, and not leave any waste or litter. The RVO traverses private land that must be respected.

13.7 No glass containers of any kind are permitted on or near the course.

13.8 Riders must not use offensive or abusive language during the race, act in an unsporting manner, be disrespectful to the officials, or ignore the race regulations.

14. Discretion of the Race Director
Where any additional rule interpretation is required, or where specific provision for any incident has not been made in these rules, the decision made by the Race Director will be final.

Travelling To Kenya

Kenya Visa Info

International visitors to Kenya require a visa that can be obtained online in advance to save on airport queues:
Visitor visa policy and list of exempt countries is available 
Apply online for your visa 

Medical Info

We are not qualified to offer any medical advice, therefore please consult your personal physician and research online articles for appropriate information.

Packing List

RVO Packing List