Odyssey Rules

(Rules adapted from Joberg2c)

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.