The Rwandan Epic recently ran in March, after two years of postponing and moving the first edition. Some of the winners including Karl Platt and Jean Eric Habimana have convinced the event team to not only move the event back to its original date in November, but also to add one more stage to race, to a total of 5 stages, including the prologue.
Rwanda is known to be a cycling crazy country, with the UCI 2.1 race Tour du Rwanda being one of the largest road cycling events on the African continent. Globally the country has been recognised, with the road world championships coming to the country of a thousand hills in 2025.
Mountain biking is yet to achieve a similar status in the country and the Rwandan Epic team is set to change this. The first international edition of the race in March this year confirmed the potential of the country for mountain biking. The course showcased the trails, views and passionate spectators in Rwanda.
“We did notice that the original date of November is a better place in the calendar both in terms of weather conditions and travel opportunities for our international participants”, says Simon De Schutter, RaR Events Director. At an altitude of over 1500 meters and a location near the equator, Rwanda has 25 degrees Celsius year-round, but March to May is the heavy rainy season, something the March edition competitors can confirm.
Instead of waiting 20 months between two editions, a second edition in 2022 will be hosted from November 1st to 5th 2022, this time with an extra stage, bringing the total to 5.
A prologue in an urban environment in the capital city Kigali, marathon stages in the lake and volcanoes area and even an XCO stage on the volcanic rocks of the Virunga national park, offer the riders an exquisite view of this stunning country, which now 28 years after the genocide that tore it apart has found pride in being one of the cleanest and safest places not just in Africa but globally.
Although not a UCI event, the race does offer a prize purse of 7000 USD for the male, female and mixed categories and beyond that has an open category for solo riders and ebikes.
Part of each entry fee goes to covering the participation of local East African talent. As in the March edition, the race will try to team up experienced global riders with young local talent, in order to offer learning opportunities for those Rwandan, Kenyan and Ugandan riders with a passion for the sport.
Race entries start at 1250 euros per person and are for sale now on www.rwandanepic.com.
All photos: Naomi Cousins