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Recce Rouleurs



The Recce Journey will be an epic, unusual adventure. Riders will require to do serious planning with a well thought out strategy to complete this journey. They will pass through three resupply zones with food and water, including Fort Mission in Dullstroom before starting the final section of their journey. Riders will also pass through various Check Points, of which some will have water.

  • 420 km | 10000 m vertical | 36 hrs (Sleep allowed)

The mission is to achieve more than 10,000 meters vertical in less than 36 hours, with the total distance more than 400 km. 





The Honoris Crux is a South African military decoration that was awarded for exceptional deeds of bravery against an armed enemy, while is great or extreme danger.

The Recce Rouleurs will arguably be one of the toughest MTB challenges ever attempted...

"Yes, it will be difficult but it can be done. At some point your mind will play tricks on you and your body will go on auto-pilot; at other times your body will shut down and your mind will carry you through."  

RECCE JOURNEY: Breaks are essential in completing the Recce Journey; riders will have to eat, stretch, change kit, and rehydrate along the route. Breaks can be of any frequency and duration. The amount of time riders takes for a break add up very quickly over the duration of the ride.

Sleep will be allowed on the Recce Journey. Riders are allowed to nap / micro sleep / sleep as they see fit. How riders use their 36 hour allocation is completely up to them. However, the 36-hour clock is ticking while they sleep.

 Ever wanted to feel what it’s like to be the toughest and push yourself and test your limits? The concept of entry to the High Rouleurs Society Hall of Fame is simple - ride a bicycle until you reach 10,000 vertical metres (32,809 feet).

The Recce Rouleurs will achieve this feat on a mountain bike...

It will comply with 'The Journey' and ‘The Limit’ guidelines of the High Rouleur’s Society. It will see mountain bike riders reach 10,000 vertical metres according to the rules of the High Rouleurs Society. If a Recce Rouleurs challenge has been completed according to these guidelines, riders can apply to enter the High Rouleurs Society Hall of Fame.


  • 420 km | 10000 m vertical | 54 hrs (No sleep allowed)

This will be one single unbroken ride of more than 10,000 meters vertical. The HRS guidelines do not provide for any time restriction; however, the cut-off time for the Recce Limit is 54 hours and no sleep is allowed.

While no distance requirement applies, riders can expect to cover roughly 420 km on the Recce Journey route. The Recce Limit is all about finding the boundaries of what is possible in a single ride.

RECCE LIMIT: During the Recce Limit single-ride attempt there is no nap / micro sleep / sleep allowed. The key is completing it in one ride. Sleeping (or napping or micro sleeping) effectively turns it into multiple rides.

It is debatable at what point does a microsleep become a sleep, and what is the time limit therefore on a sleep. Naturally no one is there to check whether a rider’s 15 minute break included shut-eye.

Sleeping (or any form of sleeping) is not permitted for the Recce Limit. Riders that have not been moving for a period longer than 15 minutes outside of a Recce Fort or Temporary Base will be disqualified and Returned-to-Base.

Participants that DARE to enlist for the Recce Rouleurs will EXPLORE some of the most breathtaking and out-of-breath terrain imaginable. Riders will have to conquer 15 tough ascents (and descents) in their quest to CONQUER the Recce Rouleurs.


The route will start in the Lowveld region of Mpumalanga at an altitutde of less than 1000 meters ASL and end in Dullstroom on the Eastern Escarpment at an altitude of more than 2000 meters ASL. 


The route surface will be a mixture of tar, forestry, secondary district and farm roads, as well as cement, paved and other Jeep track.


Route features: 

  • Total distance: 428 km
  • Total elevation: ~10080 meters (measured with a barometric pressure sensor GPS)
  • Private land or concessions that are not accessible to public: 75%
  • Forestry land at an altitude 880 - 2000 meters ASL: 330 km
  • Highlands savannah at an altitude 1800 - 2000 meters ASL: 98 km
  • Tar, cement or paved: ~100 km (includes inclines of up to 20 degrees)
  • Coincide with MTB Mission: Final 75 km


View Recce Rouleurs route fly-overs:

Elevation, distance and time recording: 

WE want your ride to count, and YOU want your ride to count. Data integrity is the key to complete a Recce Rouleurs event and to apply for entry into the HRS Hall of Fame.

We have mapped the Recce Rouleurs route with barometric pressure sensor GPS devices. There will be approximately 30 Check Points along the route. We will verify that you have passed through all the CPs and completed the Recce Rouleurs route, as well as validate that you have achieved the vertical gain of 10000 meters winthin the required time.

Data isn’t perfect, and no recording device is perfect, but we have ensured your elevation data is as accurate as possible. Elevation correction options cannot be used to record or uploading your data. Some elements of the ride can be manually adjusted in the upload stage, i.e. the Recce Journey can be recorded as two separate files, and automatically merged during the upload process. The Recce Limit might even require more than two separate files.

Steps for uploading a Recce Rouleurs challenge to HRS:

  • If necessary, complete a data merge (if merging two or more files)
  • All rides must be uploaded to Strava
  • Submit your Recce Rouleurs Finish Certificate (NAME, TIME, DISTRANCE, ELEVATION) with you GPS files that contains your rides to HRS's Veloviewer to apply for entering the HRS Hall of Fame.

Battery life: 

It is most likely that the time to complete the Recce Rouleurs will outlast a computer battery. Riders must plan ahead to ensure they are not caught short.

The easiest option is an external battery pack. Test it beforehand as some devices will reset if plugged in mid-ride. An On-The-Go (OTG) micro-USB cable has an internal pin removed which will allow charging while riding (this seems to be an issue with some units such as the Garmin Edge 500).

A second option is to start a new device once the old one runs out of battery. Riding files will need to be merged post-ride, and before being submitted for verifying the Recce Rouleurs route covered, or submitting it to HRS.

Mountain Bikes ONLY: 

The HRS guidelines allow riders with the ability to switch bikes during the ride. The Recce Rouleurs is a mountain bike challenge; in principle mixed bikes are allowed, e.g. bike swaps using MTB and road, or other bikes, can be done. However, more of 75% of the route is inaccessible to the public and support teams, and such bike swops can only be made at the Supporter Zones.

Bike categories such as road, cyclocross, recumbent, tandem and electric or motorised bikes are not accepted. 


The Recce Rouleurs is is an unsupported challenge on unmarked routes by means of a GPS navigation device. Each rider wishing to enter the Recce Rouleurs must apply for an entry.

Similar to any Special Forces operator, the selection criteria for entering the Recce Rouleurs will be strict and not all applicants will be successful.

Similar to the Honoris Crux medals, the Recce Rouleurs will only be earned by a few very brave MTB warriors:

  • 46 Honoris Crux decorations were awarded to the Recce Special Forces
  • A total number of 46 riders will be allowed to enter the Recce Rouleurs

Enlisting process: 

Riders can only enter in a solo category, but can ride in small teams of 2 persons, or in attack teams of 3 or more people. For safety, it is strongly recommended that ladies that want to enter the Recce Rouleurs apply for an entry with a riding buddy.

Riders that want to enlist for the Recce Rouleurs event must apply for an entry by submitting an application with the following information:

  • Name & Age
  • Gender
  • Country of residence
  • Motivation why entering the Recce Rouleurs (maximum 100 words)
  • Reason why participant thinks he/sh will finish the Recce Rouleurs (maximum 100 words) 

Qualification & Entry: 

  • Recce Mission 2019 finishers pre-qualify for enlisting the Recce Rouleurs. Other applicants will be informed via email on whether their applications have been successful (or not).
  • Successful applicants must complete the electronic entry form and submit proof of payment within a period of 6 days from date of acceptance to retain their entry.
  • Everybody that entered the Recce Rouleurs must submit a completed Medical Questionnaire not older than 3 weeks (21 days) prior to or during Registration. Failing to do so will require participants to sign a Medical Waiver and ONLY register for a Recce Mission event instead.

Cancellations & substitutions: 

  • No substitutions are allowed for the Recce Rouleurs events and an entry cannot be transferred to another person.
  • The event organisers reserve the right to cancel the event at any time and the event can be cancelled due to any circumstances – refer to Recce Race Terms & Conditions.
  • Cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing via email and must be received prior to the scheduled refund cut-off dates.
gallery/recce mtb rouleurs - route profile 2020

Leg 1: Behind Enemy Lines

The ascent to Spitskop will take riders behind enemy lines and one thing will stick in their heads as they make it up the mountain – “FIGMO...”

Leg 2: Killing Zone

Riders will enter the killing zone after the Slaaihoek re-supply point – a particular hostile section where the one ambush after the other awaits them…

Firstly a treacherous descent await riders as they descent into the Komati basin which might spell the end of riders’ Rouleurs ambitions if they ignore the DANGER signs!

From Ndubazi next to the Komati River riders will encounter some of the toughest sections and in military terms the Situation Report will read: “SNAFU”. This situation will remain the same for a very long time until rider reach the safety and well-deserved R&R at Fort Hoop.

As darkness might catch up with the backmarkers, the hostile and difficult section between Onverwacht and Siebenbach forest stations will be marked to ensure riders do not miss one of the many side roads and short cuts through the Blue Swallow reserve

Leg 3: Escape & Evasion (E&E)

Fort Hoop will only spell the halfway mark and it will take more than guts and glory to leave base in their quest to become Recce Rouleurs and stand a chance of entering the High Rouleurs’ exclusive Hall of Fame.

After the first E&E section riders will come to one conclusion only… "SUSFU"

This situation will remain the same until riders make it to Fort Hoogte where they will appreciate a warm meal and fresh supplies!

Leg 4: No-Man’s Land

No-Man’s Land will bring some relieve as riders make their way through undulating terrain on their way to the Helvetia plantations. Riders BEWARE – crossing No-Man’s Land will not be an easy task and you will come to the following conclusion - "TARFU"

Leg 5: Mine Field

At Fort Tower riders will join the Recce Mission and Recce Jammie riders for the final stretch to the Finish at Fort Mission. This section of the route will be a mine field…

Tough times never last and things will become easier. However, the route will require absolute concentration and focus before the final ascent on the escarpment cement Jeep track to more than 2100 meter ASL. As riders make their way toward Dullstroom, most will be described by one acronym only – "FUBAR"

General Roules:

Altogether 201 Honoris Crux decorations were awarded since the mid-1970’s when it was instituted. The operators of the South African Special Forces, also known as the Reconnaissance Commandos or the Recces, were awarded 46 Honoris Crux decorations, the most of all South African military units.