Trail run To Hell and Back in 2016

Trail run To Hell and Back in 2016.

Ecobound has a strong connection with the Hell as it was the birthplace for essentially what Ecobound has become today. In 1995 we launched the first and long standing MTB stage race; The To Hell and Back, the original and the oldest stage race in the country. Since then Ecobound has taken on very different shapes and sizes of events and have established a retupa for organising extra ordinary events.

Naturally with multiple explorations into the Hell, more and more knowledge was gained about the area. There was long discussions within the family on multi discipline events with all the trails and routes the area had to offer and negotiations with land owners over the years. But we could not come up with a concrete plan or idea of what to do with all of these available trails and the raw adventure the area had to offer.

Then it happened Trail Running hit the scene of South Africa and it reminded us of the early mountain biking days, it had the same “free spirited” connection. We fell in love with the sport and it opened our eyes to a whole set of new possibilities.

The Hell Run has taken us just about 4 years to put together, there has been allot of negotiations and the structure of the event has taken on different shapes in those 4 years. We now believe we have something special that will leave an awe inspiring sensation, of the area and trail running in the mountains, with each runner lucky enough to conquer The Hell Run.

This trail run will take you along routes long forgotten by the modern world. Many years ago these paths were only known by tradesmen, using donkeys to carry their produce to the inhabitants of the valley called ‘the hell’. The remote single track up and down the tenacious Swartberg Mountains, etched with the prints of donkey hooves, was the only connection to the outside world for many years. These abandoned trails will be ‘unlocked’ for the first time for a Trail Running experience never seen before. Only once a year and as part of this event, has the use of these routes been approved by The Donkey Trail and Cape Nature. All will be privileged to start the first of the 2 day stage trail run on the majestic Donkey Trails. Overnight in the Hell campsite and enjoy the time around the fires! The Elandspass will sure be in your dreams or nightmares that night as the next morning runners will head out with this steady climb out of the Hell and turn back onto the mountain trails, with the Gamkaskloof fading in the distance as you cross back over the mountains to the world renowned Port valley of Calitzdorp. This race is guaranteed to leave you coming back for more.

Entries open the 1st January 2016, go to for more info.

Invitational run

An Invitational run is planned for the 19th and 20th December more detail on how the run went to follow.

2015 To Hell and Back MTB stage race – Press Release

This year South Africa’s first MTB Stage Race turned 21 years old!

14 / 15 November 2015 – Not much has changes since the first event, back in 1995, when it was created out of a deep passion for remote places and touring-style riding. The mountainous route, magnificent views, well-stocked waterpoints, relaxed atmosphere and sleep-over in The Hell makes this event so popular!

It’s an original, a classic, enjoyed by the true mountain bikers of SA.

Day 1 stared with the riders making their way over the winding Swartberg pass enjoying the scenic surroundings in the crisp early morning air. Dylan Rabello, Team Jeep, was the first to cross the summit making the 21km climb seem like a mere bump in the road. Riders enjoyed the rest of the route going up and down the valleys towards Gamkaskloof or ‘The Hell’ in ideal riding conditions. The top of Elandspass ended the hard work for Day 1, as it was downhill from there into the kloof, the finish for the first day and where warm showers, food and cold beer awaited.

No electricity, no cell reception, no TV, not even radio reception! Luckily afternoon entertainment was proved by Tony Cook , who also hosted the Movemeber Champs. The evening riders enjoyed great live music while supper was served, or rather ‘braaid’. The atmosphere amongst riders can only be understood if you’ve actually been to The Hell and understand the remoteness.

Day 2 started with the riders setting off to conquer Elandspass, with the weather warming up and promising a nice day. Riders cycled the same route back ‘out of the Hell’ returning to the De Hoek Nature Resort, finishing their 120km’s with a total of 3650m accent over 2 days. It’s not South Africa’s longest Mountain Pass for nothing.

The youngster, Dylan Rabello won the overall mens category in a time of 05.05.59. In the Ladies race, local Ischen Stopforth won in a time of 06.20.42. This was also Ischen’s 10th To Hell and Back. Having done 10 years she now joins the Old Nicks Club.

Dylan Rabello won the overall mens category in a time of 05.05.59

Dylan Rabello won the overall mens category in a time of 05.05.59

Thank you to our sponsors! Riders are always happy to find Spur at the midway mark, with waiters handing out burgers and chips with a smile (come rain or sunshine), Squirt making sure every chain gets lube, not missing one bicycle, Safari keeping the fires burning, Momsen Bikes making sure we have quality prizes and Clover, for handing out their goodies to each finisher.

Riders are always happy to find Spur at the midway mark, with waiters handing out burgers and chips with a smile (come rain or sunshine)

Riders are always happy to find Spur at the midway mark, with waiters handing out burgers and chips with a smile (come rain or sunshine)

Due to limited accommodation and facilities in The Hell, CapeNature placed a limit on the number of participants allowed. When the event reaches that capacity – entries are closed. Make sure not to miss this experience next year and ensure you enter this event when entries open on 01 June!

The To Hell and Back MTB Stage Race is a Mountain Bike Event organized by Mountain Bikers for Mountain bikers!

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