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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.

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

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.

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 and 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.

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.

The Recce Rouleurs route will start in the Lowveld region and end on the Eastern Escarpment of Mpumalanga in South Africa.

The first ~7500 meters elevation will take place mostly in the plantation and forestry sections of Mpumalanga over a distance of nearly 250 km with the altitude ranging between 840 meters and 2000 meters above sea level.

The Recce Rouleurs will join the Mission route on the escarpment.The final ~2500 meters elevation gain will coincide with the Mission, Jammie and Light Duty races. This section of the route will go beyond 2000 meters above sea level on a number of occasions with the maximum altitude being 2332 meters.


Route surface: 

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

Riders can expect to complete more than 20% (~90 km) of the total distance and one third (3550 meters) of the elevation gain on tarred passes and/or cement Jeep tracks. Almost all downhills will be on dirt roads which some will be very steep.


View Recce Rouleurs route fly-overs:

Elevation recording devices: 

Data integrity is the key to complete a Recce Rouleurs event. While there will be no Check Points along the route, WE want your ride to count, and YOU want your ride to count. Data isn’t perfect, and no recording device is perfect, but to apply for entry into the HRS Hall of Fame your data must be as accurate as possible.

  • Rides must be recorded on a device with a barometric pressure sensor.
  • Elevation correction options cannot be used to record or uploading data
  • Some elements of the ride can be manually adjusted in the upload stage

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, verifying and hosting a Recce Rouleurs challenge:

  • If necessary, complete a data merge (if merging two or more files)
  • All rides must be uploaded to Strava
  • Submit your Recce Rouleurs rides to HRS's Veloviewer to apply for entering the HRS.

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; mixed bikes are not allowed, e.g. bike swaps using MTB and road, or other bikes, are not allowed, while 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.
  • Once all Recce Rouleurs entries have been filled, applications for the event will close.
  • 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.

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.