MTB race advice by Darol Howes.

Since the first Lesotho Sky, we have given the GPS route to our riders to use as reference, although the route was always marked out. In 2016 however, we moved to a fully GPS navigation for the race. This my best advice to explain what works for me, when following GPS tracks in Lesotho (and other awesome events).
Most races, including Lesotho Sky, that uses GPS navigation, will send you the official GPS route prior to the start of the event. It is important that you load and test these tracks onto your GPS prior to the start of the event. I recommend that you arrive at least a day earlier and test your GPS on the route.

GPS Navigation Made Easy

Here are the three steps that I do with my GPS that helps me to operate it like a boss:
GPS summary

Step 1: Simplify your device:

Maps and information are nice to have but will complicate your display a lot. Following the track is much easier if you turn off everything extra and just show the track in question. If your device has a high contrast mode, this will help greatly in seeing the route. This is illustrated above: Image 1 shows a complex map and image 2 shows a simplified device)

Step 2: Set your zoom distance:

I like to use the GPS set on 80m zoom. Some people like to use 2 devises: one zoomed in to 25 and one at 120m to give you a better overall feeling.

Step 3: Set your device to “Track up”:

Most devices are set this way but in the case that your device is set to “North Up”.  Navigate to map settings and set it to “Track up”. This will make sure that the map will orientate itself (As per images above).
Recommended Garmin devices:
I have used the following with great success:

  • Garmin edge 750
  • Garmin edge 800
  • Garmin edge 810
  • Garmin edge 25
  • Garmin etrex 20
  • Garmin etrex 10
  • I also use my Samsung Galaxy using STRAVA.

If you want something that will work really well, at the best possible price. Have a look at the Garmin Etrex 10. Make sure you buy the bike mount with it. This device is pictured above (No.3) This GPS is as simple as it gets, no base map, just a track to follow and it has a black and white high contrast display that is easy to read in direct sunlight.
Go and practice…

  • Download a route to your device (STRAVA does this really well).
  • Load a GPS trail from where you train and see how the system you use works and what works for you.
  • Go out and ride, get the feel of following the GPS. This practice will go a long way when you face a choice of 3 different tracks all going a similar direction during the Lesotho Sky race.


Strava routing

Navigating with your smart phone is also possible- This image shows STRAVA app as navigator.


Ultimately the best GPS setup is one that you are used to and comfortable with. The only way of doing this is to practice.

I hope all of this helps, there will be big fines for anyone getting lost on the trail this year.

See you all in the #MountainBikeKingdom,


Lesotho Sky Event Director