Recapping The Migration Gravel Race

This past summer, the world was introduced to a truly one-of-a-kind bike event, the Migration Gravel Race, and along with it, a cast of talented cyclists from Kenya, Uganda, and surrounding East African countries for four stages of exciting, head-to-head competition across the Maasai Mara. Joined by leading cyclists from the international circuit, the Migration Race, which is part of the broader Amani Project, provided local riders the opportunity to compete on their home turf, while welcoming the world onto some of Kenya’s most challenging, stunning gravel roads.


The first stage opened in spectacular fashion with sixty-one riders lining up beneath the rising Kenyan sun. A strong headwind and rough roads would be a constant challenge throughout the day, with individual riders facing their own unique setbacks en route. PEdALED rider and Amani coordinator, Sule Kangangi of Kenya, punctured early on, leading to a 50km solo chase to catch the breakaway group, helmed by former Tour pro Laurens ten Dam. In the end, Sule’s work would prove worth it, as he crossed the first finish line in second place behind ten Dam, whose own solo effort earned him a comfortable early lead.

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In the women’s category, it was another international rider who’d claim the day. American Betsy Welch, whose commanding performance put her well ahead of second-place finisher, Kenyan Nancy Akinyi Debe—but how long would her lead hold?

As the Queen Stage, day two was one for the climbers. Across 174km and over 3,000 meters, shifting surfaces and rough terrain ensured that elevation wouldn’t be the only obstacle standing between racers and the finish line. But when the dust settled, it would be Nancy Akinyi Debe who’d take the win for the women, with Laurens ten Dam crossing first in the men’s category, followed shortly by American gravel star Ian Boswell, with Sule in third.

With less climbing, but on tired legs, Stage Three was hot, fast and exciting, even mixing in a bit of paved road with the rough terrain found in the previous three days. Making a late-stage escape, Kenyan rider Geoffrey Langat would solo his way to the win, a first for local cyclists in the men’s category, while Nancy Akinyi Debe secured her second stage victory in a row.

Heading into the fourth and final day, times at the top of the leaderboard had grown tight. Having pushed hard for the previous three days, riders reached deep to see who still had the most gas left in their tank, with Ian Boswell’s energy reserves just full enough to spur him on to a solo stage win. Nancy Akinyi Debe continued her trend of outpacing the women’s field, earning her the final stage and overall GC title. For the men, the podium consisted of Laurens ten Dam at the top, followed by Sule Kangangi in second and countryman Kenneth Karaya in third.

Along with unforgettable memories, participants in this inaugural event take home lasting friendships with fellow riders from across the planet, all united by an experience like no other: The Migration Gravel Race.

Registration for the 2022 MGR opens on January 1st.