The Freedom Challenge
The Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa is an "unsupported" non-stage mountain bike race of approximately 2,300 km across South Africa. While recent winners have won in around 11 days, the race cut-off is 26 days. The race starts in Pietermaritzburg in early-to-mid-June, and ends in Paarl near Cape Town. Temperatures are known to drop as low as minus-10 deg. Celsius. While there are periodic "support stations" which will feed and accommodate riders should they require, the race is unsupported in the sense that riders must carry their own clothing and equipment, are responsible for their own maintenance and navigation (without the aid of GPS), and there are no marshalls or safety officials on the course (Race monitoring is done by satellite tracking). Estimates of cumulative ascent are around 37,000 metres, and the highest point on the route is approximately 2,700 metres above sea level. See the following link for an introductory slideshow by Mike Roy - http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2010-02-04-extreme-endurance-the-freedom-challenge
Sunday, 17 June 2012
The Action Starts - Race Across South Africa Rider Progress Update (Situation as at Sunday Evening 17 June)
And as of today it's race on. Mike Woolnough, Trevor Ball and Allen Sharp have made a break from the early race behaviour, and thrown down the gauntlet to the batches still to start. They set the fastest average speed to Allendale support station to date, popped in at the support station briefly for about 15 minutes and steamed on to Centocow Mission, to average a speed of near on 13km/hour to Centocow. And they're not finished yet. Seems like Trevor and Mike are pushing on, most probably to hit Ntsikeni in the middle of the night. They left Centocow around 19h00 this evening. This puts the 3 of them a half a day ahead of "par" 26-day race schedule already, and could extend this to 1 day ahead of 26-day schedule for Mike and Trevor should they make Ntsikeni as seems to be the plan.
The race number has dwindled to 44, with 4 withdrawals to date.
Hennie de Clerq and Gerrit Pretorius seem to have split, with Hennie appearing to have slowed. His last time recorded was arrival at Vaalbank support station at 17h00 today, while Gerrit had reached the next stage's halfway station of Brosterley at 14h00 today. Assuming these are their overnight options for tonight, it puts Hennie 1 day behind the 26 day schedule and Gerrit half a day behind. To be "with the programme" they should have both reached Romansfontein by tonight. However, it must be repeated that there are many opportunities to make up this deficit later in the race.
As at 19h00 when the latest rider tables were released, we were still waiting for a time for August Carstens, who should be arriving at Allendale, and Elton Pryst, who should be arriving in Rhodes.