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 -

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Alex Harris appears to be leading the racing snakes out of Ntsikeni, having left a bit earlier than Martin Dreyer

It appears from Tracker as if Everest climber Alex Harris has led the way out of Ntsikeni this morning, having left at 03h00 followed shortly after by Martin Dreyer. Such is the nature of a non-stage race that it is all very well to arrive at a support station first, but if someone can make do with less sleep than you he can neutralise your advantage.

When I had communications with Glenn last night, though, had had just limped out of Centocow with Andre at about 23h00, and was still not feeling well at all. He was moving slowly up to Ntsikeni at that stage, and his Tracker indicates that he may still not be at Ntsikeni yet. This puts him significantly slower than Alex and Martin now, and how he feels at Ntsikeni will probably be crucial as to whether he continues to chase the leaders.

Garth Flanders is still resting at May Lodge, Ntsikeni, thus being ahead of Glenn but behind Alex and Martin. Graeme Bird's tracker hasn't moved since just after Centacow, which suggests an issue with tracker communication, so one can't say too much about his position.

So my expectation of some riders moving straight through Ntsikeni didn't metarialise. Today, at least Malakhalonyane is likely to be reached. That was where Alex slept last year on the 2nd night of his record-breaking race. Tinana Mission?

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