Lots of action in the early hours of the morning in Montagu today. Martin arrived late last night, had supper and went to bed. After 2 hours of sleep, he got up, had breakfast and eventually got going again at 1:15am. He was briefly delayed by a rain shower in Ashton and stopped for shelter at a garage. He also had to have a power nap in McGregor because he was getting tired again.
Alex arrived in Montagu at 5:30am after having stopped to sleep for 10min in a shed at Anysberg. On the way down Ouberg Pass, he fell asleep on his bike and ended up on the side of the road in a bush, luckily without any damage sustained. He went straight to bed on arrival in Montagu and slept for an hour. A quick breakfast and he was out the door at 6:50am.
Barring any major issues, both these guys will be at the finish in Diemersfontein within the next 24 hours. Alex seems to be on a mission and is still trying to chase Martin down. He's cut his sleep over the last 2 days. Even though there is a gap of some hours, Martin will be looking over his shoulder and too nervous to sleep again before the finish. They will most likely spend the day power napping along the road on the way to the finish. We might even end up with both of them in Stettynskloof at the same time later today - one entering as the other nears the scramble out the top. After more than 10 days on the road, there are still only a few hours in it!
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