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

Friday, 29 June 2012

Daily wrap - 29th June.


  • Stephen Kellerman is sleeping Romansfontein tonight - He struck out early from Brosterlea and spent most of the day portaging over mountains in the Stormberg area. He went to ground  at Romansfontein after finding cell phone signal again and getting sidetracked by business - again... 
  • Roman and Katarina left Hofmeyr this morning and went past Elandsberg to Stuttgart. They still have some front shock issues but no shock pump within a 300km radius of them - maybe one of the farmers can help them out - but they are still one the move.
  • Dino left from Elandsberg early this morning, got to Stuttgart at 10h56 and pressed on to Grootdam. He was making good time and looked on track to complete the first 'double' of his race.
  • The Bus - Gawie, Casper, Charl, Shaun had a relatively straightforward day today, going from Grootdam, through Van deVenterskraal and all the way to Toekomst - there they booked into the 'New Toekomst Lodge' and were relaxing in 5-star comfort well before sunset. Tomorrow Bucklands  will be in their sights.
  • Travis and Burton also booked in at Toekomst, slightly ahead of the rowdy latecomers but there's no doubt a lively party going on there at the moment. 
  • The new Minibus - Andre and Jody, were up to their tricks again today. After a massive 230km push yesterday, they arrived at Van deVenterskraal after midnight and were on the road again by 6am. They got through the game capture fence at Koedeoskop without a hitch and arrived at Toekomst in good time but then wasted a bit of time locating the new lodge. They rolled out again at 12h00 and got around the Darlington Dam without a hitch but then slowed down going through the Gwaas Valley - no doubt yesterday's efforts were catching up with them. They had a surprise visit from friends at the Kleinpoort Padstal and eventually arrived at Bucklands at 21h00. More big moves tomorrow?
  • Tim van Coller and the Ghost Riders (Hugh, Peter and Johann) went into the Baviaanskloof black hole today where there's no signal for trackers or cell phones - When they were last tracking, they seemed to be making good time, so most likely, they are all sleeping at Kudu Kaya tonight. We'll know for sure in the morning. 
  • Chris and Dawn, Allen and Rich all left Cambria this morning and all successfully doubled to Willowmore after stopping for lunch at Dam se Drif.
  • Rory dragged himself away from Hestelle's 'Death by Chocolate' at Dam se Drif this morning and jumped across to Willowmore today. He even arrived early enough to pop into town and buy a new cell phone. Tomorrow he'll go across the Moordenaars Karoo to Prince Albert. 
  • Mike and Graham also left Dam se Drif this morning (although they went while Rory was still sleeping)  and made it to Willowmore for breakfast just before 9am. They carried on but split up shortly afterwards when Graham went ahead, eventually reaching Prince Albert at 20h15. Mike was struggling with his leg again and was taking strain into the strong headwind. By 21h30 he was still an hour away from Prince Albert but making steady progress.
  • Trevor and Theo also pedaled into the stiff headwinds all day with Theo the Steamtrain up front and Trevor hanging on for dear life behind! They got into Prince Albert at 15h45. 
  • Brian also left Willowmore this morning and got to Prince Albert at 18h15.
  • Gerrit started from Prince Albert early this morning and got to Gamkaskloof by 12h00, then pushed on to Rouxpos for the double. He's in for a late night as there are some steep little hills just before Rouxpos but nothing Gerrit can't deal with.
  • Then it's just the two front runners left - Alex came through Montagu at 05h30, slept for an hour and was on his way at 06h50. He made quick time to McGregor and stopped at Kasra for 40 min, leaving again at 13h10. He then slowed on the way through Brandvlei Prison where Steve Thomas and the mobile race office surprised him with a cup of coffee. He went on to Trouthaven and checked in for some sleep at 20h16. His goal now is to get to the finish before 6am on Saturday to get in under the 11 day mark.
  • Martin cruised into Montagu at 21h40 last night, ate and went to bed for 2 hours. He eventually got going again at 01h15 and soon had to take shelter from a storm in Ashton. He also had to sleep for another hour before McGregor and stopped for a quick snack at Kasra. Then he pushed on to Trouthaven, along the way getting knocked over by a delivery van! Fortunately he was able to continue, although he now had an arm injury to contend with. He entered Stettyn's Kloof at 15h30 and we then had comms from him again at 21h00 when he popped out at the Du Toit's Kloof tar road. There is a small crowd of friends and family gathered here at the finish waiting for him to arrive. 

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