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 -

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Daily wrap - 30th June

With Martin, the winner and Alex, runner up already in at Diemersfontein, the excitement of the chase up front has subsided. This doesn't mean that the show is over - there are still 26 riders out on the trail and each day they get a little bit closer to the finish. Here's how they went today:
  • Stephen Kellerman took on the Aasvoelberg today, leaving from Romansfontein this morning. The mountain flexed its muscle and bucked him off a few times but he tucked and rolled his way down and continued on to Hofmeyr. Arriving mid afternoon, he opted to stay, rather than risk getting caught out on the feared Elandsberg portage at night. He now has a bit of work to do to catch up after three consecutive half-day riding stages. Hopefully he'll skip the next chapter of his book in the morning and get going early so he can claw back some time by getting to Stuttgart tomorrow night.
  • Roman and Katarina were on a roll today, leaving Stuttgart this morning, passing by Grootdam and getting all the way to VandeVenterskraal. This is their first double up, so they will sleep well tonight.
  • Dino left Grootdam this morning and soldiered on over the Struishoek portage. He checked in at VandeVenterskraal at 17h00 which was a long day. At least tonight he has some company for a change, with the arrival of Roman and Katarina.
  • Up ahead are Travis and Burton. They left the new Toekomst lodge this morning and arrived at Bucklands at 17h00. Plain sailing for today it seems.
  • Also at Bucklands are the members of the Bus - Gawie, Sean, Casper and Charl. They made good time getting to Kleinpoort today but Gawie seems to have a technical issue involving a broken rear skewer. Farmer Hannes has been banging away in his workshop to try and sort it out - hopefully he'll be rolling again tomorrow. That's two ailing bikes on the bus now, Casper's cracked frame is there too - what are these party animals doing out there?
  • After arriving at Bucklands late last night, the Double-Up Duo of Andre and Jody seem to have overslept and left a bit late this morning. Their target was Dam se Drif, (in keeping with their recent antics) but thet were a bit late to the start of the Osseberg jeep track. When they eventually crawled into Cambria and 19h00 and contacted us, they spoke of having survived the 'Vietnam section' and having run out of food and water and even drinking from a stream - too much action for one afternoon, so they opted to stay at Kudu Kaya and continue their assault in the pre-dawn hours. (Hestelle from Dam se Drif has been notified that they won't be there for supper, rather for breakfast and she has kindly promised to keep their pudding for them.)
  • Tim van Coller and the Ghost riders (Peter, Johann and Hugh) went up the Baviaanskloof today. This merry band seem to have disbanded at Dam se Drif, with Tim and Hugh staying over and Peter and Johann continuing on to Willowmore where they arrived at 20h05.
  • Five riders left Willowmore this morning - Chris, Dawn, Allen, Rich and Rory. Rory lead the into Prince Albert, arriving at 16h30, Rich and Allen at 18h00 and Chris and Dawn at 18h30. Johann Rissik's mobile workshop was busy this evening, taking care of all their bikes and the good news is that Chris no longer has any issues with his freewheel hub. 
  • Another five riders left Prince Albert this morning at about 05h30. Mike, Brian, Trevor, Theo and Tweet (Graham) all passed through Gamkaskloof for lunch and then pushed on. Mike stopped at Rouxpos at 19h40, Brian was about an hour behind him. Trev and Theo enjoyed the waffles and then pushed on. They had some issues at Wagendrif where Theo was bitten by a dog but fortunately he was able to see a doctor at the very next farm, who patched him up and sent him on his way again. During his treatment, Tweet arrived, having also pushed on. The three of them are now on their way to Anysberg, where they'll spend the night. 
  • Also at Anysberg tonight is Gerrit - that is if he can find his way there after getting a bit lost today. But Gerrit is tough and he's not scared of The Dark - he'll be fine.
There's a bit of a gap now until the next finishers arrive in Diemersfontein, who are expected here on Monday. Tweet seems to have 3rd place in the bag but there's a potential battle on the cards for 4th place between Mike, Trevor and a late charging Andre (who has two days in hand from a later start batch). Let's see what happens. 

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