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 -

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Daily wrap up - 28th June

Things seem to have gone quiet today - the trackers have been down for much of the day and many of the riders are passing through areas now where their smartphones become a bit dumb due to lack of signal, so there have been far fewer Tweets from riders (and many more from frustrated supporters).

So this is what we know about the action out there today:

  • Stephen Kellerman (a.k.a Stevie Wonder) has been going along nicely today after having left the portages and mud of the Bontehoek behind him. He passed through Kranskop at 11h45 this morning and was pressing on towards to Brosterlea.
  • Roman and Katarina went from Brosterlea to Hofmeyr today and are booked in at the Karoobos Hotel. They have a collapsing front shock and are making plans to get hold of a shock pump.
  • Dino is safely in at Elandsberg, having arrived at 16h45. His bike is sporting an additional steel pipe as a brace, courtesy of Diederik and his welding machine at Kranskop. And according to Will at Romansfontein, not only does Dino win the competition for heaviest bike, he also has by far the heaviest boots - he should know because he's the one who has been putting all the shoes on the stove-top to dry. Well done Dino!
  • Up the road at Grootdam, we have now the Minibus - Gawie, Casper, Charl and Shaun. 
  • Currently heading over Struishoek on night moves are Andre and Jody, who are finally attempting to jump ahead. Struishoek is a tricky portage at night, it's claimed a few victims in the past who have spent a cold night on the mountain but these two are brave members of the "Container Clan" so won't be too scared of this small portage. If all goes well, they should get to Vandeventerskraal before 23h00 tonight - good luck guys!
  • Travis and Burton had a very late night, coming into Grootdam last night at 22h45. They opted for an easier day today by leaving at 09h00 and stopping at VandeVenterskraal at 18h00.
  • Leaving from Vandeventerskraal this morning, we had Tim, Hugh, Peter and Johan. They were all headed for Bucklands today. So far only Tim hasn't arrived but his tracker shows him less than an hour from home. The other three arrived comfortably at 16h30.
  • Chris, Dawn, Allen and Rich all left from Bucklands this morning and seemed to have a long but uneventful day on the way to Cambria. arriving at 18h00.
  • Cambria was a busy place last night with Brian, Trevor and Theo all staying there. Brian went on to Dam se Drif today where he is staying tonight. Trevor and Theo left earlier and went all the way to Willowmore, arriving at 16h45 - that's good going, Theo the Steamtrain must have been firing today, pulling Trevor in his wake.
  • Cambria had more visitors during the day when Mike and Tweet popped in late morning. They had left from Hadley farm and were headed for Dam se Drif arriving at 18h30. They are currently enjoying Hestelle's Death by Chocolate and plan to leave early at 02h00.
  • Gerrit left from Willowmore this morning and made good time across the Moordenaars Karoo. He slowed slightly after Rondawel, possibly from eating too many of Tannie Elna's vetkoek but did eventually arrive in Prince Albert at 18h00. He's no doubt catching up with the latest happenings of the Dikwiel Kommando from Johann Risssik right now.
  • Up front we still have Alex and Martin closing in on Diemersfontein fast. Alex stopped in at Dennehof in Prince Albert last night for a few hours sleep and left again at 02h00. He made good time, passing through Gamkaskloof at 08h15 without stopping. Up Die Leer and on to Rouxpos where he arrived at about 15h30, stopped for some waffles from Ronel and left again at 16h25 - he's currently making his way to the support station at Anysberg.
  • Martin arrived in Montagu at 20h40. He was tired and had been falling asleep on his bike coming down the the Ouberg pass, not surprising as he had missed out on any decent sleep at the previous two support stations.(He cat-napped on the road into Gamkaskloof, grabbed an hour's sleep in the caravan when he arrived in the kloof itself. He tried to sleep again at Rouxpos but a noisy tractor outside disturbed him so he got up and left.) With a few hours of sleep here, he'll most likely go all the way through to Diemersfontein.

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