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 -

Monday, 25 June 2012

Dreyer descends into Grootrivier Valley with perhaps as much as 4 hours lead at Hadley support station

Morning All. A quick update before school.

Race leader Martin Dreyer left Hadley support station this morning at around 03h10 this morning, and has descended into the Groot Rivier Valley. As at 6h30, 2nd placed Alex Harris last tracker reading out him still short of Hadley but difficult to say by how much....perhaps half an hour to an hour?

So assuming Harris was still short of Hadley by, say half an hour, that would make Dreyer's lead perhaps still 4 hours at least, as at Hadley, according to the Tracker readings.

This means Alex has had a good 24 hours, possibly having reduced Dreyer's lead by over 2 hours.

Now it remains to be seen how fast Dreyer has moved down Osseberg jeep track and into Groot Rivier, with the initial few hours being done in the dark. It could be that Alex makes up some more time, as he will do this tricky trip from Hadley all in daylight.

But Dreyer will probably be quite happy should he be able to negotiate this tricky section and still have a few hours lead when he get's into the Baviaanskloof. After that, navigation becomes fairly straightforward probably all the way to Die Hel, and it's time for big mileages and more severe sleep deprivation for the riders in the "big push" for Diemersfontein.

Below, some photos of the Osseberg jeep track and last year's Groot Rivier "portage".


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