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

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Glenn's Wrap of the day's riding - 26 June


Willows Hotel, Willowmore
The race office continued the journey westward, with a lunch stop at Toekomst, a coffee stop in Kleinpoort, supper at Bucklands with Hannes and Rini and now finally settling in at The Willows Hotel in Willowmore for the night.

Out on the course, this is what happened today (Tuesday 26th June):


  • Steven Kellerman checked in from Kapokkraal at about 4pm, on his way to Slaapkranz. Later on he notified us that he had arrived safely at Slaapkranz at 19h35 – which means he definitely spent a few hours in the dark coming down the Kapokkraal portage.
  •  Roman and Katarina past Moordenaarspoort just after lunch and headed on for Kranskop. They made good time and arrived at 3pm – an indication that conditions had dried out a bit.
  • Dino was forced to stay at Kranskop to fix his broken bike – latest news is that he has got it sorted out and will continue tomorrow.
  • The Gautrain was blown apart by the wind today, so Gawie arrived ahead of the others at Romansfontein just after 17h00. Andre and Jody were next in at 17h50. The rest of the gang arrived after dark and by all accounts, there was a bit of a party at Romansfontein tonight.  They are all headed for the Aasvoelberg portage first thing in the morning…
  • Travis and Burton first went from Romansfontein to Hofmeyr, no doubt had a quick pie in town and then pushed on to Elandsberg, arriving at 20h11. A bit of excitement going over Elandsberg in the dark maybe…?
  • Tim left Hofmeyr in the dark, had breakfast at Elandsberg, lunch at Stuttgart and kept going in the direction of Stuttgart. He was looking strong and making good time  - he would have arrived just after dark.
  •  Hugh, Peter and Johan left Stuttgart and got to Grootdam at this afternoon. Johan has a bike issue and is waiting to collect parts in Pearston tomorrow.
  • Allen, Rich and Tweet also left Stuttgart this morning with big plans – Allen and Rich hopped off the bus at VandeVenterskraal though, arriving at 17h00, while Tweet pushed through to Toekmst, arriving at 22h40 after negotiating the game capture fences in Koedoekop.
  • Chris, Dawn and Mike left Grootdam this morning and made swift progress over the Struishoek portage. They were then slowed by mechanicals when Chris’ freewheel gave up on the way to Vandeventerskraal. They McGuyvered a fix there with cable ties and limped on to Toekomst (hoping to find a more permanent fix in Philip’s workshop.)
  • Trevor and Theo left Vandeventerkraal before dawn and pushed through to Bucklands after a brief stop for coffee in Kleinpoort (where they bumped into the race office leaching off their internet connection)
  •  Rory continued his solo ride for the seventh day and arrived at Bucklands at 16h50. (He will finally have some company there when Trevor and Theo arrive later this evening) He was in bed early and ready to take on the river crossings on the way to Cambria – he has even packed extra food in case he has to sleep out!
  • Ahead of him the battle for first place continues and Martin and Alex are both making their way through the Baviaanskloof on their way to Willowmore. Martin is expected in Willowmore at midnight, while Alex has stopped for a sleep at Dam se Drif.
  • Gerrit and Brian had an exciting night out in the Grootrivier Poort last night after getting lost and stumbled into the Cambria support station. There they split up – Brian stayed behind to rest but Gerrit pushed on toward Dam se Drif.


Nuwekloof Pass - Exit from the Baviaanskloof en toute to Willowmore

The long road to Willowmore

The Willows Hotel , Willowmore

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