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

Thursday, 21 June 2012

In 62-63 hours, 560 kms ridden, and +13,174 metres cumulative climbing up until Chesneywold, by Dreyer and Harris (Author: John Loos)

Alex Harris arrived at Chesneywold support station to rest and sleep shortly after Martin Dreyer. So for the 3rd day it was Martin that arrived ahead of Alex, showing himself to probably be the faster of the 2 riders, assuming he isn't pushing harder than Harris. Unlike stage races, however, arriving ahead of the other at the same support station doesn't count for anything if you both stay the night in the same place. In the morning you're "all square". The rider arriving later does get less rest. But what we don't know is which rider can get by with less sleep - Dreyer the adventure racer or Harris the Everest climber. Both have serious "lack of sleep credentials".

The official estimate if distance ridden to Chesneywold by the 2 riders is 560km in about 62 -63 hours. The total climbing over this part of the race has been +13,174 metres and the cumulative descent -11,968 metres according to my calculations based on the race route profile charts. Sitting in my lounge in Jozi getting tired thinking about it.

As a matter of interest. During last year's Race Across South Africa, we found an article published on the web regarding distances and cumulative ascent of the Tour de France, Epic and Freedom Challenge. Makes for interesting reading:

Riding 2300k’s in 26 days sounds quite achievable to your average road cyclist but to ride / hike-a-bike, this distance on footpaths, tracks and trails in the middle of winter whilst climbing a cumulative altitude of 47000 metres is a remarkable accomplishment and one realized by the 28 riders who competed in the 2010 Freedom Challenge Race across South Africa. Only 16 finished!

Freedom Challenge
Tour de France
Cape Epic
Distance
2300km
3600km
650-1000km
Vertical Ascent
47km
25km*
14-18km
Tar
<100km
3600km
?
Gates
>100
0
0
*Only includes all the category climbs




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