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, 23 June 2012

Leading ladies very much on par with race record pace as at Vuvu last night

The ladies field has been thinned out a bit by 3 withdrawals to date. The leading 2 ladies are Ezanda Grobler and Katarina Cervikova. They started in the same batch I on 18th June. They both arrived at Vuvu support station yesterday afternoon, with Ezanda arriving at 16h05, slightly before Katarina (16h30)

How are they doing relative to record pace? So far still very much on par with record pace. The  ladies' record was set in 2011 by Tatum Prins, Graham Bird's adventure racing colleague. She took 19 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes to Cape Town. On that ride she took a 4 days, 13 hours and 40 minutes to get to Vuvu.

By comparison, Ezanda took slightly quicker, arriving in  4 days, 10 hours and 5 minutes. So at the present, there's really nothing in it. Ezanda and Katarina were more or less in line with record pace as at last night, but of course they may need to contend with a little "resistance" from the conditions as they cross the Drakensberg today to the "muddy side". In their favour though, the weather forecasts seem to point to weather clearing up in the coming few days. Have the women timed the weather better than the leading men, perhaps?........

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