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 -

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Martin Dreyer nears Prince Albert, and thereafter will face the big climb over Swartberg Pass and into Die Hel

Race leader, Martin Dreyer is reported to be making good time to Prince Albert, and Glenn expects hime to arrive there in the next hour or so.

Glenn indicates that the conditions are superb, and that the much-vaunted westerly wind into the riders' faces has not materialised. 

Martin has opened up an approximate 7 hour lead on Alex Harris, and after a short rest in Prince Albert he is expected to start the climb up the Swartberg Pass and over and down into Die Hel (Gamkaskloof). 

The riders will have to start working harder again, as the cumulative climb is very significant.

To the support station in die Hel:

The expected riding time is 6-7 hours
Cumulative ascent: +2222
Cumulatice descent: -2520
Distance: 87kms

At the current pace, Martin could reach Die Hel perhaps around 22h00 tonight, and it is possible that he will attempt the climb out of Die Hel to Rouxpos before sleeping at Rouxpos support station a few hours on. The main navigation challenge in that case would be finding the bottom of "Die Leer", the old historic donkey track portage up out of Die Hel.

But that's for later. First to Prince Albert, a break, and then the Swartberg pass and into Die Hel for Martin.

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