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 -

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Race Across SA - Today sees Martin Dreyer and Alex Harris getting nearer to the Baviaanskloof

Today sees the move nearer to the Baviaanskloof. Martin Dreyer arrived at van de Venterskraal at near 01h00 this morning according to Tracker, and left at about 6h00. He is expected to most likely push to Hadley today, a support station just before the drop into the Grootrivier Valley which is the riders' gateway to the Baviaanskloof. The Grootrivier is a tough navigation excercise, especially if the river is as full as last year, as it involves criss-crossing the Groot River a good number of times as one winds down the valley.

A good ride by Martin from van de Venterskraal, starting at 06h00 in the morning, would see Martin get to Hadley well into the evening. Then, the question is what does Alex do. He slept at Grootdam last night one station behind Martin, and last at 4h30 this morning for van de Venterskraal. He could be expected to head for Bucklands support station, which is about 3 hours' ride before Hadley. That would be a long day for Alex. But if he were to push through to Hadley, it may force Martin to attempt the Grootrivier Valley in the dark, which would be slow going.

Alex's probable timing to reach the drop into the Baviaans is possibly a little better than Martin's, as he looks very likely to hit the Groot Rivier in daytime, while Martin will have to "lay up" a little and wait for daylight, should he not wish to attempt it in the dark.

This could be Alex's chance to make up a few hours on Martin. Another interesting twist coming ????....

van de Venterskraal to Bucklands distance is 49km
Cumulative ascent +506m
Cumulative descent -945
Estimated time for racing snakes: 3.5-4 hours

Toekomst to Bucklands distance is 111km

Cumulative ascent +1138m
Cumulative descent -1088
Estimated time for racing snakes: 7.5 hours

Bucklands to Hadley distance is 42.5km

Cumulative ascent +741m
Cumulative descent -476
Estimated time for racing snakes: 3 hours

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