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, 13 June 2012

Race Across South Africa Rider Progress Update - Position as at Tuesday Evening 12 June

The Race Across South Africa is one of the tougher one's to follow from a supporter point of view, because the riders are starting in small batches over 10 days.As the race progresses though, and all of the batches have started, a clearer picture will begin to emerge. As at last night (Tuesday 12 June), 4 batches of riders were already "on the road. 

The RASA Rider Progress Tables calculate average speed per rider. This average speed is calculated based on the rider's time of arrival at a support station, and important to remember if that the "clock doesn't stop" when the riders are sleeping at support stations or anywhere else. So the total number of kilometres covered from the start of the race to the support station which the rider has reached is taken and divided by the total time that has elapsed since the rider's batch started in Pietermaritzburg.

As at last night, Batch D's Rory Field, John Rex and Elton Priest were heading the rider average speed table with an average speed of 8.29kms/hour, arriving at Allendale support station at 18h00 last night. The 3 were slightly faster than their fellow rider Gerda Milford, who got in to Allendale at 18h45.

These average speeds will quickly slow as the clock ticks overnight though.

None of the riders have yet "skipped" support stations. All are "on par", and if that were to continue for the rest of the race they would reach the finish on the 26th day. This is normal for the "social" riders at this stage of the race, as the KZN section is arguably the toughest part of the race. Skipping support stations becomes more common for the "mere mortals" in the Eastern and Western Cape.

Don't expect the same behaviour for the racing snakes though, who have yet to start. From day 1, one can normally expect fireworks, barring extremely bad weather I guess.

Looking at distances covered as at last night, Hennie de Clerq (at 66 I suspect the oldest man in the race?) and Gerrit Pretorius have progressed the furthest, having started in Batch A on Saturday 9th June, reaching Malekholonyane support station, and have covered 351 kms in 4 days, 

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