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 (Situation as at Wednesday evening 13 June)

Batch E Riders started yesterday, which consisted of As at last night, Wednesday 13 June, Chris Morris, Hugh Riemers, Dawn Bell, and supervised by the school headmaster ("Sir") Dave Bell.

Once again a day of no real fireworks. We've had 2 post-start rider withdrawals, but those who remain are still all playing "to par", with no skipping of support stations yet. 

Batch E was the fastest Day 1 group to date, with Chris Morris arriving at Allendale at 15h30 in time for Dana's lunchtime hotdogs and soup, but Dawn and Hugh, under the watchful eye of stern headmaster Dave, seemed a little nervous at breaking ranks and arrived at Allendale at 16h15. So they're all looking like a pretty strong group, with the best previous time to Allendale being 17h20 on any of the previous days.  

So Chris Morris headed the rider average speed table last night at  10.47km/hour, but he still had to have his 1st sleep, so that will change (remember that average speed is calculated from the start of the race to the end of the rider's last stage, so includes all down time in the equation).

Up front of the field in terms of distance covered are still  the legendary Hennie de Clerq and Gerrit Pretorius, who as we speak will probably be on the much vaunted Lehana's Pass with their bikes on their backs, and should be the first RASA riders this year to arrive in Rhodes.

Batch F went off today from Maritzburg, and 4 more batches left to depart by Tuesday 19th.

For Pietermaritzburg, sunny weather with no rain if forecast for tomorrow through till Sunday, and temperatures are fairly warm at around 19-21 degrees celsius. At the Rhodes end of this first "phase of the race", the forecast is a little colder at 8-10 degrees celsius, but once again no rain.

It seems, therefore, that there is a few days' window of opportunity weather-wise.    

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