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, 17 June 2012

Race Across South Africa Rider Progress Update (Situation as at Saturday Evening 16 June)

Right, as at last night we were starting to get a little bit of movement away from "par for the course". By this I mean that, with "par for the course" being 26 days to Diemersfontein, and sleeping at each of the 25 overnight support stations, some riders were starting to deviate from the "schedule". Par for Adriaan Schoeman would have been to sleep in Rhodes, 6 days after starting in Maritzburg on Monday 11 June in Batch C. He took the opportunity to ride a little further to Chesneywold, the "halfway station" between Rhodes and the next scheduled overnight stop (Slaapkrans) by last night. So he is the first man to go +0.5 of a day ahead of 26 day race pace. This is a common jump, as Rhodes can often be reached early in the afternoon from Vuvu, and there is plenty of time to ride on a bit. Adriaan needs to beware though, as Christo at Chesneywold is a particularly friendly chap and has a fantastic pub, so one runs the risk of getting stuck at Chesneywold with "babbelas" and all the next day.

Then there were the 2 men furthest down the road to Cape Town, i.e. Hennie De Clerq and Gerrit Pretorius. They went 0.5 of a day behind the 26-day "schedule by appearing not going all the way from Slaapkrans to the following scheduled overnight stop that is Vaalbank. Instead, they seem to have called it a day at Moordenaarspoort "halfway station" (unless lack of cellphone reception made a rider update from Vaalbank impossible). That's not necessarily a bad move for a social rider, as all the way to Vaalbank can be a long day, and Moordenaarspoort is actually only about 2-3 hours short of Vaalbank, so they should make this up easily and get back on the programme later in the race. But for now they're a little "behind par". The rest of the riders still in the race are all "on par" for 26 days, but bear in mind that it becomes far easier to skip support stations later in the race nearer to Cape Town.

We have 48 riders either having started or still scheduled to start the RASA. Of those, 3 have dropped out after starting so we're down to 45.

Batch H went off today, and includes the Extreme Triathlon athletes who completed the Umgeni Trail Run from Durban to Maritzburg yesterday. Kili2Cape man August Carstens is among then ( Good luck with climbing Hella Hella after running almost Comrades distance te previous day.

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