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 -

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Race Across South Africa - Rider progress update (as at evening of 22 June)

The race website is up again, so the latest rider progress tables are posted on it once more and not on this site.

This is the 1st rider progress graph update of the day, which makes last night's picture more complete compared with last night's posting. It has been indicated that Alex Harris arrived at Kranskop at around 22h30 last night, behind Martin Dreyer who arrived at 20h20. This puts Martin's average speed a little faster than Alex, based on their 2 arrival times at Kranzkop, Martin averaging 8.05km/hour since his race started, with Alex averaging a slightly slower 7.85km/hour (Note: the timing is continuous from when the race starts, i.e it includes all resting time in the calculation).

At the front of the field, in terms of geographic location, Gerrit Pretorius and Brian 'O Regan reached van de Venters Kraal 1084 km into the race. They are thus about as near as you'll get to the half way mark.

The number of riders that have withdrawn from the race remains at 12 to date. 36  thus remain. As the race progresses, however, the drop out rate generally gets less, so one should probably (hopefully) not expect this number to increase dramatically from here on, although riders may still be quite vulnerable until they get out of the freezing cold Eastern Cape High country an down into the slightly less-cold Karoo.

Graham Bird's average speed of 5.72km/hour put him in 3rd place average speed-wise as at Chesneywold (after 560kms)  last night. Garth Flanders had the 4th average speed, but this was only after 434kms, and he is reportedly having knee troubles, besides not yet having embarked on the muddy stretch beyond Naude's Neck and Rhodes yet.

The two guys whose average speed perhaps under-states their position in the race a little is that of Mike Woolnough and Trevor Ball at 5.52 km/hour. I say it understates their position in the race a little because they are significantly further down the route that Graham and Garth, having covered 695kms to Kranskop as at last night. Good going Guys

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