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 Leader Martin Dreyer still very much on a record breaking pace

Here's a perspective on 2012 race leader Martin Dreyer's race performance to date. I compare it with the 3 best race times in the history of the race:

In 2009, SAA pilot Tim James set a new Freedom Challenge record of 13 days, 15 hours and 50 minutes. In that race, the 2009 rider tables show him making it to Romansfontein support station in 5 days and 13 hours.

2 years later, in 2011, Glenn Harrison went better by making it to Cape Town in 13 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes. In that race, he made it to Romansfontein in an improved 5 days, 4 hours and 35 minutes according to 2011 rider tables.

But Glenn was 2nd to Alex Harris in last year's race, who set a new race record of 12 days, 15 hours and 30 minutes. In this record breaking ride Alex got to an even better Romansfontein in 4 days, 13 hours and 20 minutes.

Early this afternoon, Martin Dreyer arrived at Romansfontein around 13h20 (according to Tracker updates), which would mean an even shorter 4 days 7 hours and 20 minutes. This is impressive given the muddy and wet conditions, and suggests that he is still very much on record pace....

....but of course a lot of water has to flow under the bridge (or across the trail, perhaps) they say.

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