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, 27 June 2012

Rider Progress Charts - GO DAWN!

By all reports it was a beautiful day, and no westerly wind to make the relatively flat Willowmore-Prince Albert stage a nightmare for race leader Martin Dreyer and 2nd placed Alex Harris. 

Dreyer, now on something of a roll at present, was afforded the opportunity to complete the 176.5km stretch in 12 hours and 5 minutes, at an average speed of 14.7km/hour.

This, and some good riding from Cambria up the Baviaanskloof, has seen Dreyer's average speed for the total race (timed continuously since the start in Maritzburg) increase from 7.77km/hour as at Cumbria support station to 8.33km/hour as at Prince Albert this afternoon.

2nd placed Alex Harris' average speed also increased slightly from Cambria to Damsedrif support station, where he slept last night, from 7.57km/hour to 7.68km/hour as at Willowmore support station.

In 3rd place, currently heading for Hadley tonight, just before the drop into the Baviaanskloof tonight, is Graham Bird, who average a speed of 6.14km/hour.

As mentioned earlier, Dreyer took 8 days, 9 hours and 15 minutes to reach Prince Albert at 15h15 this afternoon. This is 1 day, 9 hours and 45 minutes faster than Harris' last year's record ride pace to Prince Albert.

Dreyer recently reached the top of the Swartberg Pass, and is on his way to Die Hel, the key question now being where he will stop to sleep tonight?

Harris currently still has a little way to go to Prince Albert.

...And what remains of the ladies???

In the race, 29 riders remain, while 19 have dropped out. Only one woman remains in the race, after Ezanda Grobler withdrew with an injury, and that is Dawn bell, who soldiers on while her husband Dave withdrew a few days ago with stomach complaints. She's had some delays, earlier in the race, with Dave's bike first breaking and then his ailment setting in, and found herself 2 days behind "par:, i.e. behind the 26 day pace.

However, in recent days she has skipped Stuttgart and van de Venters kraal to make up 2 days and get back on a 26 day finisher schedule. She slept at Toekomst last night and should arrive at Bucklands tonight, the Baviaans now getting nearer.

Dawn is now riding with Chris Morris.....GO DAWN

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