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 -

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rider progress Graphs - Dreyer, Harris still well-ahead of record pace

Baviaanskloof Gate

Glenn, now "our man on the course", will be doing some updating on the race leader Martin Dreyer on his expected arrival at Willowmore. In the mean time, here's the update of the rider progress tables, including Martin Dreyer and Alex Harris times as at Cumbria, shortly after having negotiated thed rop down the Osseberg jeeptrack, through the Grootrivier Valley and into the Baviaanskloof.

Martin once again maintained his spot at the top of the average rider speed table at Cumbria support station, which is 1,330.5km into the race. He arrived at 09h20 this morning, averaging 7.77km/hour sonce the race started. Alex Harris pulled into Cumbria at 13h40, 4 hours and 20 minutes behind Dreyer, thus averaging 7.57km/hour for the race so far.

Let's look at this compared to race record pace. Last year, on his record breaking ride, Alex Harris reached Cumbria in 8 days and 1 hour after a difficult night through the flood-damage Grootrivier section. By comparison, Dreyer reached Cumbria in 7 days, 2 hours and 20 minutes, thus 22 hours and 40 minutes ahead of record pace. Harris also bettered last year's pace, arriving at Cumbria in 7 days, 7 hours and 40 minutes, 17 hours and 20 minutes ahead of last year's record pace.
Another milestone was reached early this morning when Dreyer overtook Gerrit Pretorius and Brian 'o Regan, the men who had headed the field in terms of being furthest down the track to Cape Town. The two reportedly slept out in the Grootrivier Valley.
And 3rd placed Graham Bird?
He is reportedly moving through the night to Toekomst support station, which would put him on track for Bucklands or Hadley tomorrow. How does he compare with last year's record? Alex Harris made it to Bucklands last year in 7 days and 9 hours. Should he get to Bucklands, Graham's time will be just over 8 days, putting him a day or so behind existing record pace.

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