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 -

Monday, 25 June 2012

Rider progress graphs - Martin Dreyer still heads the average, ahead of record pace, but lead over Harris has narrowed

Work day, so posting of info has admittedly been a bit slow. Herewith the rider progress graphs, which show the picture up until last night's (and early hours of this morning) arrivals at support stations (where times were  available. Comms are sometimes challenging in the areas the riders find themselves in at present).

Martin Dreyer continued to lead the average speed table based on his arrival time at van de Venterskraal (at 01h00 this morning), averaging 7.8km/hour. He was followed by Alex Harris on 7.38km/hour up to his arrival at Grootdam (one support station before van de Venterskraal) at 23h00 last night. In 3rd place, Graham Bird got to Moordenaarspoort last night at 19h45 averaging 6.03km/hour.

The men's race is pretty much a two horse race at present between Martin and Alex. Alex is heading for Kleinpoort, a small settlement on route to Bucklands. At his most recent point on Tracker he is 4 hours and 50 minutes behind what Martin was at the same point, and as this is still just prior to Martin's small navigation mistake earlier, the gap may close further soon.

A significant milestone was reached at some stage between Grootdam and van de Venterskraal last night, with the riders crossing the halfway mark distance-wise in the race. The 2nd half of the race is, however, normally faster in terms of time.

With regard to race record pace. Martin reached van de Venterskraal in about 5 days and 19 hours. In last year's record ride, Alex Harris reached the same support station in 6 days and 11 hours. At this stage, therefore, the record is still very much a possibility for both Martin and Alex.

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