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 -

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Daily wrap - 5th July

  • Stephen Kellerman left Bucklands this morning after a late arrival the night before. His goal for the day was Cambria, a big day out. He needed to get there to stay on track for a 26 day finish – unfortunately we can’t confirm an arrival time as his tracker is still out of action after his rough night out but his determination of late would indicate that he’ll keep going until he gets there tonight.
  • Roman, Katarina and Dino spent the night at Dam se Drif and apparently made a large dent in Hestelle’s wine collection before retiring for the night. It didn’t seem to affect their riding though as they all made it to Willowmore before lunch.
  • Up ahead of them, Die Wyn Trein (Gawie, Casper, Charl and Sean) went steaming on, this time all the way from Rouxpos to Anysberg. They arrived during the afternoon and evening and went straight to the bar to refuel for tomorrow’s ride. They were joined by Travis and Burton a bit later who successfully completed their second double in as many days. The company or the wine must be really good – Pops and Son seem intent on joining this train all the way to Diemersfontein.
  • Tim left Anysberg at 03h00 this morning and rolled into Montagu for breakfast at 08h00, making good time in the sunny conditions. He then set off via McGregor, for Kasra, where he arrived at 15h40. He was riding comfortably and looking strong and aiming to finish on Saturday.
  • Lize left Montagu this morning and after getting a bit lost near Ashton, made it to McGregor for coffee and to reorganise her maps. She pressed on to Kasra, arriving just after lunch. She will stay over tonight and head for Touthaven tomorrow, also aiming to finish on Saturday.
  • Peter and Johann also left Montagu this morning, stopped for coffee in McGregor and had a long lunch at Kasra. They managed to drag themselves away and pushed on to Trouthaven, where they arrived just after 8pm.
  • Solo Jody rode off from Montagu at his own pace, stopped in for a Steri-Stumpie in Mcgregor and a late lunch at Kasra. After separating from racing snake Andre and riding at a more leisurely pace for the last few days, he’s looking relaxed and really enjoying himself. He’’s also at Touthaven tonight and should finish tomorrow.
  • Andre decided to throttle back and enjoy himself a bit after some really big pushes in the last few days. He had a really hard day coming into Montagu yesterday, battling icy headwinds and mud. This made him rethink his finishing strategy and he stayed at McGregor (instead of pulling an all-nighter to Trouthaven) Today he slept late, had a leisurely breakfast, had a second breakfast at Kasra 2 hours later and got to Trouthaven in the afternoon. The race office surprised him with a quick visit and apart from looking a bit ‘skraal’ he was in good spirits. He is looking forward to Stettynskloof tomorrow and hoping to finish before 3pm, in order to secure the title of ‘fastest rookie’ for this year – go for it Andre.
  • With four riders now regrouped at Trouthaven, Diemersfontein will see some action tomorrow as friends and family gather to welcome them home. Their blankets are waiting…

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