Today was a busy day at Diemersfontein. With eight riders arriving, the blankets were flying and so were the raindrops - but the wet weather could do nothing to dampen the spirits of those riders after their long and adventurous journey. Well done to Gawie, Casper, Charl, Sean, Tim, Travis and Burton on finishing RASA 2012 and earning your blankets. Well done also to Lize on finishing her your charity ride form Prince Albert - your blanket awaits you next year...
As for the remainder of the field, there are still four riders out on the route:
Stephen Kellerman had a relatively easy day today, going from Dam se Drif to Willowmore. He will welcome the rest at the Willows Guest House, before setting out on the long stage to Prince Albert tomorrow.
Roman and Katarina rode from Prince Albert, via Gamkaskloof to Rouxpos today, a solid double for them - the finish just got a whole lot closer.
Dino also left from Prince Albert and piloted his Alaskan Wolf through the mountains, to end at Rouxpos. This double stage keeps him on track to finish in time for the start of the Berg River canoe marathon (on Tuesday)
With the next riders only expected in at Diemersfontein on Tuesday, the race office can take a well deserved break for the next few days.
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 - http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2010-02-04-extreme-endurance-the-freedom-challenge