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 -

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Daily wrap up - 1st July

It’s been a relatively quiet Sunday out on the trail. The next riders due in at Diemersfontein will only arrive tomorrow so today was a bit of a rest day for the race office – for a change.
But the riders haven’t been slacking off, they’ve been making their way steadily towards the finish:
  • Still soldiering on at the back of the field is Stephen Kellerman. He left Hofmeyr this morning, scuttled across the Elandsberg portage without any trouble, had breakfast at Elandsberg farm and then pushed on to Stuttgart. He arrived there late in the afternoon but decided not to tempt fate on the Skurfteberg portage in the dark and stayed put.
  • Roman and Katarina had another steady day and got to Toekomst in the afternoon. They are enjoying the comforts of the new lodge and once again they have the company of Dino there – he arrived before them and stopped to do his laundry. Tomorrow they’ll all be heading for Bucklands.
  • Travis and Burton left Bucklands this morning (together with the ‘Wyn Trein’) They made steady progress along this tough stage and will sleep in Cambria tonight.
  • Gawie, Casper, Charl and Shaun (Die Wyn Trein) moved along from Bucklands to Cambria today and arrived there late afternoon. Gawie seems to have sorted out his skewer issues. Maybe tomorrow he’ll finally put the hammer down and get that singlespeed moving!
  • Andre and Jody left Cambria in the early hours of this morning and got to Dam se Drif for brunch – they then proceeded to eat a hole in Hestelle’s food supplies, having last night’s supper, dessert, breakfast, coffee and cake before having a nap on the lawn in the sun to recover. They went on to Willowmore, arriving just after 17h00.  Where they’ve stopped for more food!
  • Tim and Hugh left Dam se Drif this morning with Tim making it comfortably to Willowmore after lunch. Hugh was struggling with a niggling injury as well as some stomach issues and stopped after 35km. He got a lift to Willowmore to get treatment and may take a rest day there before re-joining the race.
  • Peter and Johan cruised through to Prince Albert today and arrived well before dark. Johann Rissik sorted out their bottom bracket issues and Ria fed them fat in preparation for the Swartberg Pass tomorrow.
  • The sensible group of five, Rory, Rich, Allen, Chris and Dawn, all left Prince Albert early this morning with a double through to Rouxpos as their goal. Allen and Rich got there at 18h00, the others weren’t far behind.
  • Brian and Mike, who spent the night at Rouxpos, left after a leisurely breakfast, passed through Anysberg without incident and pressed on to Montagu. Mike passed through after a quick snack and went on to McGregor. Brian will stay in Montagu.
  • Tweet, Trevor and Theo got to Anysberg at midnight and left early this morning. They lunched early in Montagu, got to Kasra before dark. They are currently on their way to Trouthaven and will head off up Stettyn’s Kloof in the morning.

Diemersfontein was treated to a bit of sunshine today, so hopefully the gap in the weather will spur some riders on to get home a bit sooner – it’s so much nicer to finish in good weather.

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