Many riders will agree that arriving at the support stations at the end of a long day feels like coming home. The farms and families that host the riders go the extra mile when it comes to taking care of tired, hungry riders. A highlight of the journey is the scrumptious food that is served by these hosts – cooked breakfasts, soups, home baked bread, hearty stews, mutton and lamb…..not to mention the desserts! One of the standout support stations in the latter part of the race is ‘Kasra’ (The name comes from that of the previous farm owner – Kasselman Rabie). The hospitality happens at the ‘Oestervanger Gastehuis’ where Alda and Elsa host the riders in a rambling old farmhouse. The food is served to the soothing sounds of classical music – but the food is the highlight: soup and home baked bread for starters, tea and ‘moerkoffie’ on tap, fresh vegetables and venison or lamb stew for main course. For dessert, custard tarts and ice-cream and many possible variations depending on which day you arrive. As the bona-fide ‘foodies’ on the route, their kitchen produces many surprises and treats for the riders. Many riders get caught up there for longer than anticipated and either end up staying for the night or arriving at the next support station at Trouthaven well after dark. No one ever regrets stopping in at Kasra for lunch.
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