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 -

Friday, 28 June 2013

Daily Report - 28 June

Just when we thought the weather was finally going to become a factor in this year's race... the sun came out! It was a return to the normal balmy conditions out on the trail today after yesterday's brief flourish of rain and everyone made the most of it by getting their wiggle on.

Starting with our sweepers for a change, Leon and Andries did the double thing today, going from Elandsberg to Stuttgart for a late brunch and then on to Grootdam. Tomorrow they will probably try it again and should get to Toekomst comfortably.

The Fishers, Chris and Julia are the real honeymooners this year - they are riding comfortably between support stations and getting in with time to spare. After their first double up yesterday, they did it again today, going from from Grootdam to Toekomst. It must be quite interesting for the vegetarian Julia, travelling through mutton and Kudu country during the hunting season but so far there have been no complaints from either her or the hosts. We know Chris has a soft spot for pies after his feast at Hofmeyr, so he must be loving it out there.

Julia in portage mode
Also at Toekomst tonight is Gaeren - not really part of the plan but he decided to rest up there after spending the night out in a riverbed at Karoopoort. That's a wise move as tomorrow he will feel strong again and also have some company from Chris and Julia on the trail.

The next two up the road are RobRoy 2.0 - an interesting duo who have had their fair share of adventure up to now. Well the adventure continues tonight: Roy is spending the night in a 'hidey hole' near the top of the Osseberg jeep track after struggling today with a tummy bug. Robbie is spending the night in the Grootrivier Poort slaying trolls and the Swampthing after deciding not to wait for Roy and heading down the jeep track in the late afternoon. The monsters down there must be pretty tired by now after all the riders who've kept them busy over the last few nights, so hopefully Robbie will  be left alone and can get some sleep but who knows, he may even sneak through to Cambria tonight.

It's chocolate pudding time for Eric and he can go back for seconds because he has the whole Dam se Drif support station to himself tonight. If he doesn't overindulge, he should have an easy ride through to Willowmore in the morning.

Guy and the Adams Family are in Willowmore tonight - steaks will be served and tummies will be full. The weather looks kind for them tomorrow with only a light breeze predicted, so hopefully the crossing to Prince Albert will be enjoyable for them. 

Its another busy night in Prince Albert - Dave, Doug, Janine, Philip, Coen, Colin and Andrew are all lounging in luxury at Dennehof, after arriving there by mid afternoon. They successfully employed the 'leave really early to beat the headwind' tactic which seems to be a popular option this year. Leading the charge across from Willowmore was Avril - she gets stronger every day and had this to say about today's ride: "Yeowsers! - flew with racing snakes today. Was so lekker to have company. Going to leave an hour before them and try make Rouxpos. Hope it works."

After all the drama yesterday, today was a relatively uneventful day in the Gamkaskloof. All of the fifteen riders who slept there last night got up The Ladder without incident and went on to Rouxpos. Staying over there tonight are Andy, Peter, Ansa, Sarel, Bruce, Charles Dave, Pete, Pierre and Dave. A later arrival was Anton, who rode through from Prince Albert, completing a big double. Martin (Ciolkosz) went with him but only as far as Gamkaskloof.

The rest of the Gamkas gang pushed on to Anysberg. Gavin, Henry, Barry, John and George are expected to arrive there later tonight. Tricky place in the dark that, but food and a warm bed will be their prize when they do eventually get there. They may be woken up by Marnitz later tonight, who is heading towards Anysberg a few hours behind them. He'll probably stop for koffie with Tannie Fourie first and just push on through to Montagu tonight with a few cat naps along the way.

Already in Montagu tonight is Charles - he's had a rough day battling neck and knee pains. Hopefully once he's replenished his Myprodol stocks and gotten a good night's sleep, he'll be firing again tomorrow but if not, he'll opt for a short day to Kasra - sleep well Charles, no Friday night jol in Montagu for you unfortunately.

Christo and Scott had a big day today, starting at Rouxpos and ending at Kasra. They both went over their bars coming through Anysberg earlier today but fortunately no harm done. The haute cuisine at Oestervanger Guesthouse will go down well and they'll make an early departure, with the plan being to get through Stettynskloof before dark and on to the finish at Diemersfontein - nearly home!

Martin and Jeannie have kept their noses out in front today and are almost at Trouthaven - they will have supper there, catch a few hours sleep and leave really early, hoping for a mid-morning finish at Diemersfontein. Its been an incredible journey for the honeymooners and I'm not sure they'll be entirely happy about it coming to an end.

The race office is settled in at Diemersfontein, awaiting the arrival of the first lot of riders tomorrow. We can say with confidence that the pizza's are up to scratch and the coffee is good - but that's enough for now, time for an early night before all the excitement of tomorrow.


1 comment:

  1. The baby sitters will be more than happy that the honeymoon has come to an end!! Thanks for such interesting updates, Glenn.