The daily reports are getting easier to write because there aren't that many riders left out there and those that remain aren't doing anything exciting except riding their bikes everyday and eating too much. Now and again some of them try to get themselves lost, or take the scenic route between support stations but every evening they manage to find themselves a warm bed to sleep in.
Our sweeper bus hopped on their brooms today and swept across the flats to Prince Albert - the coffee bandit was at his post and the rusks were washed down with a steaming roadside brew. Leon, Andries, Chris and Julia all enjoyed the Karoo hospitality from Voorryer Rissik and soon afterwards they arrived at Dennehof. Tomorrow they're off to Gamkaskloof, The Ladder and maybe Rouxpos? Then again maybe not, Hell's Kitchen serves a mean burger that could derail those plans...
Gaeren rode solo through the Gamkaskloof today, stopping off the customary lunch at Hell's Kitchen. He was last seen heading for Rouxpos in the late afternoon, determined to complete another double up. He seems to be in a bit of a hurry to get finished now as he's done a few big doubles over the last few days - he will most likely aim for Montagu tomorrow - good for him.
Robbie rode that double today and seems to have finally cracked "this navigation thing." He made it through all the scratchy bits around Anysberg and cruised into Montagu by mid afternoon - probably didn't take him long to find the hotel bar for his customary post ride beer.
Eric did the same thing but at a slightly more sedate pace and with a few more photos and coffee brews along the way. He made up a day by doing so which he was quite pleased about. Tomorrow Trouthaven beckons.
Which means that tonight Trouthaven is empty and tomorrow there will be no riders bashing their way up Stettynskloof . It also means that the race office can take the day off, maybe watch Wimbledon or dare I say it, 'Le Tour' or better yet, go for a ride!
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