The race office didn't manage a ride today - no bikes. Also didn't manage a run today, too cold and dark when the alarm went off. And we really couldn't risk illness or injury when there are still riders out there on the trail, it would have been irresponsible. So after a successful day of loafing, it's time to catch up on the exploits of our intrepid cyclists:
As expected, the sweepers swept through Gamkaskloof, cleaning out Hell's Kitchen on the way and then continued to Rouxpos. Leon, Andries, Chris and Julia were rewarded with waffles and warm beds for their efforts. Tomorrow it's off to the bright lights of Montagu and back into civilisation.
Gaeren staying over in Montagu tonight after a successful double from Rouxpos. The strong winds didn't make things any easier for him but he'll be glad to be there because he's set himself up for a push through to Trouthaven tomorrow and a possible Saturday finish at Diemersfontein.
We thought Eric would try to join Robbie at Trouthaven tonight but it seems he's enjoying the solo gig too much - he left Montagu at a leisurely pace this morning and pulled up the handbrake at Kasra. Who can blame him when the food and hospitality there are so good.
Robbie obviously never got the memo that the race office was closed today - he phoned before 7am from somewhere in the vineyards around Ashton to ask for directions. Once back on track, he made quick work of the good roads to McGregor but then did a bit of exploring on the Kasra portage before arriving for lunch. He had no hassles getting over the next portage at Trappieskraal, possibly because he's been there before on the Epic. Tonight he's at Trouthaven trying to figure out how to turn his cycling legs into walking legs for tomorrow's big hike up Stettynskloof.
Looking at the weather report for the weekend, it seems Robbie will finish dry and the others might get a bit wet, with light rain predicted for late Saturday and Sunday - no real cause for concern though, the riders all know that this thing ain't over until that blanket's wrapped warmly around your shoulders.
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