Good luck to Steve and Di from Day Trippers - below is the final newsletter from FC to give you some idea of what they'll be going through the next few weeks!
Winter. Snow. Flooding rivers. Freezing cold. Long days in the saddle.
Major mountain ranges to cross. Flooded rivers to ford. Long portages.
Massive climbs. Rhino. Buffalo. Sleep deprivation. Broken bikes. Broken bones. Broken spirits. These are but some of the things with which riders in the 2014 Freedom Challenge which starts on Monday 9 June 2014 will need to contend.
The Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa is arguably one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world and South Africa’s ultimate endurance challenge. This non-stop expedition race follows single tracks, cattle tracks, jeep tracks, disused and little used dirt roads for 2300 kms across the interior of the country, in the process ascending 47000 cumulative metres, an average climb of 2.1%. Exacerbating the challenge is the fact that the race is unsupported.
Almost 80 intrepid adventurers, divided into daily batches, will depart from the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg over the course of the next week.
One or two will be looking to break the race record of 10 days 16 hours and
40 minutes set in 2012 by two time winner, Martin Dreyer and the Jeanie Bomford’s 2013 women’s record of 12 days, 5 hours and 55 minutes which is the 3rd fastest finish of all time. This will require a combination of the supreme effort of being on the bike for between 18 and 20 hours a day and the fortune of a good weather window. Others will simply be hoping to reach the finish at Diemersfontein Wine Estate in Wellington, outside Cape Town, within the 26 day cut off.
Adding spice to the mix will be those riders entered for the Race to Rhodes. Following the same non-stop unsupported format these riders are set to cover the first 500kms of the route which involves a cumulative ascent of 17000 metres, at an average of 3.2%. Some will be riding without sleep in pursuit of a sub-48 hour finish. Others will simply be hoping for a 6 day finish.
The Freedom Challenge tests you physically, emotionally and spiritually, mused Freedom Challenge pioneer Andrew King in 2004 and over the years the extent of the test has become increasingly evident.
The Freedom Challenge offers no prizes for individual places. All those who finish the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa within the 26 day cut-off receive a Basotho blanket and enjoy the great sense of having achieved something truly momentous.
Follow the 2014 Freedom Challenge at www.freedomchallenge.org.za Freedom Challenge Meryl Glazer: 083 658840