2300km, but where to start?

As you can imagine, a 19day epic generates a fair amount of copy.

You can go right to the beginning of the whole ordeal, or the startline/day 1.

I'm looking at moving from a general ride report to a more up to date what's happening site. Yes, Freedom Challenge doesn't just finish in Paarl! When i get round to it, there'll be a PDF of the 19days reports.

Send some feedback (I'm aware that the whole layout is just, well kinda rubbish!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 3

The third stage would be a little shorter, and I chose to sleep in a bit and rather catch up to the main group on the way. To my surprise Tim James had started in the batch a day behind us and done the two stages in one go and caught us up in the night. Well he was keen to do two more today as it was an 'easy double up', and was more than happy to have me as riding company. AND we're racing baby!

Grev tracks us down

Well it was an absolute pleasure riding with Tim. At first I was a bit nervous as he had quite a reputation and aura about him. He'd come second the preceding year and had done his homework well on many sections of the route and didn't even carry maps! He clearly sensed my apprehension and did tell me he wouldn't leave me behind. The riding was great, crossing over the wet and mushy grass covered valley through some dramatic hilly farms. We reeled in the hour headstart before the soup stop and hit off the front alone – easy when you don't stop to stare at a map (I didn't even have the right one out by now).

the single track section

There was a bit of a communication mess with us all missing the lunch stop, and Greville gave us the option of turn around or take what's in the van. Easy option, and he caught up later with some lovely soup in a flask anyway. We were eating up the decent roads for now before heading down into the 'knira river singletrack section'. It was a lovely little route through the valley that cut out a horrible road (that the R2R guys chose to do, leapfrogging us). There were a few murmurs about this section from the back of the field, the nav was really quite easy with its course designer riding with me!


We slogged up another hill to a welcome Coke break at a little trading store. By now the crazy last 30 hours had taken its toll on Tim, and a double up was unlikely. We rejoined the other route and picked our way down into the valley that would take us to Matatiele and our next stop, Masakala. There was a path of sorts straight across the plain and we found a way through it. We arrived in good time to find the R2R guys had indeed gained on us and were on the sunny porch with coffee. Tim headed straight for a nap and I chose to use the daylight to properly clean the neglected bike.

the plain to Matat

It was a lovely community stop in the middle of the village with a main house and a few rondavels scattered about. The stew got removed from the pot in quick time as we were all in the routine of ride,eat, ride. Tim was planning an early start to try and get all the way to Vuvu, I said I'd think about it!

the welcoming commitee

Day 3 – Ntsikeni – Masakala 86dkm/2059m altitude gain
7.30 - ~3pm – total 7.5hrs

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