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!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sho left, va right

The route designer of the Cape Epic, Leon Evans, is notoriously known for his efforts/sins as “Dr Evil”. For many people it’s just because he puts 800km of offroad riding into 7 days, for most it’s the way he does it. Picking ‘interesting’ routes and sometimes throwing in a phantom loop close to the finishing line. Navigation is not an issue here and the whole course is marked (extremely well I hear). His son Kevin is one of the top local riders too, and he’s quite a character on the bike scene.

The route put together for the FC is a totally different scenario. Race director/route designer David Waddilove is a character himself and has grown this silly little idea of his into quite a monster too. It was a while before I found the real history of the route, but the short history is that he ran it first. This was sandwiched in between the Two Oceans ultra marathon and the Comrades. Most people prefer to fly, or drive at a push.

Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, as the next year he retraced his steps in reverse on a bike, just in time for the Berg River Canoe Marathon. It’s stuck to that format ever since (despite internet forum plans of swims to robben island/crosscountry-skiing in Lesotho/surfskiing the north coast et al cropping up).

The route itself is established but does change slightly as situations develop. The one major route adjustment this year was due to the electrification of the Mountain Zebra National Park fence. Now we go ever so close, but around it.

About six weeks before the race, the final route was released and available for download in electronic form (thanks for the bandwidth, boss). The whole route is released as a series of twenty five 1:150 000 maps. The route (and occasional alternatives) is traced by an electronic highlighter and that’s what we use. For sections that require a greater scale of magnification, there will be a portion of 1:50 000 coverage of the area to augment the main map. There are thirty three of these, with many of them coming in the first few days.

As if a map isn’t enough, we also have a text narrative of the route, which extends to thirty pages. Just having done a little bit of the last section, I can attest to the few ‘up there’s and head scratchings when comparing map to text. Maybe that section will make more sense after 2000km under the belt when I understand this language called ‘Waddilove’.

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