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

which way is north?

So maps are crucial here. I claim to be a bit of an outdoor fundi and have some boy scouts training. You’ll see me knocking around at local orienteering events and the odd adventure race. But never across the whole country.

Maps are crucial. Mess up your maps and you get lost. Get lucky if you want to make it to Paarl before august. The main thinking is to have them available, put them in your pocket and you’ll get lazy reading them and go on instinct. Get lucky if you want to make it to Paarl before August. I went a bit wild on my map system.


All maps are laminated. That’s a mission, especially when the first laminator you lay your hands on is broken. It’s hard to mess them up, and you can even write on them too. They’re also broken up into much smaller sections, giving a little sense of achievement each time you run off from one to the other. There are overlaps in sections with magnified scales of the scratchy bits, but there’s probably about 140 maps for me to get through. I’ve sent each section to the preceding support station. This does mean if I plan to double up any days, I can only properly plan the bit to the first station and go on memory for the second bit till I get there. Could be a recipe for disaster.

The maps themselves sit on a map board/holder. Now all adventure racers will know that map holders is a topic of endless theories and discussions. Lots of things work, many better than others.

I’ve gone with corrugate plastic boards – the stuff that estate agents use to sell houses (thanks Cape Coastal). This is then cable tied to the handle bar and is loose at the other end. This allows me to klap it inadvertently with my knee with out breaking it. It’s also fairly protected by the handlebar from any branches/fynbos. My other brilliant but mostly untested idea is to use hairclips to hold the maps down. Elastic bands just don’t work. These hairclips slot into the grooves of the plastic and have been epoxied in. Laminated maps (and route description narratives) slot in no problems and stay there too. I have spare map boards waiting for me along the way.

If all fails I do have a spare waterproof mapholder that sits round your neck. Let’s hope I don’t use it before Stettyns.

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