Cyclists on 2?300?km ride for charity

2011-06-16 00:00

THE 2 300 km “non-stop” Freedom Challenge, to test athletes’ perseverance, entered its fifth day yesterday.

The race, with 100 riders taking part, began in front of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Saturday at 6 am.

The mountain bike riders cycle through the interior of South Africa and will finish at the Deimersfontein Wine Estate outside Cape Town.

The riders have to endure six mountain ranges, which includes Maloti Drakensberg.

Race director David Waddilove said most of the riders are racing not only in their personal capacity, but also for charity with an aim to raise R350 000 for the Freedom Challenge Scholarship fund.

“I think what makes this race special is that participants go through countryside. It is long, challenging, very demanding and it’s non-stop. Racers can see parts of the country people don’t know exist,” said Waddilove.

These adventurous riders will get an opportunity to view beautiful scenery along their journey, which includes nature reserves, indigenous forests, and the Great Fish River.

They will also get a chance to mingle with the villagers as they catch their breath along the way.

“This race is also rare in a sense that it’s unsupported and you do everything by yourself,” said Waddilove.

The tracks include paths and cattle tracks, and as if that’s not enough, they can expect sub-zero temperature and even snow.

Half the riders will finish after 500 km in the Eastern Cape village of Rhodes, while others will push off to Cape Town with the cut-off of 26 days.

The current men’s record is 13 days, 15 hours and 50 minutes, set in 2009 by Springbok cyclist Tim James.

Currently Mike Woolnough is number one with only few hours of sleep.

He has left Ntsikeni and is now headed across the upper catchment of the Umzimvubu River.

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