29 Jun 2012

Mud fight in the Stormberg

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 23:04
Rhodes, Eastern Cape
Friday 22 June 2012

As the 2300km 2012 Freedom Race Across South Africa moved through the mountains of the Maluti Drakensberg and across the treeless and windy plains of the Stormberg plateau, the battle for many of the riders became one merely for survival.

Race leader 7 time Dusi winner, Martin Dreyer, arrived at the Rhodes support station at midday on Thursday, 21 June,  and promptly continued up the valley of the Sterkspruit.  He was followed two hours later by 2010 and 2011 winner and current record holder, Alex Harris.   The two were in turn chasing down early pace setters Mike Woolnough and Trevor Ball who left Pietermaritzburg two days before them.

Over the next 36 hours close to 100 millimetres of rain fell over the Stormberg.  Riders climbing Lehana’s Pass, which at 2760m is the highest point of the race, had to contend with snow. Further ahead the charge of Woolnough and Ball got stuck.  After crossing the Loutebron and Bontehoek portages they were forced to stop for the day at Moordenaarspoort, the site of the Anglo Boer war ambush of General Jan Smuts.  On Friday 22 June 2012, after battling with heavy mud and unrelenting rain, the two stopped at midday at the farm Kranzkop, having taken 6 hours to travel 40 kilometres of open road.  It was at Kranzkop that Dreyer and Harris caught them, arriving 2 hours apart in the course of the evening.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the field the arduous terrain and weather conditions were starting to take their toll.  By the time the cold front had passed over the Stormberg  more than 20% of the field of initial starters had withdrawn.

This from Freedom Challenge website.

In the meantime my bike is in "hospital" and I'm on the mend. Busy moving my mind to a better space and will start my preparations for Cape Epic 2013 soon. Any help and input from you all out there would be appreciated.

Watch this space for my Freedom Challenge in pictures. 

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