Saturday, 2 July 2011

Day 19 - Sixteen hours to Prince Albert

Well done to Alexander Harris, winner of the 2011 Freedom Challenge and new record holder. He finished this massive journey in 12 days, 15 hours and 30 minutes. What an awesome achievement. He beat Tim James's 2009 record by 1 day and 10 minutes. Glenn Harrison also beat the previous record by completing the Freedom Challenge in 13 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes. He did this on a single speed. Imaging what he can do with gears? Paul Erasmus, a good friend of the FNB Home Loans team completed the race today in 18 days 8 hours. To them and the rest of the Freedom Challenge 2011 finishers, congrats.

I found this comment on August Carstens' blog Hike-a-Bike: "I count as friends both the FC racing snakes and the puffadders like me. When we are sitting around sipping coffee retelling our trail stories we have a common bond - a blanket The value of that only truly understood by those who have one." - Mike Woolnough

John and Albert got up at 2am in Willomore to start cycling. They hit temperatures of -7 degrees traveling to Prince Albert. Here are some of their comments:

"Lance Armstrong says he only has good days and great days. Using his classification today was definitely only a good day. 175 kms of flattish road from Willowmore to Prince Albert doesn't sound too hectic. But try it against a strong northwesterly wind. We left at 2h00 this morning and arrived in Prince Albert 16 hours later at 18h00."

"But thank goodness it over now. Another 175kms off the total means another big step towards Cape Town. Team FNB has covered 1,788km of the total route and now has only 562km left to cover in a maximum of 7 days."

"But we're not getting over excited yet" says John."There's still a lot of work to be done over the next 2 days, going over Swartberg Pass into Die Hel, followed by the following day's climb out of Die Hel via Die Leer. After that, as we head for Montagu, I think the spirits will be high".

"But it was nevertheless good to arrive in Prince Albert. One can hear in the accents that you're getting into the Western Cape. And you know you're nearing the Mother City because every odd sentence begins with "jou ma.....". Prince Albert looks good. It appears to have remodeled itself as a getaway town. A Clarens. Proof that country town can thrive through reinvention. So on to Die Hel tomorrow, but this will be a different one to the place where many of my friends will possibly go."

A tired Albert approaches Prince Albert
"This is one of the characters that makes the Freedom Challenge special. Johan Rissik, pitched up out of the blue 20kms outside Prince Albert and served us great plunger coffee. He then met us at our lodge in Prince Albert and begun servicing our bikes."

Profiles courtesy

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