Because it’s there: Race Across South Africa 2012

The infamous George Mallory quote is the underlying driving force behind my next adventure. On June 14, 2012, I will be embarking on a ride whose founder named it a route to put a smile on South Africa.

The first time I heard about the Freedom Challenge was while sitting on the beach in Scottburgh. Johann Baard (my teammate) and I had completed the 2011 joBerg2c event. Nine days, nine hundred kilometers of district road, jeep track and incredible single track. ( Besides contemplating the fact that the next morning we would not be cycling the entire day, enjoying a beer and the beach, the obvious question surfaced. What next? One of the other competitors (she did have that crazy look about her), mentioned an event where one cycles unsupported (that is a big thing…) from Pietermaritzburg, KZN to Paarl, Western Cape. The idea lost its appeal somewhere between the unsupported part and that finishers received a blanket.

Fast forward six months. I was departing from my home in the bush and headed towards the (not so big) city lights of Pietermaritzburg in order to start acquiring the skills to be a bone carpenter. I needed something to focus on apart from work and studying. Johann called me one a day when he wasn’t living the glamour life on one of the cruise ships suggesting that we enter.
Me, not being a betting man, after much thought, opted to enter as there were only sixty places available and there would definitely be a waiting list (which would give me more time to work on a legitimate excuse why it would not be a good idea). 48 hours later I received an email advising me that I had been accepted and could I pay the deposit in order to secure my entry. No mention of the waiting list. I still haven’t found an excuse.

What it will entail:


Statistics from the race organisers:
Expected conditions:
-15 to +35degC

Special features:
Portage (ie carry ones bike) for 70km
Climb 43 000m (13000m of climbing in first three days)
Push ones bike 80-200km
Climb over more than 80 fences (some 3m high)

Supplies in the form of two liter ice-cream containers will be posted out to the supply stations (one container per rider per supply station). These need to be packed and posted off one month before the race.

Departure: 14 June 2012, Pietermaritzburg Town Hall, KZN.

I will be updating my blog along the route via email and Twitter (@PeterTheVet). Don’t expect any pictures until after the Race.

Subsequently to entering this race, I decided to use the event as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Project Rhino KZN. Launched on World Rhino Day 2011, (22 September), this association of like-minded organisations, collectively known as Project Rhino KZN, allows for over-arching co-ordination of rhino conservation interventions aimed at eliminating rhino poaching and securing the rhino populations in KZN. (

The African Conservation Trust (Project Rhino’s Secretariat) has a GivenGain account. The link that has been set up concurrently with them in order to facilitate donations is: ( . GivenGain is an online donation portal and able to accept donations in US$, Pounds, Euros, Swiss Francs, Aus$ and Canadian$ as well as Rands.  It can take donations from both credit and debit cards. (nudge, nudge!)

In order to track my whereabouts while on the trail, go to the Freedom Challenge Website and click on the Netstar Logo. I will send an update once I am assigned a tracker number.

Any comments or queries – let me know. (Realistically, I doubt I will manage to reply while competing in the Race across South Africa but will endeavour to reply once I am finished).


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