More rain in Rhodes yesterday meant that the already damp roads have become saturated and all the remaining batches will now have to contend with muddy conditions in their first few days. It wouldn't be the Freedom Challenge without some adversity though and so far the batches already out on the trail have coped quite well, with only a slight slow down in their overall pace. When the sun does come out, the surrounding countryside is lush and green with streams of run-off water glistening all around. So despite less than ideal conditions, the riders are still able to enjoy these moments and appreciate their surroundings.
The warmth and hospitality of the support stations are an integral part of the Freedom Challenge experience - some even say these are the highlight. The priveledge of staying over in someone's home in a remote area of the country is not to be taken lightly, as in many areas there are few if any alternatives for food and accommodation. Riders are reminded of this at their race briefing and most understand the required etiquette and appreciate the value of the support stations, so behave accordingly. But unfortunately not always and after a complaint from a host yesterday at the state that their facilities were left in, a batch of riders were given a time penalty. This meant that they could only start riding at 8am today.
With 4 batches out on the trail and 3 more still to get underway, this year's Race to Cradock is in full swing and the attention starts to turn to those starting in the last batch, who will be aiming to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. Although currently the conditions may not favour fast riding times, a few days of sunshine to dry things out could easily change that - let's wait and see.