By: Steven Burnett
Pictures by: Llewellyn Lloyd
If you take a snapshot of Freedom Trail today, you see riders spread out from Pietermaritzburg all the way to the famed Vuvu Valley. The first Race to Rhodes(RTR) participants put rubber on the ground on Tuesday June 11th, and started the steady stream of riders on their way to Rhodes. We have just two RTR riders left out there, Sandy Olivier and Sarah van Eeden who started on Mon 17thand Tue 18threspectively. They should finish over the weekend.
We now move onto the big kahuna, the Race across South Africa (RASA) which kicked off on Mon 17th. There has been a daily batch of 5-8 riders setting off each morning from PMB, with their end goal being Diemersfontein in Wellington 2200km away. These batches have stuck together quite closely, doing what has been required without racing ahead the day’s standard schedule. Batch 1 have arrived at Malekgolonyane (Support Station 4) in the early afternoon of Thursday 20th, and chose to stay put.
Batch 2 are on course to do the same thing, and we will have to see if anyone from their ranks decides to move on further to Tinana Mission, halfway to Vuvu (SS5).
Batch 3 are on their third day of riding, and have a minor split in that Radislav Zemandi has made a crucial nav error and is now in the wrong valley – we will see where he ends up later today.
Batch 4 has our first breakaways. Arriving at Allendale (SS1) in the early afternoon, brothers Nigel and Adrian Payne moved on to the alternate station of Centacow Mission. They are experienced riders returning to the route for 4thtime each and are aiming for Masakala (SS3) on their 2nd day.
Batch 5 got going this morning, and we will see if any of these 6 riders are feeling adventurous enough to move beyond the comforts of Allendale (SS1) later in the afternoon.
Looking ahead we seem to have good weather in the immediate future and the train of riders will continue to make their progress westward into the Malutis and beyond.