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Jaco Strydom

The Freedom Challenge has been described as the race that can change your life. It brought many changes to the life of Jaco Strydom. In 2008 he arrived at the Ntsikeni support station after midnight, clomped around on the wooden floors in his cycling shoes, complained loudly about the maps and narratives and was generally inconsiderate towards the other sleeping cyclists. The complaining endured for much of his race and, having unilaterally decided to cut out Stettynskloof due to pouring rain, he finished under a bit of a cloud. A few months later, after his post race binge eating had abated, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And it was then that Jaco’s race truly began.

With his bike and the enduring support of his wife, “the pretty one” he set about rediscovering the route and the people of the Freedom Trail, cycling it in reverse. He pioneered 1300 kilometres of trail that would connect Beit Bridge with the existing trail in Pietermaritzburg, in the process creating a legacy for other mountain bikers and riding around Lesotho. Engaging with mountain biking and life as fully as possible.

He undertook almost all these rides alone. Despite the debilitating advances of his illness he displayed a measure of fortitude that serves as an example to other riders as they battle with what the Freedom Challenge throws at them, and with themselves. The Freedom Challenge tests riders physically, emotionally and spiritually. When subject to the most extreme tests, Jaco prevailed - David Waddilove



TELEPHONE - +27 (0) 83 658 8440
ADDRESS - 7 Wigtown Road, Greenpoint, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa
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