16 June - what can the racers expect tomorrow

Race Across South Africa - Route Profile for Tomorrow for Batch J's Racing Snakes

The next stages profiles:

Tomorrow is set to be less net ascent for the lead riders of the racing snakes, at least for those moving to Ntsikeni tonight, with near 2000m altitude being reached at Ntsikeni after huge climbing today.

While in the RASA, Tim James looks set to pass Ntsikeni Lodge tonight (the 2nd overnight support station for a regulation ride), Andrew Barnes, Marnitz Nienaber, Stuart Roos and Ivor Jones still need to undertake the climb to Ntsikeni from Centocow later tonight or in the early morning, however. The route profile is a stiff one out of Centacow. The 1st 12 kms out of Centocow involve a climb of near 600m. Thereafter a tricky little night navigation section through Gxalangene Forest before the 2nd big climb of around 650m from around the 27km to the 37km mark. Thereafter the route rises more gradually - its 52.8km to Ntsikeni Lodge in total, and a cumulative ascent of 1,802 m with a cumulative descent of -997metres.

In Ntsikeni Reserve, the altitude is above 1,800 metres, which must surely have some effect on coastal-based riders who are not acclimatised to similar levels as are Joburg-based riders.

The Race 2 Rhodes leading pack may decide to move on from Ntsikeni Lodge tonight towards Glenn Edward (Banchory). This is a relatively easy section once the riders have exited Ntsikeni Reserve, and is a net descent stage. It is a 36.2km section, but don't be fooled by the short distance. It can be slow going out of Ntsikeni Reserve as you're not exactly on one of those Joburg ETolled freeways. The net descent for the stretch is -741 metres, but there is still some ascent, especially in the initial stages, and the cumulative ascent is +628m.

Sheila at Glen Edward may have to burn some midnight oil waiting for Mike Woolnough and the 2 ladies. Glen Edward is the 3rd day midday stop for the social riders.

The following stage will be to Masakala from Glen Edward and is 59.5km. This section also involves a net descent. But there are many ups and downs, with cumulative +1,205m ascent and -1343m descent.

From Masakala, the next stage is to Malekhalonyane 56.4kms away. This is the 4th night stop for the slow pokes. Cumulative ascent is +1029 metres and cumulative descent is -1003 metres, so a very slight net ascent. The navigation near to Malekhalonyane can get tricky at night, coming off Mpharane Ridge. 

And do I dare speculate about the possibility of riders moving past Malekhalonyane by tomorrow afternoon/evening??? More possible for the Race 2 Rhodes leaders. From Malekhalonyane the next stage takes the riders to Tinana Mission a cumulative ascent of +1226m and cumulative descent of -1380 metres, and a distance of 42.2km. If they come into Tinana during the dark hours of tomorrow night, the navigation off the ridge above Tinana Mission could make for the 1st bit of interesting navigation for the racing snakes.

If a rider does get as far as Tinana tomorrow night at some stage, the scene will be set to get to Rhodes during daylight on the 3rd day of the race, and to go past Rhodes before the 3rd day is out. It has been done by some of the race leaders in recent years.

By John Loos (Blanket/Whip)