Mike was now alone up front. After a cold, tough night he arrived at Vuvu at 4h30am for a quick nap before heading up Lehanas at daybreak. Realising his record aspirations were now out of reach, he decided to just enjoy a the spectacular final day over Lehans – for the 16thtime in his Freedom Challenge career!!! He even allowed himself the luxury of a Tena Head coffee stop. He has still had an incredible ride and was the first person to make it to Rhodes, arriving at 14h54, giving him a race time of 56h54m. Well done Mike! The race is not yet over and it is possible but not probable that Roger (or Carlo, Henry, Pieter) could sneak inside his time so he ‘waits in the clubhouse’ to see what the rest of the field can muster.
“Trevor’s Tour Group” had a breathtaking ride over Black Fountain, through Tinana and up the Vuvu valley where they will spend the night.
The The whole group of 13 from Masakala moved onto Malekgolonyane for the night nd they will be joined by the four racers passing through around midnight. Will they stay or will they go???
Phillip has been riding very consistently and efficiently for three straight days and finds himself at Masakala tonight with the big Durban group of Mark, Hugo,, Dirk, Darroll, Stuart and Janine.
Chris, Michael, Michael, Paul and John (or the ‘old bats’ as they call themselves) continued to enjoy Michael Potgieters intermit route knowledge to make good work of day 2. James has been riding his own riding and enjoying some solo navigating but doing very well to keep things smoothly on track.
The forth and final RTR starting batch includes: Carlo Gonzaga, John Barrow, Roger Nicholson, Michael Patchitt, Chris Charter, Paul Arnott, Michael Potgieter, Pieter van der Westhuizen, James Housten, Henry Angove.
The two Michaels, John, Chris, Paul and James settled into things with a standard (but tough) day to Allendale. Henry, Carlo, Pieter and Roger pushed on to Centocow for dinner and then onto Ntsikeni. Roger is riding a singlespeed which made his 11 pm arrival at Ntsikeni all that much more impressive. The other three took a wrong turn on the climb up to Ntsikeni resulting in a couple extra hours for them, arriving around 2am.
Mike Woolnough continued his flying pace through Masakala late morning and Malekgolonyane by 16h30 where he took a 10 minute cat-nap and continued into the night to Vuvu.
The Stewart gang all rode nicely from Allendale to Ntsikeni. Unfortunately Andrew Pearson withdrew at Centocow. Axel had a few hours sleep after losing his in Ntsikeni the night before so he took a relatively chilled day to Masakala to spend the night with his friends, the Louws.
The Knowles brothers continued their steady and consistent progress to arrive at Masakala just after dark. Merak and Oliver joined Mike as he passed through Ntsikeni last night (at 10pm) and the 3 rode together through the night for very early breakfast at Glen Edward and ontoi Masakala where they said goodbye to Mike and enjoyed an afternoon rest. Nic, Chris, Stuart and Ivor also had a good day from Ntsikeni to Masakala arriving late afternoon. Masakala is a full house tonight with 13pax. Nic Adams celebrated his 60thBirthday on the trail today. Happy Birthday!
Wade, John, Nico and Nicolas spent last night at Glen Edward and took another recovery day to Masakala and are all felling nicely refreshed and ready to get back into the daily grind!
Up front, Trevor, Chris, Johan, Clyde and Greg had a chilled day in more ways than one as they exited a freezing Masakala, across the flats, over Mparane and arrived early afternoon at Masakla for an afternoon of mountain gazing whilst sipping some well deserved Zamaleks.
RTR Batch 3 consists of Phillip Fullaway, Mark Stewart, Hugo Van Schalkwyk, Dirk Coetzee, Darrol Mckeown, Stuart Manzie, Andrew Pearson, Janine Stewart, Daniel Otto, Axel Poser and Mike Woolnough.
Most of this batch headed for Allendale today. Phillip made good time and arrived by 3pm for a good afternoon rest. Axel and Daniel made a flying start despite Daniel feeling ill. He eventually bailed on Hella hella but Axel powered on and is having a great ride, currently about an hour behind Mike who is having a blinder, currently ahead of record pace!
The Louws, Wade and John opted for a relatively shorter day from Ntsikeni to Glen Edward for the night. Trevor's merry men made it to Masakala by 5pm and batch 2 all made good progress from Allendale to Ntsikeni to arrive around sunset.
RTR batch 2 set off on another balmy PMB morning. This batch consists of another father and son pairing: Merak and Oliver Greaves. Oliver is 17 years old making him the youngest rider rider on the trail. They had a great day making steady progress to arrive at Allendale at 16h35. Joining them was Nic Adams and arriving shortly afterwards was Stuart Roos, Christian Neethling and Ivor Jones. Shaun Tischendorf and brothers Bruce and Shaun Knowles arrived at 18h50.
Unfortunately Russell Hanger withdrew at Allendale due to ongoing knee trouble. Trevor, Chris, Johan, Clyde and Greg made steady progress all day arriving at Ntsikeni at 16h45. Nico, Nicholas, Wade and John had another very long day. They had an understandably slightly late start which translated into another VERY long day on the bikes to eventuallly reach Ntsikeni just before midnight. These 4 have now had a 15 hour day followed by an 18 hour day but they have kept on trooping.
The first day of Race to Rhodes is done and dusted. 10 Riders set off from PMB city hall at 6am on 11 June to mark the start of the 2019 winter events. The Umko valley has become very overgrown in the past couple years and riders had a toucgh time fighting through the thicket. Trevor, Russell, Clyde, Johan and Chris are planning to ride together and Greg Fisher stuck with them today. They eventually emerged at the river crossing at 2pm and made it to Allendale by 16h45. Father and son pairing Nico and Nicholas Louw stuck with Wade Mosterd and John Bowen. They took a bit longer through the thick stuff and then opted not to cross the river but rather ride round and over the bridge. A long day for the four but they showed true grit and eventually arrived at Allendale at 20h50. Sure they will all enjoy a well deserved night's rest before heading for Ntsikeni tomorrow.