by in Race Updates

Wow, were do I start…….

Andre and I rolled into Diemersfontein Wine Estate (RASA finish) at 1:45pm this afternoon, making my race time 19 days – 7 hours – 45 mins. The final day is all about Stettynskloof, a very rocky a steep portage (majority carrying bike) for 8km that should take anywhere between 4-6hours. Andre needed to be in at the finish by 3pm to secure 6th spot so we were on a proper race strategy. Strict departure ate 6pm so that we hit the portage start at first light at 7pm.

Our nav through the stricky lower section went very well and fortunately the threatening weather at the start of the day cleared. The key to this kind of terrain is to keep a constant steady pace with short sharp breaks if required. At the take out we opted for the steeper but shorter earlier ravine on the right, then doubled back around the rear of the ridge to the jeep track……for us novices this turned out to be a wise call and made up further time……we intersected the jeep rack at 11:43, dead on for the sub 3pm pace. Lifted by our cunning ascent of the legendary Stettyns we pushed hard over the final 50km incl Du Toits pass (which for our legs now seemed like a minor crest) and flew down the valley into Diemers. We did stop to toast our happiness at the top of Due Toits with 2 mini Red Bulls…not that we needed any wings.

We arrived so early ahead of schedule that both families were caught of guard, but the reunion with all was fantastic, even on the second lap of the dam 🙂

Riding with Andre since Tenana has been a wonderful learning experience and really helped me to push my boundaries that much further and take confidence in my ability, on top of that he is a world class gentleman and someone who I would gladly call a friend.

Finishing an epic adventure is always a surreal feeling, however over the closing days I have plenty time to mull over the key emotions I have experienced and what makes this race so special:

  • This race is raw, there is no candy coating or kid gloves here…….the race organisers are as tough as they come, and in that integrity lies the root of what makes this the hardest race in SA
  • The folk that do this race do not do it for the branded kit…..this is a very inwardly focused event, that generates a level of respect from a select few that have also left pieces of themselves strewn across South Africa. This is humbling, and trait found very rarely in our sports landscape these days
  • The people of this country that live outside of our ‘metro’ zones are the heart of this land. Their generosity and genuine desire for us to suceed is inspiring. To spend just one night with each one of these families/communities is a privilidge that few get to experience
  • The ability for the human body and brain to focus in on a single purpose then fragment that into a succession of milestones that must be overcome is staggering. If that power could be harnessed on a greater scale across a wider populas image the possibilities….
  • We are all fallible, and without the ‘safety net’ of friends/family/faith our achievements would not be as lofty or audacious
  • We live in the MOST beautiful and varied country, and exploring it on 2 wheels under your own power is about as pure as it gets!

Lastly a huge thanks to Meryl, David, Glen and Andrew for putting together this incredible experience……I am proud to be a RASA finisher member and will long be in your gratitude for facilitating this journey of a lifetime.

I have been filming a documentary along the route, so will be editing that and posting soon, plus enriching the blog posts retrospectively with pictures… check back soon.

Cheers, Jody

2012 Freedom Challenge, Race Across South Africa Finisher

11 Comments Share Leave Reply


  • Johann Rissik


    Congratulations on a spectacular ride, I noticed that you caught up to Andre too!

    Don’t forget how your riding inspires others along the trail. Thank you for that too.

  • Mike Woolnough


    Well done Jody. Welcome to a the small band of brothers and sisters that have had the priviledge of wrapping a finishers blanket around their shoulders.

  • casper


    was such jol riding with you and Andre.Well done to you soutie,enjoy the afterglow!

  • Marnitz Nienaber


    Life is a journey and you have made it count, now life your dream !

  • Peter O’Farrell


    Eloquently summarized Jody. It is privilege to be one of the few who can wrap that blanket round one’s shoulders. We live in an amazing country. My life has been enriched by those I met along the way, both fellow racers and those who helped and encouraged along the route.

  • steven burnett


    With a blanket, nothing is impossible. Thanks for sharing the adventure

  • Andre Visser


    Eish Jody…. I am sitting in my office with tears heaving on my eyelids as I read this last post of yours. Its almost surreal to be back in “reality”. Only now have I started reading the different blogs. We had an awesome time out there. It was great to have you next to me crossing the line, getting the blanket and seeing our loved ones. Thanks for memories mate!

  • Andrew Purnell


    Well done Jody. You don’t know me – I’m a bit of a Freedom Challenge vouyer and have quite a few mates who have completed the ride.
    Your final blog post is a beautifully worded summary, if as an outsider I have any right to comment.
    Hoping to join the ranks in a few years time.

  • butch and jill


    Jodes,Wow! We are just the most proud folks around -especially since we have just driven out of Baviaanskloof today after two days of the most hectic pass we have ever driven in SA – and we had 4 wheels!!
    Your research,preparation and then just sheer determination and will to finish each and every adventure which you have tackled over the years, gives us,as your mom and dad such a feeling of joy and pride that is hard to explain.The fact that we are part of a lot of these crazy adventures-even if just to support-makes us very happy.
    We know you always give of your best and in this adventure your gorgeous red blanket is the proof of this.
    We have covered a fair distance on our way home to the Drakensberg along roads nearby your route and each day we were just in awe of how you cycled and portaged for all those days on those tracks in severe weather and darkness.What more can we say – we are so very proud of you love!

  • Gerrit Pretorius


    I am glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, and also experienced the wonderful people of our beautiful country. Wel gedaan


  • charl


    Hey Jody

    trust that you are very well

    just had another look at your blog – brings back so many good memories

    is there any chance that you would be prepared to share your garmin files with me, I would like them as some sort of record of the route I rode

    take care and all the best with the little one on the way



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