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Final test run

14 Jun

A quick spin around the neighbourhood tonight for last minute cold weather gear & lights check.

A Ok!


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Packing light…

13 Jun

Did a full ‘race day’ packing of my backpack this evening. Chuffed to find out that 1. It all fits in (just) 2. The weight is under 6kg (no water in the bladder).


Lessons learnt from Africa motorbike trip is to take essentials, the majority of ‘I may need this’ items you are never like to need. I have kept it simple with plenty of layering options. Spares are practical and have pouches on the bike for food and running repair bike kit.

Kit wise I am in a happy place, roll on Sunday.

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As a key partner of both MTN and Qhubeka, Samsung have kindly offered to take care of my communication needs on the trail by letting me test their new ‘outdoor lifestyle’ android smartphone – the Samsung Galaxy X-Cover. This smartphone is both dust and waterproof so should lend itself well to the RASA conditions. All race blog updates to this site will be via the Android WordPress app on the Galaxy X-Cover……iLove Android ūüôā











Full specs for the phone are:

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
Announced 2011, August
Status Available. Released 2011, October
BODY Dimensions 121.5 x 65.9 x 12 mm
Weight 100 g
– IP67 certified – dust and water proof (up to 1m for 30 mins)
– Touch-sensitive controls
DISPLAY Type Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 320 x 480 pixels, 3.65 inches (~158 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass
– TouchWiz UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
– DNSe sound enhancement
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32GB
Internal 150 MB storage, 512 MB RAM
DATA GPRS Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
Speed HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging
Video Yes, VGA
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread)
CPU 800 MHz Marvell MG2
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Gray
– Social networking integration
– MP4/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Organizer
– Image/video editor
– Document editor
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa integration
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input (Swype)
BATTERY Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Stand-by (2G) / Up to 640 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 13 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 11 h (3G)
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Sit back, relax, put those headphones in and enjoy 50mins of fantastic race footage and on the trail interviews with the 2010 Freedom Challenge competitors. This clip is what hooked me to sign up for this incredible challenge – I hope it does the same for you:

2010 Freedom Challenge RASA from D4 Productions on Vimeo.

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So the first batches of riders have set off, and by all accounts ridden straight into a cold front. Fortunately for us in group H (17th June), the weather looks to be clearing with few showers and highs of 14 and lows of 2 degrees over the first 5 days traversing Transkei and Lesotho.

As with all of the these events nerves start to creep in Рyou start hearing noises in your bike that you are convinced is a frame cracks and the body begins aching in weird and wonderful places. Unfortunately this time round I have fallen foul to paranoia becoming all to true.

1. The blasted front fork: I have been hearing a slight knocking sound on the headset area of the bike under light load. Unable to find the source of the noise I took the Niner into Cycle lab Fourways where¬†Mauricio¬†is aware of the fact that I am doing FC and so did a thorough strip of the front half. It finally emerged that my fancy new DT Swiss fork is prone to the steerer tube having play in the crown assembly – the source of the ‘knock’…..young Helet Conradie as per usual jumped into action and sourced a new Rock Shox RTL Reba. This particular fork is the Hilux of the suspension world and in hindsight is actually the right tool for the job…..more cash added to the FC budget, but rather now than out on the trail !











2. The dreaded ITB: The knee pain and myself are old friends, a running injury from years ago that I thought I was well shot of. I broke the cardinal rule of endurance racing РI changed my shoes and thus my set up within a month of race start. In my defence I struggled to find the appropriate trail/MTB shoes that took my fancy, net result, they arrived late and I promptly did 2 x 150km weekends and hey presto that niggling pain down the left knee emerged when applying watts to the pedal stroke. Fortunately I had ordered a back up pair online, these feel far more natural on my feet and I have also tweaked the saddle height to accommodate for the thicker soled shoes. A test ride this weekend yielded good results and knee looks to be getting back in shape. What an ejut !!!!

The revised anti-ITB tekkies (Gaerne Lapo’s):









Apart from the knee, I am very happy with my fitness and all other kit and clothing. I feel prepared and excited, and a little thankful that in group H we have some true FC gentleman who will hopefully guide this ‘newbie lytie’ along for the first few days.

Next post from PMB !!!


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Packing dissonance!

29 May

No turning back now, my 2 litre ‘life support’ boxes are packed, duct taped shut and dispatched off to Cape Town.

Now the FC organisers have the unenviable task of driven them off into the bundus where the overnight stops are located.


And no, there are zero Cheese Puffs in my boxes – damn you Celiac ūüôā

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Map Technicians

24 May

A big thank you to Mike W for taking some of us new and not so new FC nutters through his mad route knowledge this evening.

I was nervous, now borderline petrified!


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Life in a box….

20 May

Given that the Freedom Challenge is an unsupported event, and 2400 km’s long – each competitor is allowed to send a 2 litre container of provisions to each overnight stop. The box predominantly contains food and medical supplies, with the odd box filled with bike service parts.

Given my celiac disease these boxes are even more critical as I cant eat the sandwiches/vetkoek that most overnight stops will provide as padkos.

My average 2l box contains the following:

  • Maps/narrative for next stage


  • mixed nuts
  • dried mango
  • GU chomps
  • GU¬†effervescent tabs¬†
  • assorted sweets
  • tinned chicken or tuna
  • Hammer recovery shake
  • future life energy meal
  • Woolworths gluten free protein bars


  • Vit C & Cal Mag Zinc tablets
  • Detol liquid
  • Sudacrem
  • second skin plaster for saddle blisters
  • Mark II saddle cream
  • Aqueous cream


  • Squirt lube
  • Duct tape
  • Sunlight liquid – cleaning bike, chain, clothes
  • Batteries for lights

At the half way mark I have also packed the following bike parts for replacement if needed (I will be carrying other spares in my pack):

  • Chain
  • Brake pads
  • Bottom bracket

I am sure I will lust after something on the trail that I wished I had packed, but here’s hoping that I have got the basics covered – the rest will have to be found in spaza shops!

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