Getting to the start-line of the Freedom Challenge is in itself, quite an accomplishment. Apart from the obvious mission of acquiring all the right gear and preparing your bike, you also have to prepare to put your normal life on hold for the better part of a month. The extended escape from your life, job, society and daily norms is perhaps one of the biggest barriers to entry for this race but it is also part of the reason that this event is so special. It is a journey of discovery for everyone who takes part. Discovery of the beautiful country we call home but also discovery of one’s self. 3 weeks alone on your bike gives you a lot of time to ponder life, clear the mind and hit reset.
Training obviously starts months ahead of D-day. RASA demands a slightly different training regime to your average MTB event. It’s all about time in the saddle and if you are not riding your bike then best you be carrying it. That’s right, hiking over mountains with your bike on your shoulders is going to become the norm once on the trail so it is worth getting some practice in.
Training is one thing but the preparation stage gets real when you have to start packing support station boxes.
Once all the prep is done we will pack our bags and then probably re-pack them about 17 times before making our way to Pietermaritzburg. All that’s left is to say our goodbyes, stop questioning why we are putting ourselves through this torture and remember just how privileged we are to be taking this journey together…. AGAIN!