While most folks tend to think winter is a good time to sip red wine next to a cosy fire side I have taken a rather contrarian view and will spend the middle of winter this year on my mountain bike riding the 2300 km Freedom Trail Race Across South Africa. My journey will start on the 10th June in Pietermaritzburg and cover over 2300 km of some of the most remote and beautiful parts of our magnificent country. I am hoping to make the finish line in Paarl within 20 days, with a cut-off of 26 days being the maximum permitted to officially finish the race.
The Freedom Challenge is a non-stop event with no GPS or support of any kind permitted. Riders are only allowed to make use of maps and a compass, and with the exception of one ice cream tub of goodies that you send ahead to the 26 control points along the way, everything you need for your journey must be carried on your back or your bike.
I am planning to use this ride to raise funds for a project that is very close to my heart. For the last year I have been actively involved in a canoeing development program for disadvantaged children from the Stanford community. I have been able to share my passion for canoeing with youngsters who live within minutes of one of the most beautiful rivers in our country, but would never have had access to the sport without this program. Over the last twelve months I have been privileged to work with these kids and see how time spent on the river has changed their lives for the better. I have seen how they wait excitedly for each training session, the sense of peace and enjoyment that we share as we paddle down rivers, the adventure of going to races and being part of a team, the camaraderie between kids of different social, economic and cultural backgrounds – this isn’t just sport, it’s truly life changing stuff. So please support me as I “Peddle for Paddles” to raise funds for much needed canoeing equipment on my Freedom Challenge journey this winter.