After returning from following the Freedom Challenge in June I was convinced this was not for me … but what to do when something does not want to let go and the images of the Freedom Challenge do not want to let go. My body and is limitations will not allow me to pursue this dream at an older age so if it’s ever to be it has to be now. Having never been one to not face up to a challenge I sent my entry into the Race Office and shortly after received confirmation of my entry.
I have some reservations about the ability of my neck & back to stand up to this challenge but after having consulted with several specialists I believe, despite their concerns, that it is possible to get to the start line with proper conditioning and preparation over the next 40 weeks or so.
I decided to go and see for myself what the Freedom Challenge was all about so during the long weekend of 16-19 June I set off for Pietermaritzburg with a friend. Glenn Harrisson the single speed legend spent a day in the car guiding us around the first day of the route as we followed Alex Harris on his start day. Glenn is an encyclopedia of knowledge and experience and his insights were both inspirational as well as intimidating. I swore I’d never do such an insane event.
In the following days we followed the route and took some photos to try and capture elements of the race. As an accomplished photographer I was not able to properly show the intricate dynamics of riders, equipment, conditions, geography, history, navigation, people of the route, etc. This was no ordinary mountain bike race, the Freedom Challenge is multi-dimensional and its spirit cannot be captured in print, in audio, in video or in pictures. I left the event with mixed feelings and perhaps even more intrigued than I was before.