DIY Map Board

A low cost and effective map board for adventure racing, orienteering and mountain bike touring. Has been used successfully on Freedom Challenge and Expedition Africa.

Courtesy: Ugene Nel, Chris Fischer, Sergio Maraschin.

Youtube video here: DIY Map Board Instruction Video

Images of Sergio Maraschin’s version for Freedom 2014 below.







Picked up this pair of odd looking Sealskinz gloves from Alex Harris yesterday and test rode them last night at Modderfontein Trials, temperature dipping to 7C (bit too warm for these so it felt like a nice oven).

In addition I’ll have a pair of First Ascent inner fleece gloves and normal long finger riding gloves. Hopefully this collection will suffice to protect my soft office keyboard conditioned paws.

6/6. Cold front is here and -6C RealFeel at 5am so time to test. Rode Sealskinz without inners (as per Alex Harris’s recommendation) and they were superb, almost too warm. Then took them off & used normal long fingers with fleece inners to get a perspective. They were fine but not as warm as the Sealskinz. Then I took all gloves off for last 2km, it was freezing! Gloves sorted, I’ll have warm hands at R2R 🙂


Two litre boxes


Race to Rhodes is an unsupported race but participants are allowed to ship a 2 liter container ahead to one of the Support Stations (5 of them between Pietermaritzburg and Rhodes). It is quite an effort to work out what nutrition will be required when and for a novice with no idea what to expect I have probably over-catered in this regard. Seasoned riders have been known to send no boxes ahead, they raid unused boxes from earlier riders which is allowed under the rules. My 5 race boxes were shipped to Cape Town by Aramex this week. The race is getting very real now!

The below images show my approach. Each container contains the following:

  • Evening food: Recovery food and spoil snacks.
  • Day food: Food for the following day while riding.
  • Maps: Maps for the following day (I almost got this wrong & added maps in wrong boxes :-))
  • Hygiene: Cleaning the body (I don’t have much of this).
  • Bike care: I have none of this, carrying what I need in the backpack. Longer distance riders often leave a spare chain at around 1000 km.

Day Food

IMG_4575 (Medium)Night FoodIMG_4573 (Medium)
Boxes PackedIMG_4576 (Medium)

Boxes Ready to ship

IMG_4579 (Medium)

Magalies Monster Race Report

– There’s good reason why its called a monster. The many jeep track climbs with loose rocks & graspolle was pretty much as hard as I had expected. Its a tough race on both body & mind.
– The reward is often as big as the challenge and it is so with the Monster. Great feeling to have finished.
– My pre-race nerves made way for intimidation when “us” 26er folk were outnumbered 10:1 by 29ers. We will soon be categorized with freaks on single speeds, fat tyres and rigid forks.
– Chilly morning but I ascribed that to my Olympic athlete body fat level of 23% .
– It appeared that I had forgotten to pack my legs. My legs died at 3km and it was a mental race from there as what must have been the complete field passed me by 20km. Lucky for me I had the strong head with me today, turns out I actually enjoyed the outing.
– Breedtsnek down is always a treat but maybe I watched my speed too much as somewhere on the way down I lost my only waterbottle.
– With only water points as alternative DOOD & cramps were inevitable (Delay Onset Of Dehydration). Fortunately the cramps held off till the last 15km with one big bite almost jerking me off the bike.
– I lost 3kg in body weight from dehydration today. Surprised how well my body coped with this given that I am normally quite a disciplined drinker & eater.
– Also great to bump into friends Sean Badenhorst & Dino Lloyd from Tread Magazine!
– Lastly as always, what a blessing to be able to ride our bikes and in such beautiful surrounds. Get on your bikes and ride!

Magalies Monster


I will be using the following 2 lights at RTR. Both great lights!

Bike light: Extreme Lights Extreme 1200 MKII Bicycle-Light. I have had the Extreme 1200 MKII for a few months already and have done many night rides on easy & rough terrain and it has performed perfectly all the time.

Head lamp: LED Lenser H7R.2. Our trusted H7R.1 had a button stop working and it was sent to LED Lenser for repair. Low and behold they replaced it under warranty with the latest H7R.2 which we received yesterday via courier. What brilliant service! LED Lenser now has a new marketing ambassador!

Combo-Offer-News2-800x289 1200-Front-Fliph7r.2

Night Riding @ Modderfontein

Familiarization with the unknown, in this instance solo riding in dark forests, high grass and rutted terrain.

Modderfontein Solo Night Ride. Strongly recommended!
– Sound of Jackal closer than Oscar’s house
– Missed many Veldmuise by millimeters
– Owls more than I could count
– Birds of the running type aplenty
– The sound of a squeaky chain amplified in the quiet night
– Blessed!



Abba Baba

This morning while out riding under the moon my shadow reminded me of African mothers who carry their babies on their backs wrapped in warm blankets. I probably look just like that with my backpack. Abba Baba.

Riding with a backpack takes some getting used to. I started off with 3kgs and have gradually increased to 7kg, which is about where I’m aiming for with a further 2-3kg on the frame.

I’ll be riding with a Wingnut Adventure bag which was a gift from a friend, Nicolaas Vlok, from the US. My favourite features are the ability to position the pack low on the back by releasing the shoulder straps, the easy separate access to the bladder and the wrap around waist belt with large storage pockets.

Wing Nut Adventure Pack
22oz, 623 grams
1600 cu in, 26.2 Liter