New Shoes and Shin Splints

Four weeks to Race to Cradock.

Cycling training has gone well, I think I’ll make Day One to Slaapkrantz. So with that settled, I’ve started paying attention to a few loose ends, ie shoes and portaging.

I’ve been through two pairs of Shimanos. The MT71’s got here by online order too small and then the MT44’s caught on the seat stay during pedal action. I have now settled on a pair of Specialized Rime Elites. Saw my friend Ernst hike these up the Magaliesberg like he was trail running. The fit is still settling but they feel fine on my feet. Holding thumbs!

The few portages I’ve done the last few weeks I realized … again … my weakness when on my feet, so this week, better late than never, the hiking started. My shins are protesting now, more so than the rest of my anatomy, which appears to be making peace with saddle time. Guess the dog is in for a treat the next fee weeks, lots of walks coming up!

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Race to Cradock is here!

First we had Freedom Challenge RASA, the Race Across South Africa, it is big, its hard core and it requires a big chunk of time to complete.

Then Ride to Rhodes was turned into a Race to Rhodes, non-stop, unsupported, RASA rules covering Days 1-6 of the Freedom Trail.

Now we have the sequel, Race to Cradock, days 7-12 of the Freedom Trail. Same as Race to Rhodes, same as RASA, just a different route. Being a Freedom Trail junkie I couldn’t resist, my entry is confirmed, we’re starting 19 March 2015. At first glance one wonders if there is risk that it may be just more of the same old. At second glance, taking into account this route covers a different region, different trails, different portages, different climate (March is the top rainfall month for the Stormberg region) and remains map & compass, Race to Cradock presents a whole new set of dynamics and challenges. Given it will be run in New Moon conditions (dark nights), new stories and legends are bound to be created and new stories and chapters of the Freedom Trail will be written.

Only 40 spots are available for the first event and with new bragging rights available, First Winner, Record Holder, One day to Romansfontein, etc, I suspect the legends of the trail will be lining up come 19 March to push heir bodies and minds, exchange strategies and execute their secret strategies to collect new accolades and make new memories.

Personally I have been considering some options to try and go a bit faster than the 6 days par, none of these are compelling to my body & mind, they all require tricky navigation to be conducted in pitch black conditions, they all require very challenging days in the saddle with difficult riding conditions. Six days seems to make the most sense and the famous hospitality along this 600km section will no doubt influence stop/go decisions. Like with RASA and R2R … Race to Cradock will be no ordinary mountain bike adventure.