Read about Charles Mansfield's journey and the Rhino Challenge.


Learn about my beneficiary, their important work and how your sponsorship can make a difference.


Learn about the Freedom Challenge and the 2013 Race Across South Africa.





Sunday, 16 June 2013

Navigation nightmare in the stormberg

Hi all, apologies for not posting until now...reception issues... What can be said about today!!?? First 50km were the most difficult if ever ridden...less than10km/h average!! with over 4000m vertical ascent of which much of this saw the bike catching a lift on my shoulders! Then from the ntsikeni support station, my plan was to cover the next 100km in the afternoon and evening...NOT!!! About 10km out I took a turn too soon and ended up in completely the wrong valley. This 28km section of the route was supposed to take me about 3 hours, instead I wondered around in the pitch black wilderness for more than 6 hours. This has forced me to spend the night at an emergency stop, totally exhausted but glad to be back on the route. My intended 150km for the day only saw 80km completed. Time to stay calm, I'm sure things will improve. As for the Freedom trail, incredible scenery so far and a real privilege to be riding it. The body is screaming for me to stop with many aches developing all over...hopefully the mind can keep those voices out! Off to bed now, another early start tomorrow. Cheers, Charles

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Freedom challenge .... Eventually!

And so it started.... eventually... After all the months of training, setting up bikes and bags, shopping for the right gear, and lately serious carbo loading! When the Pietermaritzburg town hall bell chimed at 6 this morning,  the 5 riders of today's batch took off... No starting gun, no banners, no coffee cart, no ra ra girls.... Just the riders, a handful of supporters and dave... Oh and the clock...  Charles started in a batch with robbie and christo who are both first time FC riders. The nienaber brothers also started with them on a tandem - that should be fun to watch... Especially when they have to carry the bike in some areas... The 2 other riders with them is stopping in Rhodes. 
The general consensus is that the winner of this year might come out of this batch of riders, but it's still very early days ... And there is a cold front coming.... :) 

Charles getting ready to start....

Today's batch of riders outside town hall this morning, waiting for the bell.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The night before

I can't believe we are here! Tomorrow these wheels start turning...

Friday, 31 May 2013

Freedom Challenge 2013 rig

Finally completed my Freedom Challenge rig. This is the machine and back pack that will hopefully be carrying me over 2350km from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl. Total bike weight including full water bottles, fully packed saddle bad and top tube pouch is 15 kilos. Complete back pack and map pouch including 2,5 litres of water inside comes to 9 kilos. Two weeks to launch date, the butterfly's inside have grown into the size of rock pigeons and have totally lost formation, charging around inside me like a bunch of deranged bats. I need this thing to come now.....

Friday, 17 May 2013

Freedom Challenge food preparations...

So the days are getting less and the support boxes needs to be packed. Fruit cake baked and ready for cutting and wrapping.... The big question is... To brandy or not to brandy??

Friday, 19 April 2013

testing testing 123...

Today the eastern freestate has thrown its best at me with pouring rain, deep slimy slippery mud, howling wind and icy single digit temperature....perfect chance to put some of my Freedom Challenge gear to the test....outcome...great success! Even although I only spent 3 hours out there, I got back home nice'n dry & cozy. Yes the Freedom trail will definitely throw much more at me, but with just the few items I was wearing, nice to know that I'm on the right track. Roll on June 15!!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Freedom Challenge taster

Found this on Glenn Harrison's blogspot. Some interesting facts comparing Freedom Challenge to other well known biking events. Read these and shed a little tear for me....

Riding 2300k’s in 26 days sounds quite achievable to your average road cyclist but to ride / hike-a-bike, this distance on footpaths, tracks and trails in the middle of winter whilst climbing a cumulative altitude of 47000 metres is a remarkable accomplishment and one realized by the 28 riders who competed in the 2010 Freedom Challenge Race across South Africa. Only 16 finished!

                        Freedom Challenge   Tour de France    Cape Epic

Distance                 2300km                  3600km            650-1000km

Vertical Ascent       47km                      25km*               14-18km

Tar                         <100km                  3600km                ?

Gates                     >100                          0                        0

*Only includes all the category climbs