Freedom Challenge - the ongoing adventures of Eric the Viking

The Freedom Challenge is one of South Africa's best kept secrets. Most people haze over the moment you tell them about the distance of the race which is about 2,300kms. Most South Africans (ok, maybe Joburgers) know the distance between Joburg and Durban is 600k's. And that the distance between Joburg and Cape Town is 1,400kms.

So when you tell them the distance of the Freedom Challenge between Pietermaritzburg and Wellington (outside of Cape Town) is 2,300k's, they are enveloped by a grey mist. 
It's difficult to compute just how far that is. That's the distance between Rome, Italy, and St Petersburg, Russia. Or from Boston, USA, to Havana, Cuba.

It's far by car. On a tarred road. So you can imagine how far it is by mountain bike. Off road. Non-stop. Unassisted.

My mate Eric the Viking recently decided to hang up his trail shoes for a few months. His first action was to enter the Freedom Challenge. His next action was to buy a mountain bike. Most people do it the other way around. He starts the race on 12 June 2013 and finishes sometime in July. He has been convinced to ride the event as one of THE COWS™.

About Eric:
Eric is an artist and ultra runner residing in Noordhoek in Cape Town. He is a Kearsney College old boy, which I understand carries little clout in Cape Town. He currently sculpts from his workshop and creates a variety of awards and trophies. Although he rarely mentions this credential, he is the repeat winner of the 2009 and 2010 Tuffer Puffer 160k trail run in Cape Town. Of late he has purchased a mountain bike and decided to enter the Freedom Challenge as his first mountain bike race ever. He has since been made aware, and remains impervious, of the fact that that the race is actually 2,300km long. His intention is to finish the race in his Cow gear and in one piece.

• Here is a 12 min clip of his recent training exploits around Ladismith. 330ks over 3 days.

The picture of Eric above was taken at the top of Chapmans Peak by Di Smith ( twitter - @outthere101. Di is an artist with a gallery in Cape Town and is currently training for a monster hike from France over the Pyrenees into Spain).

"Real Freedom is having nothing. I was freer when I didn't have a cent" (Mike Tyson)

PS People can follow Eric on twitter: @redearthza

Eric sometimes write about his adventures on:
People can follow riders on twitter: @freedom_trail and at: