So you thought that this Freedom Challenge thing was a small bunch of fringe lunatics? Well you're partly right but the scary thing is that we are adding to the ranks all the time. As of now, there are 40 finishers since inception which includes two repeat offenders.
After this year, there will be a few more.
Last night was a get together of past and future riders for a briefing on what to expect. If you pack nothing else, pack your sense of humour cos the tales of the trail are screamingly funny. But I suspect only in retrospect and with a touch of schadenfreude.
I must admit to feeling more relaxed this time around having had a taste of what to expect with last year's R2R and riding part of the trail in January. But every now and then, there is a small frisson of fear which keeps me from getting complacent.
David Waddilove was on hand to update the maps which by the way, when laid out end to end, stretched the entire length of a 30m passage! Tim James also popped in to add his value along with a bunch of others including seriously mad single speeder - Andre Britz.
But the loony award has to go to Mike Woolnough who is doing the entire ride on a tandem. His partner is nicknamed Forest for having slept out in the forests overnight on his previous attempt at the race. How do you spend 3 weeks looking at someones back - day in and day out??
Noooo! That is too scary. Imagine if they have an argument - no time out? But as they say, if they can't win the race, they might as well claim some other record.
There were also a few R2R riders who would be tackling the event for the first time and I am sure the look on their faces reflected mine a year ago...Oh my, what am I thinking.
But it was great to meet some of our fellow travellers some of whom we may see at the race and others whose paths won't cross again.
But somehow, whether you are a whip or blanket bearer, you are part of an elite rite of passage.