Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Race to Rhodes! What's that?

How does Race to Rhodes work? That's an interesting question as it is a race like no other. In the inaugural event last year Glenn Harrison was the fastest Race to Rhodes rider but he came third as I recall.
Backing up I step I must explain that the race has 9 or 10 start dates. This year the first batch of 8-10 riders sets off on the 8th June and the process is repeated every day for the next 8 or 9 days. Admittedly I am a bit low on the facts. At least I know my start date - 13th June, I think! Each day there is a mix of riders heading for Rhodes and Cape Town. The person winning the Race to Rhodes is the person who completes the race in the shortest time from when they set off from Pietermaritzburg town hall and arrive in the hamlet of Rhodes. If your start day is early on you could well be done with your ride and be sitting back at home in Joburg as the provisional winner waiting to see if your excitement is justified or short-lived.
There are those who think the Race to Rhodes (R2R) should be a separate event and not include the Race Across South Africa (RASA) entrants. I am happy for all riders to be thrown into the mix. Look at it this way - everyone is racing to Rhodes and then some are continuing on to race to Cape Town.
Back to Glenn winning but coming third. Glenn raced to Rhodes and as such kitted himself out for the 3 days it took him to get there. You can ride with a lot less for 3 days. In theory you could ride with little more than a Camelbak weighing 2 or 3 kg's. A RASA rider is unlikely to get away with under 6 kg's with the average rider toting a pack of 7-9 kg's. If someone laden like that heading to Cape Town can beat me to Rhodes when I am riding with a light weight day pack and throwing everything in to a 3 day effort then by all means give them the credit and bragging rights for getting to Rhodes first. And that's exactly what happened to Glenn. Last year Cape Town bound riders got to Rhodes faster than he did and was was happy enough to concede that he was beaten.

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