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Bees, buffaloes, bears and a bike!

It was indeed a great privilege to attend the chat by Alex Harris on Tuesday evening 19 August at Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Although it was a cloudy day with some occasional rain showers, it was dry when I arrived at the venue.

With the blinds down on the big stoep area, the gas heaters on full power and excellent Waterford wines and catered eats on hand, the setting was just right.

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Alex Harris, ( for those who don’t know, is an explorer. He has climbed the seven summits, walked unsupported to the South Pole, crossed the Arabian desert unsupported and recently returned from his 15th summit of Kilimanjaro.

He is also the guy (and race director) behind the Munga, that $1million, one-stage, 1000km MTB event that will be held in December 2014.

His talk on Tuesday night however was about his preparation and experiences for and during the Freedom Challenge as well as the Tour Divide. Both of these are long distance, unsupported mountain bike events. The Freedom Challenge  is over a distance of 2300km and takes the riders from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl in South Africa.


Tour Divide takes the participants from Canada all along the USA west coast to Mexico, a distance of 4418 km.

Alex shared some great “war stories” as he calls it about sleep deprivation, climbing over electric fences, being stung 30 times by bees in the face, parting a heard of buffalo and making repairs on the fly while doing the Freedom Challenge, an event he has won twice.

The Tour Divide’s challenges include snow, bears, lack of sleep and of course, 4418 km over a period of 16 days and 2hours for the 2014 winner. Alex came 3rd in 2013 and had to bail due to major injuries in his 2014 attempt.

Hearing Alex speak served as great motivation and a reminder to me to just DO IT. ( thanks Nike)

Put your mind to something, plan, train, strategize, etc. but then do it. You may not succeed the first time ( or even after you’ve been successful a few times) but you just have to take the plunge and get on. The human is an amazing being and can accomplish far more than we ever imagined ( or were told to believe when growing up)

I am motivated and will start working on my own challenges now Alex, thanks.

See some of the tweets from the function to see what others said / thought.

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Hermanus Adventure Festival report

This just in from Paul and his team in Hermanus:

Wow!  What a day!  December will never be the same again!

Bykans 300 deelnemers van regoor Suid Afrika het op ‘n pragtige Hermanus-dag bymekaar gekom met een doel in die kop – kom geniet die uitdaging.  En Hermanus Adventures se Mean Team het weereens alle krane oopgemaak.

The 5 & 10 km Bush Trail Run was a roaring success! Some ran, others jogged, even a couple of shovellers. The course was taxing yet very enjoyable.  A couple of roadies were converted and will now infest in some serious ”off road” gear.

5km ladies were won by Tawani Naude in an impressive time of 34min 32sec. with Christell Botha and one of our sponsors Leigh Murray in hot pursuit.

5km men was led by Anton Kruger in 29min 26sec. Pieter Uys and JP Fouche covered second and third places.

In the 10km run it was our local ouckle! Alfred Tsabeni whipped the Bush Trail in 40min 45 Sec! 6 minutes later Christiaan de Villiers and Theuns Matthee crossed the line.

The 10km ladies were won by Kate Swarbreck with Ronel Marshal and Vicky Cotter shortly thereafter. Kate’s time was an impressive 48min 35sec.

The Mountain Bike rides were once again very much appreciated.  Tough, scenic, challenging, great fun. The Hemel en Aarde Valley has it all! Marshals may have been a problem on one or two occasions, we apologise to the couple of riders that got lost.  First 5 riders to send in their ”LOST” reply will get a free entry for 2011!

25km men – 1st Michael Jacka, 2nd De Villiers Britz and 3rd Charles Jenkin

25km ladies – 1st Emily Brink, 2nd Emma de Villiers and 3rd Louise Jansen

45km men – 1st Niel Bradford, 2nd Jarryd Haley and 3rd Petrus Oosthuizen

45km ladies – 1st Heidi Siebert, 2nd Ingrid Peens and 3rd Ilse Viljoen

Who could believe that there would be enough fresh water to swim in? We had a plan B to use one of the wine vats at Southern Right Vineyards but that would have been impossible to get the swimmers out of. 50 dedicated Open Water swimmers tackled the 800 & 1,600 meter courses.

1,600m men – 1st Mathew Reaper, 2nd Andrew McTavish and 3rd Hugh Basel

1,600m ladies – 1st Candice Davison and 2nd Kate Swarbreck [she also won the 10km Bush Trail Run!]

Our timing system jammed and unfortunately we can not give you the 800m results. Sorry!

100’s of participants also got stunning Spot Prizes and for that we hale our sponsors. Without their support this event would not have been a success.

Congratulations to all winners! But also to all participants, we hope you had a great time in Hermanus. Full results are posted on our

We wish all our dedicated adventurers a prosperous and injury free 2011. We will keep you posted on the next exiting Adventure Challenge early in the new year.

Paul and the Mean Team

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