Lesotho Cycle Challenge Xtreme Edition - Pushing the limits…
The Lesotho High Altitude Cycle Challenge is exactly that. Intended to test a cyclist’s ability to handle extreme conditions, murderous climbs, terrifying down-hills and grueling distances on terrible roads, all at high altitude which in itself creates its own challenges such as lack of oxygen, loss of appetite, less than optimal performance and slower recovery. All this already makes this a unique event that is definitely not for the weak or the faint hearted. And then it was decided that we should push the limits even more… Presenting: The Lesotho High Altitude Cycle Challenge 2016 Xtreme Edition!
Over the last five years we have explored and conquered three different routes across Lesotho, all of which reached an altitude higher than 10 000’ with highest being just under 11 000’, with the distances cycled over three days ranging between 230km and 250km. Of the 250km challenge 128km, or 51%, was on tar road, and the 230km challenge 79km, or 34%, was on tar.
This year was a completely different animal! The 2016 route was aimed at being even more extreme, hence the name “Xtreme Edition”, and ended up with a total distance 300km of which a grand total of 8km was tar. That calculates to only 2.6%! It also peaked at 10 000’ on the second day and the total ascent was 7 500m vs the old 5 500m. The only similarity between this year and all the others was the time limit, which was still only 3 days. Truly an epic challenge that was undertaken by a few crazy cyclist…
In addition the backup team also found themselves seriously challenged. Very basic accommodation and a serious shortage of beds had people sleeping on mattresses, the cooking team was tasked with providing the bulk of the meals with minimal support from the hospitality venues and electricity was not always a guaranteed luxury. They were also on the road from 07:00 to 17:00 every day, with road conditions ranging from terrible to absolute hell, leaving very little time for them to recover and replenish their supplies between days. Having only 25 cyclists to chase instead of 40 did make the situation slightly more manageable, with the terrible roads posing much more of a challenge for the vehicles than the cyclists, but the 28 members of the back up team were definitely also challenged to their limits this year! Of course there were a few night owls amongst them, including a number of seriously crazy cyclists, choosing to deal with the pain and suffering by consuming copious amounts of alcohol during recovery time, adding a few serious hangovers to the mix on a daily basis!
And yet, somehow, it ended up being a great success once again with part of the thrill being that, as with our first year, none of us had done this specific route before so we were all in the same boat heading towards the unknown! And as always it was great team spirit and camaraderie that pulled us through!
Trollope Mining Services would once again like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person involved in this challenge for their contribution to its success. Thanks to the overwhelming response from suppliers and sponsors, for which TMS is sincerely grateful, the Company was able to raise a total amount of:
R 1 267 850.00