Monday, December 14, 2009

SUNDAY 20 DECEMBER 2009: ANNUAL acsis VOB NOORDHOEK PEAK RUN

NOORDHOEK PEAK RUN - SUNDAY 20 DECEMBER 2009

See details below.

Seamus has asked that anyone planning to attend the run, please RSVP to him (082 449 7314 or sdaly@mweb.co.za) for two reasons:
  1. He stashes water and cooldrink up in Silvermine the night before as most roadies don't know about hydration packs and carrying your own water. He needs to know how many he is providing for. But this is also a chance for the hard-core trail runners to relax and leave your water bottles behind, knowing that you will have a drink on the way up Noordhoek Peak.
  2. For those who wish to go to Seamus' house afterwards for a breakfast, he needs to cater for numbers.
  3. HOWEVER: if you find that you never RSVP'ed and you still want to do the run, that isn't a problem. Just remember that you will need to carry your own water on the the day.



I quote from Seamus' email:


"Our 10th, and what will sadly (for us) be our last, Noordhoek Peak run will be on Sunday 20th December, starting from 5 Wanderers Close, Constantia Hills at 06,00. (Wanderers Close is the last road to the right off Welgelee Rd).
The run will follow the usual format, with those, like me, who want a shorter run, or who feel (know) that they won't keep up with the quicker runners, starting from the top of Zwaanswyk Road (which is at Level 2). We can still all meet at 06,00 then drive to Zwaanswyk, (or you can go directly to Zwaanswyk if you prefer) where we will then be in time to meet the group coming up from the Arboretum. This option should take about 45 mins off the total running time.
There are number of shortcuts on the route - see below and the map attached (I've been reading too many of Tim's e-mails) - so the run will suit most running speeds, and hopefully we will all arrive at the drinks stop more or less together. (Possibly the faster guys could leave at 06,15 to balance things out a bit).
I am happy to report that the original route from level 5 to the saddle has been cleared and re-instated and is once again runnable, so we will revert to that, and avoid the final assault up the Elephants Eye/Lookout footpath.


The Standard Route


From home to the Arboretum via the Stone Church and Chrysalis Academy.
Through the thatched entrance to the Arboretum.
Follow the Elephants Eye path (keep right) until you reach the gate.
Turn right onto the forestry road and follow it past the big gum tree in the middle of the road - ignoring Levels 1 and 1,5 on your right, take the hairpin left, and follow the road until you reach the 4-way intersection at Level 2
Take the uppermost road to the right for about 200m (we should be waiting for you here) then turn up the Elephants Eye path to Level 3
Turn left along Level 3 and cross the stream at the Redwoods.
Turn right up the hill and follow this road all the way to Level 5, turning left at Level 4 along the way - you can't go wrong - you will always be going UP!
At Level 5 go left for a couple of metres and turn up the footpath to the saddle where the drinks will be stashed. From there follow the concrete road to the Peak.
The return route is just the reverse. When you get to level 3 turn left for about 3 mins then go down the footpath and the rest you know.


Shortcuts


From Level 2 where the Zwaanswyk misfits will be waiting, follow the Elephants Eye path to Level 3 (see the dotted line on the map) and then to Level 4 or Level 5 as you wish. Whatever you decide, when you reach the level you have chosen, (they are all signposted) then turn left. Left at Level 4 will leave you with some steep uphill running still to come, while left at Level 5 will be a flat run to the point where we all go up the footpath to the saddle. (don't follow the Elephants Eye path above Level 5)."


I hope to see lots of you there on Sunday. For the record, I will be starting from the top of Swaanswyk Road i.e. directly into the forest. So if anybody wants to do the same and is still unsure of how to find the start then drop me a mail and I will give the description.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER 2009: KLOOF NEK/DIAGONAL ROUTE/CORRIDOR RAVINE/PIPE TRACK

The Route

I am going to try something slightly different this week. I have been keen on trying it for some time now. It could be great fun as long as one knows beforehand what we are attempting. We will run a short section of the Pipe Track above Camps Bay as a warm up. Then shortly after the Blinkwater Ravine path we will turn up (left) onto the Diagonal Route path and climb this stunning route to the top of the mountain around the Valley of the Red Gods. This is basically a hike with not much running involved. Its not a difficult climb and there is no scrambling involved. Its quite steep in places but NOT DANGEROUS at all. Once at the top there is some technical downhill stuff as we head down the path to the top of Kasteelspoort. We continue along the path at the top (NOT down Kasteelspoort) through Woody and Slangolie Ravines and then turn down Corridor Ravine. We will then follow the Pipe Track back to Kloof Nek.

Short Route runners can do a nice gentle out and back along the Pipe Track (10km) or follow us to the top and come down Kasteelpoort if you want something a bit more hectic.


Start Place

Kloof Nek car park, at the SANParks kiosk.


Start Time

Ready to run at 06h00 to beat the heat.


Distance

Long Route is probably 15km at MOST but tough.

Short Route is 10km of easy running.


Running Time

Oyoyoyoyoy!

Long Route: 2,5 hours

Short Route: 90 minutes


Difficulty

Long Route is going to be pretty tough. The first km or so is easy running and a nice warm up. The ascent of Diagonal Route is a walk. The path along the top is technical running at about 60% runnable. It starts off more technical and gradually becomes easier. The descent of Corridor is actually quite runnable if you are careful but the surface is quite loose in places. Please try and minimise your impact on the path and try and stick to the more solid surfaces to help prevent degradation of the path. The Pipe Track is very runnable although the section between Corridor and Slangolie Ravines is fairly narrow and tricky to run on in places. But after the descent through the trees into Slangolie the running becomes much easier and the last section is just over 5kms of nice easy running in along the Pipe Track.

Short route: Easy running. 99% Runnable.


Comments
  1. There will be compulsory regroups at the bottom of Diagonal Route and the top of Diagonal Route on the way out. After that, go mad.
  2. Don't rely on there being water on the mountain. Please bring water (Sandra).
  3. Long route runners, an energy snack is advisable to beat the low blood sugar level spins.
  4. Please try and carry a phone on this one.
  5. The usual snake alert applies.
  6. Sign the register before starting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2009 - TOKAI FOREST FROM THE ARBORETUM

SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2009 - TOKAI FOREST FROM THE ARBORETUM


The Route

We start in the Car Park which is normally thick with mountain bikers. We will head up the gravel road in the direction of Constantia Nek. Most of you will be familiar with this gravel road as it is the main track up into the forest. After about 1 km of gentle climbing (yes it is gentle, it just feels ugly when you're on a mountain bike) we will take the first road to the right and work our way over to the bottom of the switchbacks. We will climb the switchbacks and rejoin gravel road at the Vlakkenberg Nek.

At the point, the Short Short route can follow the road down to the car park.

The Ordinary Short Route will climb the section of tarred road that leads to the contour path (off to the left of the road) across the Constantia Face of Constantiaberg until it joins gravel road again, then climb the path off to the right (carefully avoiding the BLISTER BUSH) to the slightly higher contour path and follow this until it joins up with the Elephants Eye path. Descend the Elephants Eye path back to the car park.

The Long Route will climb the tar road to the point where the path to the Manganese Mines and Blackburn Ravine appears to the right of the road. Follow this path past the Manganese Mines and once you have started the steep part of the descent to Balckburn Ravine, look out for the path to the left that leads into the upper part of the ravine. Take this path and then join the main Blackburn path to the top of the ravine (the wooden platform). From here you follow the "stone highway" back towards Silvermine until you reach the gravel jeep track. Turn left (downwards) until you reach the sign on the left indicating the Elephants Eye path. Take this path and follow it all the way back down to the car park at the Arboretum.


Start Place

The Arboretum / Mountain Bikers Car Park in Tokai Forest. If you are on the M3 coming from Newlands then take the Tokai Road Exit (which is the last exit before you get to the end of of the M3. Turn right into Tokai Road and follow it all the way up to the traffic circle. Go straight across. Steenberg Golf Course is now on your left and Forest Glade Housing complex on your right. DO NOT take Zwaanswyk Road which goes off to your left. Keep going straight and the road narrows considerably. At the T-junction at the Tokai Manor House turn left and follow the gravel road into the car park. That's where we start.


Start Time

Ready to run by 06h00. Don't moan. It gets hot early. And I have to drive in from Milnerton.


Distance

Short Short Route: About 6km

Short Route: About 10 - 12km

Long Route: About 20km


Running Time

Who the h*ll knows ? My best guesses:

Short Short Route: About 1 hour

Short Route: About 1 1/2 hours (maybe 2 if you do the section up to the higher contour path)

Long Route: At least 2 1/2 hours (still quite a big climb in Blackburn Ravine).


Note
Please carry your own water, wind-breaker / waterproof jacket, whistle, energy snacks for Long Route.
  • Watch your footing, particularly on the forestry roads. We have more falls on these roads than anywhere else as runners get complacent. Notably me. I was the first one in the group to take a dive on these roads. If you fall, try not to fall on your face. It freaks everyone out.
  • In Tokai Forest, please be VERY aware of the mountain bikers. Most of them are very friendly but we have encountered some real pieces of work in the past. Remember that we are far better placed to get out of the way. We are travelling at slower speeds, we can hear them long before they are aware of us and we can go places that they can't. And generally we have better dispositions than they do. Jokes......I am having a go at the MTB'ers in our midst.
  • In particular, when we are climbing the switchbacks, give way to the mountain bikers. They spend a lot of money each year maintaining this track and they really do have right of way here. We haven't had problems before though.
  • Be very nice to any SANParks Rangers you may see out there. They might be Leighan Mossop, Hennie Delport or Chris Botes and we are being very nice to them. We are proving that trail runners are environmentally friendly and careful about our impact on the area.
  • Keep an eye out for snakes, as usual.
  • Sun block.
  • Please sign the register anyway as we need to know who is still out there on the mountain.
  • See you tomorrow.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    WEEKEND 28 / 29 NOVEMBER 2009: SURFERS CHALLENGE

    acsis VOB Wednesday Informal Run

    This week our Wednesday informal run will be replaced by the Neil Joubert Plaaswedloop 13km. It takes place on one of the Neil Joubert farms (Klein Simondium, I think) which nestles right up against the Klein Drakenstein mountain, just off to the right of the N1 on your way to Paarl. As I have said before, this race really is one of the brightest gems on the WPA race calendar. Do yourself a serious favour and gather some mates, take a picnic and some blankets, grab your club running kit or run under a temporary licence in ordinary trail gear (because this is an official WPA race) and head out there. Not often will you find a race with such a stunning setting and awesome atmosphere. Its all on farm road (no single track) but you are running through vineyards and pine forest and be prepared for the infamous "moerse bult" with its humorous advice placards on the way up.

    The only downsides to this race are:

    It's a fairly early start (18h00, I think) so you have to leave work early to get through the race traffic, in time to find parking and register. All a bit of a rush but well worth it.
    You need to nominate a driver who will stay sober as you are going to want to linger on the farm house lawns and drink loads of the Neil Joubert wine that will be on sale. You are not going to want to leave.
    I don't have a race flyer handy so I appeal to anyone who has one to send it to me and I will email it out tomorrow and thereby be able to confirm all of the details and give proper directions to the start. There is probably one on the WPA website but I don't have access to it from work.


    acsis VOB Weekend Run

    I am not available to take a Saturday run this coming weekend as I will be attending the opening ceremony for the upgraded paths on Devils Peak. As mentioned before, acsis VOB donated about R20,000 towards the upgrading which consisted of the funds raised in the acsis VOB Table Mountain 16km race for 2007 and 2008.

    Then on Sunday there is the annual Surfers Challenge (see flyer attached) from Long Beach, Kommetjie all along the beach to the car park at Noordhoek (base of Chapmans Peak) and back. Its about 12km and you will be racing the surf-skiers. This will be our official run for the weekend so email me if you run it (AFTER YOU HAVE RUN) and I will tick your name off for an attendance to count towards the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw.

    I know this race is a little short for a weekend run but you can make up for it by gunning it as fast as you can. Treat it as a speedwork session.

    The good news is that the race starts at 09h00 and low tide is just before 07h00 so hopefully the going should be a bit easier than last year. In addition, we will only be a couple of days off full moon so hopefully it will be a decent (near) spring-low-tide. However, I have been known to be wrong...............occasionally.

    If any of the regulars would like to organise a Saturday run I would be happy to tick off names on the register for the Lucky Draw for that run too.

    Have a great week Everyone.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    SATURDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2009 - CONSTANTIA NEK - DAMS - SKELETON GORGE

    The Route

    We will start at Constantia Nek and follow the Bridle Path (gravel forestry road) up towards the dams on top of the mountain. We will stay on the road until Eagles Nest. At that point we will cut up onto the single track between two big zig-zags in the road which we rejoin at the turn which takes us up the last bit of steep concrete road ascent to the top of the Back Table. At the top we will pass the De Villiers Dam on the left and then the old Ranger's House which is now a Hoerikwaggo Trail Hut on the right.

    Shortly after this house, the short route runners will take a path off to the right which crosses the top of Nursery Ravine and gets to the top of Skeleton Gorge. They descend Skeleton Gorge to the contour path, turn right and follow it back to Constantia Nek.

    Long Route runners will not turn right onto this path but will stay on the road, passing the Alexandra and Victoria Dams which are off to the right and will finally come to the Woodhead Dam. We cross the wall of the dam and then turn right, climbing above Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson Dams and then pass to the left of Junction Peak to the intersection with Smuts Track. Turn right onto Smuts Track and left into Skeleton Gorge. Descend Skeleton Gorge to the contour path, turn right and follow it back to Constantia Nek.


    Start Place

    Constantia Nek car park


    Start Time

    06h15 to sign register.

    06h30 ready to run.


    Distance

    This is a complete guess at around 15km for the long route (possibly a bit longer) and about 10km for the short. Now as will be noted from my run last weekend, I get the distances wrong even when I have done the run before, so don't hold me to this. But I will have my trusty GPS with me and will verify the distances next Monday.


    Time

    Another complete stab in the dark (which should also serve as a warning to those who mock my guess-work) , but I would allow at least 2 1/2 hours for the long route. This is quite tough going. I assume the short route runners will be running slower so allow 2 hours for the short route. There may be quite some walking involved.


    Difficulty

    I anticipate that this will be a reasonably tough run. The first section to the top of the Back Table i.e. to the Hoerikwaggo Hut is serious uphill (you are ascending a mountain, after all) but is not technically difficult at all. Its all road and easy track but it is UP !

    From the Hoerikwaggo Hut the short route is undulating fairly rocky, undulating single track to Skeleton Gorge, technical downhill in the Gorge and then easy single track and gravel road once you hit the contour path.

    The long route has some flat easy, concrete road to the Woodhead Dam, technical, rocky single track all the way up to Smuts Track and then down to the top of Skeleton Gorge and then joins up with the short route above.


    Other Points to Note
    1. I would advise that everyone carries their own water. Whilst there will probably still be lots of mountain water around, this is quite a heavily hiked area. This means that the streams might carry bladder-induced "nasties" but you are always welcome to take your chances if you don't like carrying water.
    2. Please watch the weather forecast and dress according to the probable weather conditions. We will be running on top of the mountain and I strongly advise that you carry a light-weight, waterproof top at all times. It gets windy and cold up there, regardless of what the conditions are like at the bottom of the mountain.
    3. Carry a fully charged cell phone with my cell number programmed in (0823210299).
    4. Carry a whistle. If you don't know what this is for, wait until you get lost and I assure you that you will find a use for it, especially when you discover you are out of cell phone reception range.
    5. Please sign in on the register before setting out.
    6. Watch out for snakes in the path, especially on the single track. A tip I was given by climbers on Table Mountain and surrounds is that when you are using your hands to leverage up or down rocky areas, check the rock ledges before putting your hands onto them. Rock ledges are a favourite place for Berg Adders to sun themselves. I believe you don't want to be bitten by one of those.
    7. Have fun - no moaning about the uphills. We will be doing far worse runs than this.
    8. Please be extra careful on the descent of Skeleton Gorge. Footing can be a little tricky in some parts.

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2009 - SILVERMINE EAST

    SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2009 - SILVERMINE EAST


    The Route

    We will start at the Silvermine East car park. This is the area to the left (Kalk Bay side) of Ou Kaapseweg if you ascend from the Tokai side of the mountain. We will head down the gravel road towards Kalk Bay and then branch off right onto the contour path which is run on The Homestead Summer Trail Series race. This path does a loop around to the right and then bends around to the left. If memory serves me correctly we can work our way around this to eventually end up in the Amphitheatre. We then descend Echo Valley to Weary Willy's Wait which we then exit towards Muizenberg and start climbing again. We will ascend either the Spes Bona Valley or the next one along (the one used by the Old Fisherman's Trail up-run). Once we hit the top again we will branch off to the right again and follow a combo of gravel road and single track in an anti-clockwise loop (normally used on Race 1 of the Summer Trail Series) which brings us back to the car park.


    Start Place

    Silvermine East Car Park


    Start Time

    07h15 (Silvermine only opens at 07h00)


    Distance

    Good question. I am aiming at between 15 and 20km but can put together shorter route on demand on the day.


    Running Time

    Allow about 2 1/2 hours at least for the full run. Obviously, if you elect to take the short cuts, this will decrease your time proportionately.


    Difficulty

    This is a run with a lovely mixture of trail types ranging from intermediate to relatively easy. Jeep track, single track, board walk, short sharp uphills and nice little technical downhills where you can practice your skills and develop your downhill confidence. Conservatively, I am going to go with about 75% runnable. One could probably run more of it but based on my performance last weekend, I know I will walk at least 1/4 of it.


    Notes and Requirements
    1. After these rains there should be lots of drinkable water around on the mountain. If you are not comfortable drinking out of mountain streams, please carry your own water (and learn to toughen up a bit).
    2. Watch the weather reports and dress accordingly. The weather has been unpredictable so I would recommend that regardless of the forecast, always have a few bare essentials. Please read the requirements on the Trail Page of the acsis VOB website ( www.vob.co.za ).
    3. The entry fee for Silvermine has changed fairly recently and I am not sure what the entry fee is for Silvermine East. I will confirm before the end of the week. But may I suggest the you have at least R30 available for entry fees and tips for the car guards.
    4. Carry your Wild Card if you have one. All trail runners really should buy one and keep it on them when they run.
    5. If you are a slower runner then you need to be prepared for a "Follow the Arrows" run. This method is more fully described on the VOB website but essentially it means that, if you are behind me, I am not going to wait at every intersection. Whenever you come to a split in the paths, look carefully on the ground for arrows scratched in the sand or created out of sticks/stones etc. The nature of this run dictates that I also need to stay in touch with the faster runners so I am partially abandoning you this week. This is quite a confusing area to run because there are lots of paths. So, faster runners, if you don't know the route, then you will need to regroup from time to time and wait for me to catch up. I won't be THAT far behind.


      That's it until tomorrow.

      Have a great week Everyone.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER 2009: TOKAI FOREST RAMBLE

    TOKAI FOREST RAMBLE

    The Route

    To be perfectly honest, this could well change change but I am proposing the following as the preliminary plan. I say it could change because it will depend on the weather and also how many mountain bikers are out and about. Lets face it, they are more limited as to where they can ride and I don't want to annoy them unduly by infringing too much on their space. Having said that, we're going to do it anyway, just a little bit, but we need to respect their bit o' turf.

    We will start at the Arboretum and head up to the left and cross the stream and start climbing the hill that you ascend on the Manor House Run in December. I'm not sure if its done on the Acustat Tokai Forest Trail Race (end of Oct) but its good practice. We will climb to Level 4 and then start running along Level 4 towards Constantia Nek. We will dive down the first piece of single track to Level 3, follow Level 3 for a while and then down more single track onto Level 2. We will then cross the main access gravel road (jeep track) and work our way over to the switchbacks. At an opportune moment (when there are no mtb's on the switchbacks) we will dash up them and make our way over to the Puffer path that we did last week but we will do it in the other direction; the first section anyway. From there we will wind our way back down to the Arboretum using jeep track and single track in order to make up a total distance of 15km.


    Start Place

    The Arboretum car park. Tokai Forest. Drop me a mail if you are unsure where this is.


    Start Time

    06h30 ready to run.


    Distance

    Long Route: 15km
    Short Route: 10km


    Estimated Time

    2 hours. I don't know why I bother; no-one believes me anyway.


    How Tough

    Relatively easy stuff - 90% runnable.


    Notes:
    1. Please carry your own water. Whilst the stream water may be fine higher up the mountain, I wouldn't recommend it this low down.
    2. Remember to watch the weather report and dress appropriately according to the weather. I will do a weather check on Friday.
    3. Remember that this is mountain biking country. Please be courteous. Be very aware of the presence of the bikers and leap out of the way if you hear them coming. It is easier for us to avoid them than the other way round. This is especially true on the single track sections.
    4. Its also time to start thinking about the sun block again.
    5. Re-read the acsis VOB Trail Running operational guidelines. I know I am taking a solid mocking about how long it is but its good reading. You'll love it. I have attached it again.
      I have also attached the Trail Running Tips document. Please feel free to contribute to it by emailing me your tips.
    6. I will do a better effort of remembering to do the New Balance Trail Shoes Lucky Draw this week. My humble apologies to you and our sponsor for this omission last week.
    7. Do not mess with the baboons. You will lose, for sure.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2009 - SILVERMINE / PUFFER TOKAI TRAVERSE / BLACKBURN RAVINE

    THE ROUTE - SILVERMINE / PUFFER TOKAI TRAVERSE / BLACKBURN RAVINE

    We are going to start at the Silvermine Dam (the main dam in the West Silvermine Reserve). The first part of the run many of you will be familiar with now as we run down the tar road towards the gate but turn left along the mountain biking jeep track onto the Level 5 road in Tokai Forest. This is a nice easy section to start on and get the legs nicely warmed up. Ignore the first path up to your left and also the road that drops down sharply to the right. Shortly thereafter, keep and eye out for the the Elephant's Eye path on the left. We will turn left (up) onto it and follow it to the first split in the path where we will turn right onto the contour path which we will follow all the way across the Constantia face of Constantiaberg (part of the Puffer route) to the tar road at Vlakkenberg which leads up to Mast. At one point we will drop back down onto Level 5 but when this happens, turn left and follow the road until it becomes a path again. Where it turns to path, there is a small intersection. Don't go right and downwards but keep going straight and flat. Eventually we will start to climb some steps and then come out on the tar road that leads up to the Mast on Constantiaberg. We will start climbing the tar road but once we reach the Nek between the two mountains (Constantiaberg and Vlakkenberg) we will start the descent into Hout Bay via the path (to the right of the tar road) that is used in Leg 3 of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge. The path is quite clearly visible off to the right just after the road takes a noticeable swing to the left towards Constantiaberg. We descend along some fantastic single track and pass the Manganese Mine before starting to drop down quite steeply towards Hout Bay (Blackburn Ravine). But this is where we start looking out for the well marked path off to the left. We will follow this path to the left and around into Blackburn Ravine, about 1/2 way up where we join the main path up the ravine from East Fort. We now climb all the way up to the wooden platform/lookout deck at the top. As most of you will know by now, its a steep climb but there are short sections of the climb that are runnable. From the top of the ravine we follow a level path eastwards to the ring road in Silvermine. We turn left onto the ring road and start the descent to the Dam via the zig-zags. But remember to ignore a road that comes in from the left. This soon becomes a path that leads to the Rangers Fire Watch Hut. At the bottom of the hill just past the zig-zags the road splits. Take the right hand fork and then follow the road which then swings off left, past a toilet block and into the car park where we started.

    START TIME

    07h15 since the reserve gates only open at 07h00.

    START PLACE The Car Park at the Silvermine Dam.


    DISTANCE

    About 17,5km (as per Garmin 305 from our last trip here in May).

    There is no Official Short Route but I do have an excellent, easy(ish) route in mind if anyone is keen - +- 10km. We can agree this at the start though.


    ESTIMATED TIME

    You can count on AT LEAST 2 hours, depending on how much you walk. 2 1/2 hours to be safe and allow for regroups and rests.


    EXERTION

    In general - Easy all the way from the start to the final climb up Blackburn Ravine it is easy stuff and I would say it is 90% runnable.

    Blackburn Ravine is murderous if you try and run it but bear in mind that it is actually relatively easy to hike. Little children hike it with ease. So consider it 5% runnable.

    Top of Blackburn to the Dam - easy 100% runnable.


    GENERAL COMMENTS
    1. Please bring water for this run; enough to see you back up Blackburn Ravine; although there will probably be water on the mountain.
    2. Please dress appropriately; according to the weather conditions. If in any doubt as to what to wear, please email me.
    3. Bring R25 for entrance to Silvermine or a Wild Card. I strongly encourage ALL trail runners to invest in a Wild Card and keep it on you for the runs. Please also bring a generous tip for the car guard at the Dam. He sells "peace of mind" while we enjoy our run.
    4. Please watch out for mountain bikers on Level 5 near the beginning and on the ring road towards the end. They are equally entitled to be there and we are in a better position to avoid any clashes.
    5. Please be courteous to other Park users and hikers. Again, the Park is for their use too.
    6. Please be very careful of the impact you have on the environment, especially once we are onto the single track sections. This is an environmentally sensitive area and we need to preserve this beauty and biodiversity. Definitely no littering or straying from the official paths, PLEASE.
    7. We will have the draw for the New Balance Trail Shoes just before the start. Once again, thanks to New Balance for this very generous sponsorship. One day maybe Katharine Tromp will actually come to one of the runs..............


    Have a great week Everyone.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    THE SILVERTREE TRAIL - PLUMPUDDING HILL COMBO

    The Route

    Margaret Moller has very kindly offered to lead a run this coming Saturday which is a combination of two of the runs usually done by the Celtic Harriers Trail Running Group on Thursday evenings. Each loop is about 10km and the end of each loop goes through the starting point of the run so its also ideal for those who want to do a shorter (10km run) as they can finish after the first loop. The start point is the Newlands Forestry Station car park on Union Avenue (M3) i.e. where the Volunteer Wildfire Services office and helipad is (between UCT and the Rhodes Drive turn-off to Kirstenbosch). The one loop heads out to Plumpudding Hill above Rhodes Memorial and back; the other loop heads out towards Kirstenbosch and back.

    It really is a beautiful run. Most of it is on good solid gravel road / jeep track with little bits of single track in between. But don't be fooled; there are some nice challenging hills on the route. You also have a great combo of pine forest, indigenous forest and fynbos. And if Fay Linder is there, take a few moments to educate yourself as she is a wealth of knowledge on the fynbos.

    Starting Place

    Newlands Forestry Station car park as described above.

    Starting Time

    07h00

    Distance

    Long Route: +- 20km

    Short Route: +- 10km

    Estimated Time Out There

    Well that really does depend on how fast you run, doesn't it ?

    Okay, I am going with:

    Long Route: About 2h 30 min

    Short Route: About 75 - 90 min

    Exertion

    I would go with 95% runnable. Off the top of my head I can only recall one section of steps on the Silvertree Trail loop which my legs refuse to run up. But there are some other hills which make great walking even though they are runnable (in theory). Try running them and resting at the top though.

    Other Comments:
    1. I would recommend carrying your own water. Even though there is likely to be quite a bit of water on the mountain, you are below the contour path and in a frequently used hiking area. Hikers (and runners) get calls of nature which cannot be ignored and who knows who has been doing what near a watercourse higher up. So unless you want to lose lots of weight really fast, carry your own water.
    2. Dress appropriately according to the weather conditions. Please don't make me explain this. Read the Trail Running Tips on the acsis VOB website (Trail Running page) as well as the tips on the CRAG emails and the Patrick Cox's (Celtic Trail Running) emails.
    3. Please make sure you record your name with Margaret at the start. This is for safety reasons as well as for the lucky draw for the New Balance Trail Running shoes.
    4. Please stay with the group. You are running in an area where there have been "incidents" in the past. For example, if you REALLY have to take or make a cell phone call, please let Margaret know and make a very quick call when you all stop for a rest, or ask a couple of people to wait with you if they don't mind doing so. But please try and avoid making calls as you are out there to enjoy the peace of the trails and the company of the others in the group.
    5. Also, if you are battling to keep up, don't be a hero and kill yourself. You're supposed to be enjoying it. But let Margaret know so that a plan can be made to have some fellow runners accompany you in a slower group.
    6. Please be very aware of the environment you are running in and try and have the minimum impact on it. The "not rocket-science" rules apply.


    Have a fantastic weekend Everyone and good luck to anyone who is running the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE

    I trust everyone had a good weekend. I don't think we lost anyone on The Whale Run yesterday but it was a close call at times. One hapless soul was found off-course, wandering down Red Hill after missing the turn to Dido Valley, and was rescued by Whale Run founder and Guardian Angel, Seamus Daly. Thank you Seamus. We certainly hope to be seeing more of you on the trail runs and at the club in future. You have been way too scarce and have been missed.

    The route was definitely more confusing than I remembered. And "possibly", there was more soft, white sand than I remember there being too. Anyway, the spectacular views more than made up for the the soft sand.

    Now it appears that we are coming up to a very busy part of the WPA Road Running season and I'm afraid that this is going to impact on our trail running to a small extent. The result is that between now and the end of October I am only available to take two weekend runs. I am hoping that perhaps some of the regulars might be keen to take small runs on the weekends in my absence but this is not guaranteed and I will circulate the details at a later stage as and when they become clearer.

    So what appears below is the Provisional Program from now until the end of October 2009:


    SATURDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2009

    AS YET - we have no run planned. I know I promised the big, bad Gary Banfield special this weekend but we are going to have a rain-check on this. The reason is that I had forgotten that the Cape Town Marathon is scheduled for Sunday 27 September 2009 and many people will be running this as an early qualifier for 2 Oceans in 2010. NOW, I'm not saying I am and I'm not saying I'm not running it..........bearing in mind my habit of having a last minute "change of plan". Even so, it would still be a bad idea for me to run on Saturday...........

    So I am looking for someone to take an informal run on the Saturday. If anyone is keen then I am more than happy to work out a route with them and circluate the details.

    And because this would have been the last chance to qualify for the lucky draw for the New Balance Trail Shoes, the requirements for the draw will be dropped to 6 attendances instead of 7.


    SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2009

    Again, AS YET - we have no run planned. This is the weekend of The Voet van Afrika Marathon / 1/2 Marathon / 10km in Bredasdorp. I will be up there for that whole doing a charity raising run so won't be around for that weekend. The same applies for the above for anyone able to help out and organise a replacement run.

    Don't think this is easy for me. Being a mild, self-confessed control freak I am getting panicky about this already and suffering withdrawal symptoms.



    SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER 2009

    I WILL be here for this one and plan to do about a 15 - 20km run (with short route option of about 10km) in Silvermine West, starting and finishing at the Dam car park. I know The Gun Run will be the following day and this will impact on our numbers but for those who prefer the trails, come with me instead.



    SATURDAY 17 OCTOBER 2009

    I will be overseas for this weekend and am looking for a replacement to do a run for this weekend as above.



    SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER 2009

    The official run for this weekend will be the Constantia Valley Grape Run. This is an official WPA 1/2 Marathon (so official club colours or temporary licence will be required). But this is a spectacular race with loads of off-road and a few challenging hills. Be warned that I will be marshalling in this race so you can expect volleys of abuse as you come by.



    By November, life starts becoming a little more normal again and I should be around more consistently.


    Have a wonderful shorter weekend Everyone.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    PIPETRACK AND ANNUAL WHALE RUN

    WEDNESDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2009: CAMPS BAY PIPE TRACK

    For this week's informal Wednesday run we will do a relatively flat and easy out and back (more or less) along the Pipe Track from Kloof Nek carpark. It will be about 10km. Starting time: 17h15 (at the latest but we can aim for 17h00) at Kloof Nek.


    SUNDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2009: THE ANNUAL acsis VOB WHALE RUN

    Please note that we are changing to a Sunday run this week so that we can fit in with our other club colleagues for the annual acsis VOB Whale Run. This run is still open to anybody though. Its not a race, its just one of our customary fun events. It is about a 50:50 road, trail split so will be a little easier on the legs for those who ran the full TMC.


    The Route

    Start at Dixie's Restaurant on the Main Road in Glencairn and run along the road towards Fish Hoek but turn left onto the Glencairn Expressway (Black Hill) and then run up to the top of the hill. At the top we turn left into the mountains and follow the winding sandy paths over to the dams near the Red Hill road. If its nice weather, as it promises to be, we can stop for a swim in one of the dams. We continue on the trail over to the Red Hill Road and then make our way down Red Hill and back to Dixies for a chilled out breakfast (not compulsory) and watch the whales in the bay (hopefully). This is not a route we run often (once a year, really) so come along and check it out, have some fun and have a real workout.

    For the faster runners, Roger Dickson will be taking a faster group. Good luck with that. I (or a suitable other) will take an intermediate group and we will see what the demand is for a slower group.


    Start Place

    Dixie's Restaurant, Main Road, Glencairn - overlooking Simonstown Bay. Seriously, you can't miss it.


    Start Time

    06h30


    Distance

    Long Route: 22km

    Short Route: 10km. For this, join us at the top of Black Hill at about 07h00 and do an out and back run to the dams (100% trail).


    Estimated Time Out There in the Mountains

    Faster Group: 2 1/2 hours

    Others: 3 - 3 1/2 hours

    Short Route: 1 1/2 hours


    Exertion Factor

    Easy to moderate. The only real difficulties involve thick sand in places which instantly drains the legs as anyone who ran The Camel Run will remember.
    90% - 95% runnable.


    Notes
    1. Please carry your own water.
    2. Dress appropriately according to weather conditions.
    3. Once we enter the trail section, please be careful of your surroundings. This is an environmentally sensitive area and all care needs to be taken to ensure that we have minimal impact on our surroundings, so no bundu-bashing, please stay on the paths.
    4. Please don't litter. Carry your litter out or you won't hear the end of my moaning.
    5. If you are planning on having breakfast at Dixies then it may be worth booking in advance. This is a bikers' favourite haunt and I don't see anyone being able to muscle out any bikers after running 22km.

    That's all for now folks.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    SEPTEMBER 2009 SPRING MENU

    Well TMC paranoia really seemed to take hold this last weekend and a group of about 70 of us took to the mountain to do Leg 3 of TMC. Well, strictly speaking, there were two groups; one of 49 runners and one of about 21. I think generally most runners felt relieved that Leg 3 wasn't nearly as bad as you thought. However, don't forget that you need to add in the section from Constantia Nek to Suikerbossie which, although largely runnable, has one nasty little hill in it that can sap some energy from the legs. So you start Hout Bay Corner / Llandudno Ravine with less energy and things tend to snowball a bit from there. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !

    My one observation from the run is that there appears to be significantly more erosion on the path on top of the mountain than I have seen in years gone by. Undoubtedly this is largely due to the heavy rains we have experienced this winter. But we can also not ignore the fact that the area has become increasingly more popular with trail runners and this is also contributing in a small way. So this is an appeal to all to be very conscious of what you do to the environment when you are out running in these ecologically sensitive areas. For example, please stick to the paths and don't take shortcuts. Where SANParks has closed particular paths for rehabilitation, please don't continue to use them. Use the alternative paths even if they are a little longer. Try not to dislodge stones and rocks, especially on steeper ascents and descents etc etc.

    But all-in-all it was a great run in perfect conditions (a little warm towards the end). Thanks to everyone who turned out and made it such a great success.



    Here is the program of acsis VOB weekend runs for September 2009:


    WEEKEND OF 5 & 6 SEPTEMBER 2009

    There is no formal acsis VOB Run this coming weekend. Generally, most people will be tapering for The Table Mountain Challenge. But for those still looking for a run, as well as well as a tick on the Attendance Register for the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw, then the Satori Camel Run in Noordhoek is the place to be on Sunday ( http://www.camelrun.co.za/ ). Just email me AFTER you have run it and I will tick your name off on the list. The "Honesty Principal" applies.

    HOWEVER: If any of the group regulars decides to organise an informal run on Saturday, I will announce this in my Tuesday email which normally confirms the details of the non-acsis VOB weekly trail runs.

    AND: There will be a Wednesday INFORMAL trail run (2 September 2009). Intermediate pace. As usual, meet at Kloof Nek Car Park BUT NEW STARTING TIME: 17h00. This week we will do the Lions Head / Signal Hill Loop including the section down to Springbok Rd and then cut back up just before the Noon Gun (Sea Point side of the Noon Gun fence) so as to miss the section through Bo Kaap.


    WEEKEND OF 12 & 13 SEPTEMBER 2009

    Well there is no doubt as to what is happening on this weekend. Its Table Mountain Challenge time and this will be the official run for the weekend; Saturday 12 September 2009. The same Honesty Principle applies for those wishing to have their names recorded for the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw.


    WEEKEND OF 19 & 20 SEPTEMBER 2009

    For this weekend we will be joining our roadie running friends for the Annual acsis VOB Whale Run. For those of you who have never done this before it is about a 50 / 50 onroad / off-road run, starting at Dixies Restaurant in Glencairn, up the Glencairn Expressway and then into the mountains to the south winding our way to the dams where we stop for a swim and then make our way back down Red Hill to Dixies where we chill out and have breakfast and watch the whales frolicking in the Bay. It is about 20km. We have yet to decide whether this will be a Saturday or a Sunday but we will announce this later in the month.


    WEEKEND OF 26 & 27 SEPTEMBER

    Saturday 26 September: Prepare yourself for another Gary Banfield Special. I speak subject to correction, but as far as I can remember from my chat to Gary, this is going to start at Constantia Nek and do contour path all the way to Kings Blockhouse and then contour path to Platteklip Gorge, up Platteklip and then decide on one of a variety of awesome routes back to Constantia Nek. Its a BIGGIE but all very runnable (except for the climb up Platteklip). But rest assured that there will also be an exciting short route option which I will dream up in consultation with Gary. This weekend really will be something to look forward to.

    That's it for now.

    Have a great week everyone.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    CRAG S / SW THURSDAY RUN DETAILS

    Hi SSW CRAGgers . . .

    Here are the run details for this Thursday, 27 August 2009...

    For those interested in what a typical SSW CRAG run is like: take a look at this link for last week's run. Click on satelite view:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=205902796353281456878.000471978234aad29d971

    ************************************************

    LEADER: Pieter Holtzhausen

    0849986386

    DATE: Thursday 27 August 2009

    TIME: in time to start running at 17h45 sharp

    LOCATION: Jonkershoek (Entrance fee R25)

    ROUTE DESCRIPTION:We follow the Yellowwood trail as high as it is rehabilitated and thentake the gravel contourdeeper into the valley in the direction of Langrivierkloof. Backtowards the gate with the aid of a few mountain bike paths.

    DURATION AND DISTANCE: approx 90 mins, approx 10 km

    GRADING:— 100 % runnable uphill— A1— pack run

    STARTING POINT: Park at the gate

    DIRECTIONS:Follow the R44 from Somerset West or from Stellenbosch. After the Vander Stel sportgrounds turn right into Merriman and continue onwardsover the traffic circle right into Jonkershoek.

    EQUIPMENT:— torch/headlamp is essential— water/energy drink/munchies— foul weather gear (if required )— personal medication (if required)— something for rehydration after the run— warmer/dryer clothing for the rehydrate session

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    WED - MEANDER IN DEER PARK / SATURDAY - LEG 3 OF TABLE MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE

    Well the acsis VOB Trail Running 1 Year Anniversary has come and gone. Thank you to everyone who attended. It was a lovely run. And a special thank to wonderful, gorgeous Brigette for the delicious muffins to help us celebrate.

    On the topic of anniversaries, Jeff Shapiro, who has been instrumental in the operation of our fledgling trail running division over the last year, has a birthday today. Happy Birthday Jeff and thanks for all you've done for us over the last year. Anyone wishing to fill his inbox with good wishes and appreciation can do so on:
    jeff@the-cia.co.za .

    WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST 2009

    With Table Mountain Challenge fast approaching, I am feeling horribly undertrained and nervous. So there will be an informal run from Kloof Nek carpark, into Deer Park. Route to be determined on the day but you can be sure it will have some hills in it and will be run at intermediate pace. We will run for about 90 minutes.

    Meet at 16h45 in the Kloof Nek carpark, ready to run.


    SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2009

    The Route - Leg 3 of Table Mountain Challenge

    This is a route that needs some car admin as we start at Suikerbossie Restaurant and run over the mountain to finish at Kloof Nek carpark. So check out the important car admin details below.

    PLEASE NOTE: The first section of Leg 3, between Constantia Nek and the far fence of Orange Kloof, can only be run on race day. It is otherwise a strictly prohibited area. Terrible things will happen to you if you break the rules and go and practice in this area without permission from SANParks.

    For the Route Description I am taking an extract from the Route Guide for Hout Bay Trail Challenge as their Leg 2 follows much of the same turf until just before the Kasteelspoort descent. So thank you Claire and Sports4U.

    We will take "........... the “Public Footpath” just outside the Ruyterplaats gate. Follow the Suikerbossie Restaurant fence line upwards until we reach the contour path above the pine forest. There are a few paths in this area and it can get confusing but they all seem to lead in the same direction. You need to make sure that you pick one of the paths that proceeds in an easterly direction (towards Constantia Nek) above the pines until you reach and intersection where a clear path to your left leads directly up towards the mountain." At this point we will depart briefly from the official route and run along the contour path towards Constantia Nek until we reach the fence at Orange Kloof. This is to give you an idea of the extra bit you will be doing on race day. It will also help you NOT to go up Myburg's Waterfall Ravine in error on race day. Then we will turn around and jog back to the point where we left off. This gives us a nice warm-up before hitting Hout Bay Corner, gives us a little more distance and time-on-the-legs and shows us a bit the race day route that otherwise never gets run. Okay, so now we are back at that intersection: "Take this path which climbs quite quickly to the ridge above you (300m) - Hout Bay Corner.

    Follow this path along the ridge to your right, scramble up a few ledges until you are under the cliff face. The scrambles are far less of a challenge these days as they now have steel staples secured to the rocks to help you climb. After the second scramble, you are up on a ledge. Head towards the sea and follow the path round to the left (towards Camps Bay) and towards the bottom of Llandudno Ravine. The path runs below the cliff face and is narrow and sometimes fairly exposed – please take care, especially if visibility is poor. After traversing for a short while the path climbs steeply again and begins a second traverse in the same direction. At times the path appears to climb but suddenly comes to a dead end. If this happens, don’t panic. Just retrace your steps a little and you will find that you missed a turn where the path suddenly dropped down to your left and you didn’t see it. At one point on the second traverse here is an unclear path to the right (marked by a small cairn) which leads to a serious scramble and you don’t want to be going that way. Keep going until you get to the entrance to Llandudno Ravine.

    The correct path up the ravine starts at the second stream, which you need to cross carefully. There are hand holds (trusty steel staples again) to assist you. The surface may be slippery and there are patches of loose gravel/stone. It is recommended that you walk up this section in groups, to avoid rocks falling on runners below. The path up Llandudno Ravine has been rehabilitated and is far more secure than in previous years – thanks to previous years’ donations which helped repair this path. Nevertheless it is quite merciless as you still tend to slide back one step for every two that you take.

    But suddenly you pop out almost unexpectedly at the top of the ravine. The climbing isn’t over but the worst is behind you.

    Follow the clear path which keeps climbing gently eastwards until you reach some green anti-erosion fencing. At that point the path you want to be on swings off to the left and upwards. It levels off quite quickly though and heads northwards over solid rock so watch the path carefully. If the visibility is poor please be careful. The path is initially feint, however it has been well marked with cairns. The path swings east- north-east (to your right….for those who were never boy scouts / girl guides / Voortrekkers) again and climbs a wide shallow valley which is soggy under foot and there are numerous paths which become streams in winter. But all of the paths come out more or less in the same place so just try and keep slightly to the left of centre in the valley. At the top of the valley one proceeds in the same direction along a lovely flattish and very runnable section and onto the southerly slope of a small hill. As the path opens up it starts swinging north again. There are a few paths in this area but when in doubt, look for and aim at a medium sized boulder, standing alone, which has been described as looking like a large baboon dropping. When you reach that, the path is clear and you head north-east and swiftly downhill into another broad valley which leads across to Grootkop. Grootkop should be clearly visible unless there is low cloud. But you will know you are on the right track if you are bounding along some easily runnable single track which will remind you just why you do trail running.

    You then start the climb up the right (eastern) shoulder of Grootkop. It is a steep narrow path which can sap your strength quickly so treat it with respect. You will pass Grootkop and find yourself going down through a tunnel / window formed between two large overhanging boulders as you descend along a rocky path which then undulates fairly gently towards the Front Table of Table Mountain. You will pass through the tops of numerous unmarked ravines which descend to the Camps Bay side of the mountain. First is Oudekraal Ravine, then Corridor Ravine and then a fairly steep descent into Slangolie Ravine. Along the main path you are following you will notice other paths leading down into these ravines and their associated buttresses but your path is clear and unmistakeable. As you approach the last little bit of the drop into Slangolie Ravine you are confronted with the choice of scrambling down a simple rock band or taking the path to the right which traverses around the rock band but soon returns to the foot of the scramble. The scramble is not difficult at all. It looks quite hairy from above but once you start climbing down it becomes obvious how easy it is, particularly if you start a little off to the left hand side of it. At the bottom of the drop you will find a sign saying “Dangerous Decent” which refers to the path down Slangolie to the Pipe Track. But you are not going that way.

    Proceed in the same direction you were before up the slope on the other side of the ravine. Next you drop into Woody Ravine which is marked as such and then up a little more on the other side. The path levels out and after a short while you will encounter a large cylindrical SANParks “cairn” right in the middle of the path with direction markers on it." Keep running past this cairn and very soon you come to the intersection at the top of Kasteelspoort. Turn left and descend Kateelspoort until you come to the Pipe Track (contour path) above Camps Bay. At the Pipe Track, turn right and follow the undulating path until you reach Kloof Nek Carpark.


    Distance

    About 15 - 16km


    Start Time

    06h30 we will drop cars at Kloof Nek.

    07h00 we start running from Suikerbossie.


    Start Place

    The little carpark outside the gates of Ruyterplaats Residential Estate), just before the Suikerbossie Restaurant.


    ESTIMATED Time on the Mountain

    You are really going to have to work this one out for yourselves. The range can be huge. Anywhere between 3 and 6 hours. So if you are a slower runner, this could be a long one for you.

    Exertion Factors

    I am going to split this up:

    From the start to the first contour path over to Orange Kloof is a bit of a jog / walk. (50% runnable)

    The Contour path to Orange Kloof and back is easy (100% runnable).

    Hout Bay Corner to the top of Llandudno Ravine is TOUGH (5% runnable).

    Top of Llandudno Ravine to Grootkop is easy (90% runnable).

    Tough little walk up Grootkop.

    Top of Grootkop to the finish is moderate (70% runnable).


    CAR ADMIN

    Could I request that as many people as possible take their cars to Kloof Nek Car Park by 06h30 at the latest. Especially people coming from the Atlantic Seaboard / City Bowl area. Then we will pile into as few cars as possible and drive the fairly short distance to Suikerbossie in time for a 07h00 start. Please would you email me and let me know if you can assist by bring a car to Kloof Nek.

    So this is an RSVP RUN.


    Notes
    1. Please watch the weather reports carefully and dress appropriately according to the forecast weather. You might as well try and carry the waterproof top, food and water you will be required to carry on race day. Treat this as a dress rehearsal.
    2. Although there should be plenty of water on the mountain, I always recommend taking some of your own.
    3. We might get quite spread out of this run so when in doubt, don't be a hero / heroine. Stop and wait for someone who does know the way.
    4. Carry a whistle. If you get lost, blow it like crazy. We will find you.
    5. Carry a cell phone (fully charged), put my number in it (0823210299) and call me if you're in trouble.
    6. Please go to the Trail Page on the acsis VOB website ( www.vob.co.za ) and read the two Word documents there on the Rules and Guidelines of these acsis VOB runs and Trail Running Tips.
    7. I am looking for a few volunteers of varying pace to act as route guides for this run only. I think there will be a number of people who haven't done the route before and there will be a need for several experienced trail runners along the length of the run that people can look to and stick close to. Please email me if you can help.


    Otherwise, have a great week everyone.


    Monday, August 17, 2009

    BIRTHDAY RUN

    I am afraid I am, once again, not available to take a Wednesday evening informal run. Nope, not swine flu; I am running in the Cape Winter Trail Series night race on Wednesday evening.

    Another change for this week is that the weekend run will be on Sunday instead of Saturday as I will be assisting at a water station for The Puffer on Saturday morning. It is also an important milestone as it will be 1 year since the acsis VOB Trail Running offering began. So we will be running the same route that we did 1 year ago and hopefully we will do it each year from now on. This, of course, means that it would be wonderful to have as many committee members along as possible.

    THE BIRTHDAY ROUTE

    Constantia Nek - Cecilia Forest - Kirstenbosch - return along Contour Path from Window Ravine.

    This is a shorter than usual route with several short-cut options.


    The Route:

    We will start at the car park at Constantia Nek and follow the forestry road towards Cecilia Forest. At the first split in the road we will go right and follow the lower road which descends towards Rhodes Drive at Southern Cross Drive. At the next split we follow the right hand road to just before the gate at Rhodes Drive. Just before the gate we turn left onto a lovely undulating piece of single track along the fence which we follow to the Cecilia Forest Car Park. From this car park we head straight up through the trees to re-join the road that goes over into Kirstenbosch. We follow this road to the intersection at the Top Gate (near Klaasens Road). I know this gate has an official name but I can never remember it. On the normal acsis VOB road training runs it is just known fondly as "Top Tap" - usually followed closely by a groan of despair.

    As we get to that intersection, the gate is on the right but we turn left and head straight up the brick road towards the mountain. Look out for a drinking fountain on the right for those who are thirsty. Shortly thereafter there is a drinking fountain on the left at a split in the road. At this split, remember the CRAG mantra "when in doubt, up; when in doubt, up; when in doubt up", and keep left and climb a short sharp hill. At the top of the hill there is another split in the road. At this point, keep right. Follow this gravel road and soon thereafter you will see a road going off to the left. Short Route* turn left (and we will come back to this route), Long Route go right. Long Route runners continue through a couple of undulations to a further fork in the road........keep left (up) and you will soon see the path up Skeleton Gorge to your left (this is another short route option). But we stay on the road and cross the stream, up a tiny hill and then down. At the bottom of this little hill the road forks again.....keep left (up) and cross another stream. Straight after the stream, the path then swings right, climbs a bit and then swings down to the left.

    At the bottom of this drop, there is a small intersection where we need to turn left and start climbing some steps. Pay attention at this point because sometimes the turn to the left is less clear than at other times. Keep climbing the steps and eventually the path levels out and swings left (back towards Cecilia). Keep following this path back towards your car. Ignore a path that comes in from the right which climbs and heads towards Rhodes Memorial. You will now cross the Window Ravine (drinkable water) stream, then the Skeleton Gorge Stream (give this water a miss) and then Nursery Ravine stream (don't drink it). Just after Nursery Raving you will cross another smaller stream and then find there is a split in the path. Keep right here (there may be some short route runners coming up from the left) and follow the contour path to the gum trees at the border of Cecilia Forest. There is an intersection of paths here. The Short Route Runners will come up the path on the left. The path to the right goes up to the Waterfall. But we just keep going straight here. Keep heading slightly downwards and towards Cecilia Forest. The path becomes forestry road. At the next fork in the road, keep right and this road immediately swings left again but upwards and you start the climb of the last hill of the run. Once you have got to the top of this hill the road takes a 90 degree turn right and follows a swift descent to the Constantia Nek car park (but make sure you ignore a road that goes off to the right (and upwards) on your way down. That road goes up to the dams on top of the mountain.

    For the more adventurous, read back to the 90 degree turn at the top of the last hill. Instead of following the road down to the right, look over the lip of the road right in front of you. There is a steep bit of single track which you can go thundering down (great fun) and follow to the lower forestry road. At the road turn right and run towards the finish but keep looking for a single track path off to the right before you get to the stream (known as "the Waterfall" by the acsis VOB road runners). This path takes you up through a very pretty little wooded ravine and you come out on the upper road again which you follow down to the car park at the Nek.

    Short Route runners, read back to the asterisk in Para 2 of the route description. Take that road to the left and keep following it slightly upwards and back towards Cecilia Forest. The first path off to the right goes up to the contour path on the Constantia Nek side of Nursery Ravine (you could take this path) where you would then turn left and rejoin the Long Route and the second path to the right takes you up to the intersection at the gum trees on the Cecilia Forest border where you would also turn left and rejoin the Long Route.


    Start Point:

    Constantia Nek Car Park


    Start Time:

    07h30 sharp. So please get there a little earlier to sign the register.


    Distance:

    Long Route: About 12km

    Short Route: Between 7 and 9km depending on the option you select.


    ESTIMATED Time out There:

    Intermediate runners: 75 - 90 minutes

    Slower runners: 2 hours


    Exertion:

    Reasonably easy stuff. 90% runnable.


    Notes:
    1. There should be plenty of water to drink on the mountain and there are a few drinking fountains. So unless you need a lot of water all the time, this is one run that you can do free of the water bottle / hydration pack fetters.
    2. Although there haven't been dramatic "incidents" in Kirstenbosch recently, please still be wary and try and stay in groups through this area.
    3. Please sign the register before the start.
    4. Have fun and enjoy the easy, low admin route because on Saturday 29 August we will be running Leg 3 of Table Mountain Challenge.

      UPCOMING RUN: SATURDAY 29 AUGUST 2009 - LEG 3 OF TABLE MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE


      Have a great week Everyone and Happy Birthday to Us.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    SATURDAY 15 AUGUST 2009: LEGS 1 & 2 OF TMC

    I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that anyone who was disturbed by my facetious hissy-fit on Friday has recovered well. I was back to full humour shortly thereafter and I hope you were too.

    Despite all the confusion, we still managed to get about forty runners in attendance and a great time was had by all (even if they didn't realise it at the time). I was highly impressed with the majority of short route runners who decided to do the long route at the last minute and coped extremely well, without exception. It just goes to show what can be achieved if you push the boundaries a little. Well done Everyone !

    I am afraid that I am unable to offer a Wednesday run this week as I will be attending a meeting of the new Trail Running Association of South Africa. The association is still being set up and I will report back briefly to you all with any salient points. Then if anyone has any feedback or suggestions I would be happy to act as a conduit for such information.

    I know a lot of people will be heading up to Kleinmond this weekend for the Cape Winter Trail Series races on Saturday. Nevertheless, I would still like to do a run in Cape Town this weekend. So for those remaining in town, I think maybe we can do a little rehearsal for the upcoming Table Mountain Challenge. I will run Legs 1 and 2 of TMC, starting at Kloof Nek and ending at Constantia Nek. There will be two shorter routes available. BUT PLEASE RSVP IF YOU INTEND DOING THE LONG RUN AT SOME CAR ADMIN IS NECESSARY.

    WEDNESDAY 12 AUGUST 2009

    No run.

    SATURDAY 15 AUGUST 2009

    The Route

    Start at Kloof Nek and run the gravel jeep track through Deer Park / Van Riebeek Park or whatever that area is called these days i.e. between Tafelberg Road and the houses below in the Higgovale / Devils Peak area. After about 6 km of gentle undulations (more honestly described as: "short, sharp, exhausting ups and downs") we start the long, slow, relentless climb to the end of Leg 1 just below the Kings Blockhouse at about 8,6km.

    At this point, those wanting a shorter route have two options which will be discussed below.

    Long route runners will continue along the contour path on the Newlands side of the mountain. This is largerly single track and varies between boardwalk, rocky sections and easy running, smooth sections. There is a bit of forestry jeep track near the end. There are only two climbs on this section (like anyone believes me anymore); one at about the halfway mark, just before Window Gorge and then one near the end once you get onto the jeep track again in Cecilia Forest. This leg is about 10km long.

    Short Route 1: At the gate just below the Blockhouse, just walk up to the Blockhouse itself. Behind it you will find the start of a countour path slightly on the Cape Town side of the mountain. Follow it for about 1,5km and then drop down onto Tafelberg Road for a 5,5km tar road run back to Kloof Nek. One hill on it as you are approach the Saddle.

    Short Route 2: At the gate just below the Blockhouse you will see that the path splits just after you go through the gate. The right hand path is the contour path which the Long Route runners will take. The left hand path takes you straught down to Rhodes Memorial. You will need to organise, for yourself, to leave a car there beforehand or get someone to pick you up at Rhodes memorial.


    Distances

    Long Route: 18,6km (car admin required - finish at Constantia Nek))

    Short Route
    Option 1
    : +-15km but last 6km is easy tar road running (no car admin required - finish back at Kloof nek)

    Short Route
    Option 2
    : +- 9km (car admin required - finish at Rhodes Memorial)



    Meeting & Start Times:

    Long Route: Meet at Constantia Nek at 07h00 to drop cars. 07h30 start at Kloof Nek.

    Both Short Route Options: 07h30 start at Kloof Nek car park.


    Start Place:

    Kloof Nek car park. As you get to the top of the nek between Cape Town and Camps Bay, turn up as if you were driving to the Lower Cable Station (Tafelberg Road) But immediately on your left as you turn in to Tafelberg Road you will see a parking area with two tiers. Meet on the upper tier right next to the SANParks kiosk.


    ESTIMATED Time on the Moutain:

    Long Route: Faster Runners - around 2h00 - 2h15 . Intermediate Runners 2h30 - 2h45. Slower Runners - at least 3 hours.

    SR Option 1: Assuming less fit runners - 1h45 - 2h15.

    SR Option 2: Assuming REALLY unfit / lazy runners - allow at least 2 hours.


    Exertion Factor:

    All routes about 90% runnable gradient but some may prefer to walk some of the hills.


    Notes:

    1. Please carry some water with you even though there is lots of water on the mountain. My personal advice would be only to drink from streams between the Kings
    Blockhouse and Skeleton Gorge (excluding the latter) for the obvious reason that there are lost of hikers whose calls of nature may have "bacterialised" (my word)
    the other streams.
    2. Please would all runners coming from the southern suburbs meet at Constantia Nek to drop cars at 07h00. Others should go straight to Kloof Nek to be there by
    07h20 to sign the register and get last minute briefing.
    3. Dress appropiately for the weather conditions on the day. I will update on Friday and hopefully not confuse the h*ll out of everyone this time. As there seem to be
    a lot of people who are new to trail running, please take this seriously and check out the tips and guidelines on the Trail Running page of the acsis VOB website:
    www.vob.co.za .

    Have a great (short) week Everyone.

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    WED: LIONS HEAD / SAT: CONTOUR - SADDLE - NEWLANDS RAVINE

    Well Saturday's run was an ............interesting.........experiment. Whilst the section between Corridor Ravine and Oudekraal Ravine was beautiful, it is not really a run and in all likelihood will not form part of one our runs again in the near future. It is highly recommended as an easy hike though.

    Also on Saturday's run, a new world record was set for talking by 4 of the 5 tail-enders, who shall remain nameless for reporting purposes but they know who they are. What was even more inpressive than the sheer volume of words was the fact that they still kept up a pretty reasonable pace. It appears that a little known secret of good trail running is to be able to talk on the in-breath and the the out-breath. Nevertheless it was lots of fun.

    NEW BALANCE TRAIL SHOE LUCKY DRAW VOUCHER

    The latest voucher was drawn on Saturday and this time it goes to ..........................................Charmaine Meyer. Congratulations Charmaine ! I will keep it with me and give it to you when next I see you.


    INFORMAL MIDWEEK RUN - WED 5 AUGUST


    This Wednesday we will run the loop around Lions Head from the Kloof Nek Car Park. However we will avoid the section through the Bo Kaap. Once we have done the loop around Lions Head we will run along the spine to Signal Hill and then back to Kloof Nek either on the path or the road depending on the light conditions.

    This run will be weather-dependent so please confirm with me by email, phone or sms on Wed at lunchtime.

    Meet at Kloof Nek Car Park (at the SANParks Kiosk) at 16h45.


    SATURDAY 8 AUGUST - CONTOUR PATH / SADDLE / NEWLANDS RAVINE / KINGS BLOCKHOUSE

    Yes, I know its a long-weekend. We are still running. We will leave the Table Mountain Challenge Rehearsals for the following weeks as many people will be away for the long-weekend. So this coming Saturday we are going to run the Gary Banfield Special. Thanks for the input Gary.

    The Route

    We will start right outside the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road and climb to the contour at Kloof Corner Ridge. We will follow the contour path across the front face of Table Mountain towards Devils Peak (as we usually do). But after Platteklip Gorge we will take the right hand split in the path and climb up to The Saddle (between TM and DP). From the top we will run across to the top of Newlands Ravine and then descend it to the contour path on the Newlands side of the mountain and then run along it to the gate below the Kings Blockhouse (above Rhodes Mem). We will do the short climb to the Blockhouse and then run the contour path back to the Lower Cable Station via Oppelskop Ridge.

    Anyone wanting to do a short route can just do the contour path to the Kings Blockhouse and back.

    Start Place

    Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road.

    Start Time

    07h30

    Distance

    Long Route - about 20km

    Short Route - about 12km

    Time Out on the Mountain

    I don't know why I put this in because I'm always wrong.

    Long Route - allow 3 hours (probably less though)

    Short Route - 90 minutes

    Sweat Index

    Long Route - 85% runnable. One short climb to the contour path in the beginning. And then a climb to the top of The Saddle which will necessitate some walking. A third very short climb to Kings Blockhouse and a then final climb up Oppelskop Ridge. LOADS of flat in between the climbs though.

    Short Route - 90% runnable. One short climb to the contour path in the beginning. Then on the way back there is the hill back over Oppelskop Ridge. This hill can be avoided though by running back along Tafelberg Road instead (5km of tar road).

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    WED - CONTOUR PATH / SAT PIPE TRACK

    Congratulations to all who ran in events over the weekend. I don't have any results yet but I'm sure I will be able to share of these good things with you soon. From a personal perspective, it seems that the Achilles is feeling better and I should be able to rejoin the runs again this week although it might take a while to get back up to speed. Strange how much my injury has improved AFTER Hout Bay Trail Challenge was over. But I paid my penance on Saturday morning. It was FREEZING in Llandudno Ravine. So much so that I refused to take my hands out of my pockets and poor Barry had to do all the clipping of passports.


    NEW BALANCE TRAIL SHOE LUCKY DRAW

    Before the run this coming Saturday, we will do the draw for the pair of New Balance Trail Shoes. So please, if you participated in The Hout Bay Trail Challenge, The New Balance / Eden Campus Hillcrest Race or the Bloemendal Cape Winter Trail Series Race on Sunday then please email me so that I can tick off the register for lucky draw purposes. This is your last chance to qualify for the current draw.

    This coming Saturday is also the first event of the next two month period. Remember, 5 attendances over each two month period gets you into the draw.


    NEW ATTENDEES TO acsis VOB TRAIL RUNS

    For anyone attending the acsis VOB Trail Runs for the first time, it may be helpful to you to go onto the acsis VOB website and have a look at the guidelines for our trail runs on the Trail Running page as they aren't quite the same as most of the others. In summary: instead of doing a pack run, runners are encouraged to run at their natural pace. Pace groups do form naturally though. But this poses some problems as runners don't necessarily all know the route. But there's always a sprinkling of runners who DO. You need to take note of who these runners are and then keep near them. When in doubt, STOP AND WAIT. Or come back and fetch.


    WEDNESDAY INFORMAL RUN: 29 JULY 2009

    This week we are going to do the run I had planned for last week. This is the contour path above Tafelberg Road.

    Meet at the Lower Cable Station at 16h45 on Wed afternoon.

    We will run for about 90 minutes.

    The pace will be suitable for the Intermediate pace runners.

    Its most flat and easy except for the small climb near the beginning to get up to the contour path. Nothing technical. Plenty of escape routes for bailers (not a word from you, Alice).

    Trail shoes highly recommended because the contour path is a little stony in places.


    SATURDAY 1 AUGUST 2009: CAMPS BAY PIPE TRACK - OUDEKRAAL RAVINE - CORRIDOR OR WOODY RAVINE

    I have decided on something a bit easier and more runnable after all the races last weekend. Also, Gary Banfield has come up with a very nice new little route but I will only do it next week or the week after because it covers some of the turf we are treading this Wednesday. Gary, I haven't forgotten, despite the beer on Saturday.

    The Route

    Nice and simple. Start at Kloof Nek and run the length of the Pipe Track above Camps Bay. Once we get right to the very end we will head up Oudekraal Ravine (admittedly I have never been up it before but I don't anticipate any problems) and then turn back towards Kloof Nek at the top. We will descend either Corridor Ravine or Woody Ravine (I just don't have the stomach for Kasteelspoort at the moment) and then run back along the Pipe Track again.

    Start Place

    The parking area at Kloof Nek at the SANParks kiosk. When you get to the top of Kloof Nek, take the road that to the Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road. Immediately on your left you will see a parking area with two levels. We will start on the Upper Level, next to the kiosk. This is the safest place to park as the kiosk is always staffed.

    Start Time

    07h30 sharp. So try and get there a little earlier to complete the register.

    Distance

    Long route: about 15km

    Short route: 10km of very easy running. Turn at Woody Ravine which is about the 5km mark.

    Time on the Mountain

    Long Route: Allow at least 3 hours

    Short Route: 75 - 80 minutes

    Exertion Index

    Long Route: First 5km is very easy flat(tish) running. A little stony underfoot but nothing a good pair of trail shoes and a bit of vigilance can't cope with. After Woody Ravine the path undulates a bit and after Slangolie Ravine the path becomes gradually narrower single track and is real trail running. I am not sure about the ascent of Oudekraal Ravine but in all likelihood it will be tougher than Corridor Ravine but easier than Woody Ravine. But we will walk it. Easy trail running back along the top of the mountain. If we descend Corridor Ravine it is semi-runnable but technical running and the rock is quite loose underfoot. If we come down Woody Ravine it is a steeper descent but much prettier. We will decide on the day. The last 5km is the same as the way out i.e. easy 100% runnable.

    Short Route: Easy 100% runnable.

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    1. Our Wednesday Run

    I know I promised that we would kick off with the Wednesday run this week but then I completely forgot that I would be assisting at the registration for Hout Bay Trail Challenge. I will liaise with Bronwyn and see if we can still offer one and will communicate this either later today or tomorrow morning. I have a nice safe route in mind but it would be nice if there was some brute force in attendance to keep the ne'er-do-wells at bay should they be wandering off-course. Brute McPherson ?

    The idea behind the Wednesday Runs is as follows:

    Initially, the runs will be most suited to those who generally run at the Intermediate Group pace. If you want to judge whether or not you are in this range then I would say that if you train on the road at between 5mpk and 5.30/5.45mpk then these runs are for you. I will try and find someone, in time, to lead a slower group but for the moment, this is what we are catering for. The runs will be between 8 and 15km and will be in the City Bowl, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Devils Peak areas.

    For the next few weeks, the runs will start at 16h45 but hopefully thereafter we can move the start to 17h00. Once it is light enough in the evenings to run with CRAG again, the continuance of these runs will be debated again.



    2. The Upcoming Weekend

    There is so much on this weekend that there is no single official acsis VOB Trail Run. There are three races on, all of which qualify for the attendance register for New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw purposes. You need to notify me of your attendance at one of these races by email after you have run.

    - Saturday 25 July 2009:- Hout Bay Trail Challenge (if you don't know about it then you ain't running it). But for future purposes and other exciting events, check
    out www.sports4u.co.za .

    - Saturday 25 July 2009:- New Balance / Eden Campus Trail Race at Hillcrest Wine Farm in Durbanville. I don't have the other details of this race yet as I haven't
    received the Race Flyer. If anyone could send me one I would be most grateful. Bron ? Deborah H-B ?

    - Sunday 26 July 2009:- Race 1 of the Cape Winter Trail Series at Durbanville Hills Wine Estate (check out the details on www.trailseries.co.za) .

    If any other informal groups form then I will send out a message later in the week.

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    PRE-WEEKEND ROUNDUP & NOTIFICATION OF WED EVENING RUNS

    1. FINAL PLANS FOR SATURDAY 18 JULY 2009 (MANDELA DAY RUN)

    The run (see details on http://vobtrail.blogspot.com/ ) is definitely still happening and will start at 07h30 from the Hout Bay Harbour Parking Area. Some clarification on the Long Run Route: Within 10 minutes of sending out my email on Monday I was getting warnings that Myburg's Waterfall Ravine is not a good idea in winter. It is muddy, slippery and dangerous. I then saw the picture on the front of the Cape Times this morning which is of a woman being airlifted off the mountain after slipping and fracturing her ankle in Myburg's Waterfall Ravine. So this is a "health warning" and reassurance that we will not be taking undue risks on the long route. We will still run as much of the route as is safe. The probability is that we will turn at some point and come down the ravine again once we reach the dangerous part. If anyone wants to continue up the ravine then they must realise that they are on their own. The "official run" will turn and come down.

    I think its worth still doing as much of it as possible so as to give people a feel for that contour path between Suikerbossie and Orange Kloof. It is the one section that always gets neglected in training for Table Mountain Challenge. It is also a section where people go astray in the race because when you have crossed out of Orange Kloof, the path up the Ravine is clearer than the contour path and every year people start up the ravine and lose valuable time before realising their mistake.


    2. INFORMAL WEDNESDAY EVENING RUNS

    This last Wednesday, Bronwyn Pithey, Karen Jennings and myself did a lovely run after work. It was the 1st Leg of the Table Mountain Challenge from Kloof Nek to the Kings Blockhouse and then back along Tafelberg Road. We thoroughly enjoyed it and agreed that we should try to keep doing these runs for the rest of the winter and the early spring as we tend not to do the winter CRAG runs as we are not keen on night running and running with head torches. So what we will be doing on an informal ad hoc basis, is some trail runs immediately after work on Wednesday afternoons. These will be shorter than the weekend runs and will all take place in the City Bowl / Camps Bay / Lions head / Signal Hill area. These will continue until it is light enough in the evenings to link up with CRAG again on Wednesday evenings as the CRAG runs are definitely worth doing.

    We probably won't be able to do them every week as it will depend on availability of people who know nice routes and also a few "bouncers" will be required as generally the runs are in areas where some surly characters are spotted from time to time.

    I will put the invitation out each week and anyone is welcome to attend.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    APOLOGY & PROPOSAL

    APOLOGY:

    I have created havoc by having two starting times in my initial email for this Saturday morning's run. I will bore anyone who will listen with the details on the actual run. But suffice to say for now:

    Starting time on Saturday 18 July 2009 is 07h30.

    PROPOSAL - INFORMAL WED EVENING RUN:

    I will be running Leg 1 of The Table Mountain Challenge tomorrow, Wednesday 15 July 2009 at 16h45 with Bronwyn Pithey, if anyone is interested in joining us. Please RSVP in case there is a "weather cancellation" (so that I know who to advise) and then meet us at Kloof Nel Car Park at 16h45 sharp, ready to run. The route is through Deer Park to the King's Blockhouse and then back along Tafelberg Road. About 14km (last 5km on tar).

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    SATURDAY 18 JULY 2009 - LEG 1 OF HBTC / MYBURGH'S WATERFALL RAVINE

    Two weeks to go before the Hout Bay Trail Challenge and then we can start focussing on other parts of the Peninsula again as well as some interesting possibilities of runs in the northern suburbs and Boland.

    Anyone who ran the Trail Run this past Saturday and didn't get there name on a list to help qualify them for the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw, then please email me. I can always ask Margaret and Bronwyn to confirm.

    I will be sending out a second email this morning re the WARNING from The Table Mountain Watch re muggings in the Plumpudding Hill area. You will also find the details of the CRAG Run posted there. I don't want those messages to get lost in my ramblings below.

    SATURDAY 18 JULY 2009 - LEG 1 OF HBTC + MYSTERY EXTENSION TO MYBURGH'S WATERFALL RAVINE

    The Short Route / The Start of the Long Route

    Start outside the Hout Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) at 07:00, weather and light permitting. The start is to the west towards Karbonkelberg. You can either use the main car gate to exit onto Harbour Road or there is a small personal gate in the fence further south opposite the Boat Yard entrance. The small gate is quicker if you get there fairly quickly but if you take too long then you’ll end up in a queue. So decide on your strategy beforehand. Once out in Harbour you turn left and cross over to the other side (of the road) – don’t forget to watch for cars! Proceed along the road until you come to some palm trees on the right. Between two of the palm trees you will see a path which leads up the fire break above the houses of Harbour Heights. This path is quite steep and is in thick beach sand. By the time you reach tar road again you will be breathing heavily and wishing you had stayed in bed (at least for a short while anyway). Turn right into the tar road (Marlin Crescent) and follow it round to the left and upwards. Then you turn right into Bayview Road which is essentially the road you need to stay in although, after passing several roads to the right, it takes a 90 degree turn to the right and then near the end takes a 90 degree turn to the left again. But eventually this brings you out at the access gate to the “reserve” where the road turns to jeep track. In theory, if you just stay on the jeep track this will eventually bring you out at the Radar Station at the very summit of Karbonkelberg. HOWEVER, there are permissible shortcuts between loops in the road but you use these at your peril. They are not as easily found as one might imagine. The first two are easy but the third needs some focus and attention.

    The first one leaps out at you as you start on the jeep track just after the gate. The road does an arc around to the left and you can cut straight across the field and rejoin the road a little further up. The merits of this one are debatable.

    The second one comes after you have continued up the track in a north westerly direction for a while. The road takes a little kink to the right and then sweeps round to the left. In the little kink there is a path that leads off to the right. This is a good short cut between loops in the road. Once regaining the road again you could turn right and follow the road but most people go straight across the road and into a continuation of the path you have just been on.

    This is the third shortcut and the most difficult to follow. The path rises for a short while and as it starts flattening out you need to look for a clear path on the right which you must turn into and follow. Once again you will be plagued with thick sea sand and your legs will scream at you for not staying on the road. But it is a short cut and will eventually intersect with the road again where you turn left and keep following it upwards. Alternatively, where you intersect with the road again, cross straight over onto an indictinct path which carries on going uphill. Then take the next path to the left which takes you back to the road, having cut out a loop. Its definitely a bit quicker. The danger is that by this stage the road doesn’t really look like a road anymore but a wide, eroded path. It is seriously eroded and as you continue upwards it is full of dongas. It narrows and winds and climbs. Eventually it starts levelling off as you near the top of Karbonkelberg. Some old buildings come into view on your left which were annexures of the Old Radar Station. You need to pass these buildings and look for the path that leads to the old Radar Installation (Beacon 92 the high point to the west). This path is just past those building and proceeds up to the left behind the buildings and then swings right again and you will see the ruin of the Old Radar Station.

    From the Radar Station retrace your steps down to the road past the last annexure building on your right. Approximately 50m beyond this roofless ruin there is a fairly obscure path to your left, marked by a small cairn on each side of the road. Watch carefully for it. This is the way to Suther Peak.

    Follow the path, which is narrow and the fynbos is more like ‘pyn bos’ if you are not wearing tights. The path descends into and traverses a beautiful valley in front of you which is normally very wet under foot in winter. You will be wading through head high (and higher) fynbos which sometimes closes in tightly around you. At one point you have to bend over and barge your way through a grove and it seems impossible that the path actually leads through it, but it does and suddenly you are through it and running again. The path begins to bear right and then sharply up and left. You will scramble your way upwards and through roots, undergrowth and low hanging branches at one point when you are scrambling through the undergrowth, you will come to a split in the path. One path goes up and to the left. Ignore it ! You need the right hand path which goes down a little to the right but then swings left and into a small forest of yellow wood trees. Please take care in the yellowwood forest as this is an ecologically sensitive area. Proceed upwards to the crest of the slope / peak and look out for the path turning to the right and around the south side of the peak - dropping in altitude.

    This section descends steeply and will necessitate some very minor rock scrambling. On one section there are some ropes to assist you. Use them at your own risk. The area does tend to slow people down so please be patient. This is particularly so at the roped section where only one person can descend safely at a time.
    The path is not clear and is marked by cairns. Follow these cairns to the road. Please stick to the path. Make your way down to the saddle between Karbonkelberg and Klein Leeu Koppie – the top of the sand dunes. Please be vigilant in this area. Cross the sand dunes to the brick paved road.

    From here the short route turns down the sand dunes, heading for the houses below. Run along the fences for a short while and look for an exit from the dunes into the houses. From there, make your own route across and down towards the harbour and the car park.

    The long route runners will wind their way down onto Suikerbossie Hill. We run +- 2km on tar up to the Ruiterplaats housing estate gates (just below Suikerbossie Restaurant) and then proceed as if we were starting Leg 2 of HBTC. We follow the same path up behind the restaurant and along the line of the forest towards Constantia Nek. But then instead of turning up towards the mountain, we continue along the contour path towards Constantia Nek. If you are doing the Table Mountain Challenge in September then you will be running this path in the opposite direction. This is a very useful recce for TMC as it is very easy to miss the correct path at the Orange Kloof Fence. Just before we reach the Orange Kloof fence we take the path up Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine to the top of the Back Table. From the top we head across to the top of Llandudno Ravine which we then descend to Suikerbossie again via Hout Bay Corner. We then run down the hill on the road, back to the Harbour. It must be stressed that I have not ascended Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine before and am not 100% sure exactly where it comes out. So this is an exploratory mission and should be treated as such. Anyone not comforatble with this should rather turn at the Orange Kloof fence and head back the way we came.

    Distance

    Short Route: About 11.5 km

    Long Route: About 23 - 25km (estimate) - Intermediate and Fast Runners only please.

    Time out on the Mountain

    Short Route: About 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

    Long Route: About 3 to 3 1/2 hours (Intermediate Group)

    Sweat Index

    Short Route:
    I repeat my description from last time. You climb and then drop about 600m over 11km. This is a very difficult one to rate. Its basically a big uphill and a big downhill with a little dip in the middle. Its a tough run but in very few places will you find that the gradient is impossible to run. This is particularly true for the big uphill. What makes you walk is the fact that it just goes on for a long distance. If you take it slowly and just slog it out you can run most of the climb. But the average runner would be more comfortable with a walk / run strategy (so don't feel bad about it). The downhill will involve more forced walking than the uphill. Its quite technical so you'll want to be careful on the descent. Every year the race seems to see a couple of tumbles on this section when inexperienced runners (and even some experienced ones) try to go too fast. But if you don't try and get too clever then it is perfectly safe. So I am going to go with about 60% runnable on this one. The unique views more than make up for the strenuousness of the route. You will see bits of Cape Town like you have seldom seen it before.

    Long Route:
    As above and then a 2km slog up Suikerbossie Hill (100% Runnable), a short walk up the contour path, about a 1 - 2 km run along the contour path, walk up the Waterfall Ravine. 100% run to the top of Llandudno Ravine and then a technical run / walk descent to Suikerbossie and 100% runnable for about 4km on tar back to the harbour.

    Start Place

    Hout Bay Harbour - inside the harbour itself, not at the beach car park before Mariner's Wharf.

    Start Time

    07h30

    SPECIAL NOTES TO THIS RUN
    1. I am going to ask the slower runners to do the Shorter Run unless we have an experienced sweep for the Long Route; OR the slower runners know the route well. If in any doubt, please email me for clarification.
    2. Would anyone be willing to sweep for the Short Route so that I am freed up to take the intermediate group on the Long Run ?
    3. Much of the route is single track so please let the faster runners through, especially on the technical descent.
    4. Please dress according to the weather - very important if its cold and wet.
    5. There should be no problem with water now as we are running through clean water areas.
    6. If you are doing the Long Route, some extra nutrition may be required. Please bring an energy snack of some sort.
    7. I would like to do the Long Route as a pack run so this may require a little patience form the faster group (unless we can find a fast leader).
    8. YAY ! No car admin required !
    9. Does anyone know what time Dunes opens on a Saturday. Optional brunch at Dunes after the run ?


    Final details later in the week.