Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FRIDAY 1 MAY 2009 - TABLE MOUNTAIN COUNTOUR PATH

I know many people will be running the SAD 1/2 Marathon on Friday but I am sure we will have enough takers for a nice easy run this coming Workers Day. In fact, for those of you who have been waiting for the opportunity to test your trail running legs out on something not too challenging then this is the ideal run to start on. Do not be intimidated by the Elevation Chart I have attached. We walk the first big hill and then you can avoid most of the others completely by taking one of the easy alternative routes. There is huge choice as to the distance you run - anywhere from 5km to 16km.

The Route:

Table Mountain Contour Path (north face - above city bowl).

We will start at the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road. From the cable station we head back along the tar road for a few hundred metres until we get to the path that leads up the start of Kloof Corner Ridge. We will follow this up to the contour path. Once we hit the contour path we proceed as before past the beginning of the India-Venster Ascent, and we will enjoy kilometres of easy single track running across the north face of Table Mountain. The first section is quite stony underfoot so trail shoes are a distinct advantage (although not strictly necessary). We cut across the base of India Ravine, Africa Ravine, Platteklip Gorge and The Saddle between TM and Devils Peak. From this point we start climbing gently around Devils Peak and over Oppelskop Ridge. Once over this Ridge we descent quickly towards Tafelberg Road but before getting to it we will resume running along the contour path (which branches off to the right) and have some more easy, comfortable path which comes out at The Kings Blockhouse, which will be a familiar to anyone who has run (Table Mountain Challenge) or mountain biked in this area.

This is where long route runners need to select and option:

Option 1: Turn at Kings Blockhouse, run about 1km back along the contour path and then descend onto Tafelberg Road for a nice easy 5km tar run back to the start; or

Option 2: Follow the gravel road down from the Blockhouse towards town, and descend that terrible hill that you have to run up on Leg 1 of Table Mountain Challenge. Then there is the somewhat daunting task of getting back up to Tafelberg Road. We will follow the Leg 1 route (in reverse) until the big intersection just before the river crossing. Here we will cut up left and follow the route which is taken by the VWS Trail Challenge (10km route) and we will pop out on Tafelberg Road at the big pine tree on the road at Platteklip Gorge. From here it is a 2km tar run back to the cars.

Distance:

If you do the full run:

Option 1: About 15km in total (including the tar).

Option 2: About 16km in total (15,9km as measured last time on Garmin 305). The distance isn't much further but there is a long tough hill in it (see the attached elevation chart between kms 11 and 14).

However, there are a number of escape routes along the way for those who would like a shorter run or for the slower runners who want to finish at the same time as the others:

- At Platteklip Gorge on the way out (this gives you about a 5km run);
- At The Saddle (this gives you about a 6 / 7km run); or
- After the descent on the far side of Oppelskop Ridge near the end of Tafelberg Road (this will
give you about a 10km run).

All escapes give you a short descent onto Tafelberg Road and an easy run along the tar back to the start.

Running Time:

For the full route,

Option 1: allow for a comfortable 1h 45 - 2 hour run.

Option 2: allow for 2h15 - 2h30 (including stops - it took us 1h 51min last time but I stopped my watch at the rest stops).

Start Time:

07h00 ready to run.

Sweat Index:

Option 1: Easy - 98% Runnable

Option 2: Moderate. Although it is mostly runnable there are some tough hills down in Deer Park that will surely make your legs burn.

Getting to the Start:

Once you drive to the top of Kloof Nek, take the road that leads up to the Lower Cable Station which is about 1,5km up this road. I would recommend pulling over on the left just before you get to the cable station and parking there. But be aware of the taxi rank. Do not park in taxi bays as even these taxi drivers are quite excitable and you could well find your car further down the slope in Deer Park than you would like on your return. But otherwise there are normally car guards all over the place so please remember to bring a tip for the guards. We will gather outside the cableway ticket sales office.

General Advice:

  1. Bring water with you as there is very little chance of any of the streams running at this time of year and anyway, drinking from the streams in this area is not recommended.
  2. Be aware of snakes, particularly the front runners. A good friend of mine had a close call with a large puffadder on the Pipe Track over the weekend. Contrary to popular belief, snakes in the Western Cape DO NOT hibernate in the winter, they are just less active.
  3. A reminder to the faster runners: on the way out along the contour path, after you have passed through Platteklip Gorge, you will run under a bit of a rock overhang and then the path splits. You will need to take the left path. You will be so glad you did. It appears to go down but this is not for long. The right hand path seems like the obvious choice but it soon climbs sharply, doubles back and then starts heading up the Saddle.
  4. Please tick the Attendance Sheet.
    Hope to see you out there.

Good luck to all those running the SAD and even more so to those running the VWS Trail Challenge on Sunday 3 May 2009 - see you there..........

Thursday, April 23, 2009

UPDATE FOR SATURDAY 25 APRIL 2009

The run on Saturday morning (25 April), led by Margaret Moller, will start at 06h45 from the car park at the entrance to the Newlands Forest where the forestry station / VWS Office / TMNP Office / Helipad is. If you are in any doubt about where this is then please drop me an email.

Just a reminder that it will be the Silvertree Trail route as run by the Celtic Trail Running group. For any that have not run it before, although it is not a long run in terms of distance (about 8kms, I think), it will still give you a solid workout and you will know that you have been for a run. It is on a good mixture of gravel road jeep track and single track and covers a beautiful part of the mountain that I seldom frequent on my Saturday runs. So its a good opportunity to check it out.

If you feel its too short then there is a good opportunity to extend the run on some very well laid out forestry roads and tracks.

The Monday run (27 April) on Lions Head / Signal Hill will start at 07h00 at the Kloof Nek car park.

Have a great long weekend everyone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UPDATE WITH MAY SCHEDULE

Because we have a busy few weeks coming up what with public holidays all over the place and loads of organised events and races, I thought I would just put together a brief schedule of acsis VOB TRAIL RUNS and then flesh them out later, closer to the time:
  1. This coming long weekend (25 - 27 April): Saturday 25 April, Margaret Moller will take an informal group from the Newlands forestry station. The route will be more or less the same as the Celtic route for The Silvertree Trail. Monday 27 April I will lead a group around Lions Head and Signal Hill from the Kloof Nek Car Park at 07h00 (see the details on the blog).
  2. 1 - 3 May 2009: On Friday 1 May we will do an EASY 12km along the Table Mountain Contour Path (front table overlooking CT). Start from the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg road. This is because there is the tough VWS Trail Challenge on Sunday 3 May (10km and 25km). Attendance at any of these three events gets you a tick on the attendance register. Please let me know (email), though, if you are running either of the VWS distances .
  3. 9 - 10 May. I am away this weekend and the feedback that I have received is that most people want to run The Milkwood 21km or 10km anyway. So, our official run for that weekend will be the Milkwood (either of the distances - see race flyer attached). Please email me if you run either of them and I will tick you off on the attendance list. I know its not a trail run but it would be great to support this excellent Harfield Harriers event. They are also a strong trail running club.
  4. Sat 16 May 2009 we start returning to some form of normality. I say "some form" because on this day I am planning on running the whole route of Old Fishermans Trail Challenge (22-23km). Its going to need some vehicle admin so please start giving this some thought. We will start from Hout Bay Yacht Club and finish at Fish Hoek Yacht Club. So I will need some people to meet me in Fish Hoek at 06h30 to leave some cars there and then give finishers a lift back to their cars in Hout Bay. I would suggest that short route candidates meet us at the Silvermine Dam at about 08h00 and run to the finish as the first leg from HBYC to the dam is more of a walk than a run (but feel free to do either).


    Good luck to those of you participating in the Mast Challenge this coming weekend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

MONDAY 27 APRIL 2009

THE ROUTE

We will start at the Kloof Nek Car Park and run run a little bit of tar road in The Glen to the first path that leads off to the right and onto Lions Head. This path leads gently downwards towards the houses in Clifton but where the path branches for the first time we will take the right hand fork which takes us over towards and above Bantry Bay. The left fork takes you down to Nettleton Road and Ave St Leon. So we follow the right hand path which skirts the houses for a while and then starts climbing back up towards the nek between Lions Head and Signal Hill. Just before the crest we turn left and start a long slow descent towards Springbok Road. Then, near Springbok Road we start heading up towards the right again. This is where things start becoming a little fuzzy for me as I have only checked this section from High Level Road. But essentially we will make our way around the side of Signal Hill to the Noon Day Gun on Signal Hill. From there, in the absence of any other path, we will head up the access road back to the crest of Signal Hill. Once we get to the top we will follow the track along the spine of the Lion almost as far a Kloof Nek again. The last little section will be a fast descent down the tar road to the Nek.

For those who are requiring a little more distance we can chat about a little stretch out along the Pipe Track, or Deer Park or the Table Mountain Contour Path. We can negotiate this on the day.


START POINT

Kloof Nek Car Park which immediately on your left as turn into Tafelberg Road (the one where the Lower Cable Station is) from Kloof Nek Road.

START TIME

07h00


DISTANCE

This is a shortish run. I would be surprised if it was any more than 10km. A straight run along the road from Kloof nek to the parking area on signal Hill and back is only 7,5km. We can extend it by agreement as mentioned above.


TIME ON THE LEGS

1,5 hours to get back to the cars at Kloof Nek PLUS any extra that we agree on if we decide on an extended version.


EXERTION INDEX

Moderate to easy. 80 -90% runnable.

OTHER FACTORS
A number of people have indicated that they are not doing any of the organised events on Saturday or Sunday and would be keen to fit in another trail run as well. What has been suggested is the possibility doing the Silvertree Trail Route being one of those that the Celtic Group does on Thursdays. It starts at the Forestry Station in Newlands Forest. If anyone is up for that in addition to the Monday run then please let me know and I will put you in touch with other interested parties.
I even have one runner who is so committed to their trails that they want to do an energising trail run on this Wednesday morning in order to get the voting "gees" going. If anyone is then let me know and I will put you in touch with the person. I will be working up the voting spirit by sleeping in.
For the Signal Hill Run, please carry some water as I don't tthink there is any on the mountain,
As always, if its looking cool then please carry a rain jacket.
Sunblock as ever.
Please make sure you tick your name off on the register.
MOST IMPORTANT FOR THIS RUN: Please please please stick together in groups. For most of our runs we expect a little bit of stretching out of groups. But I really must ask that we regroup more frequently on this run, particularly after we have reached the Noon Gun. We will be perfectly safe in groups but this is not the area where I would like runners to be alone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SATURDAY 18 APRIL 2009

THE ROUTE - CONSTANTIA NEK - CECILIA - KIRSTENBOSCH WITH A DIFFERENCE

Start at Constantia Nek carpark. Up the Bridal Path (road to the dams on the top) to just after the sharp zig zag where the road becomes concrete. Shortly after the zig zig there is a path off to the right. Admittedly I haven't been down this route since I was a student but I noticed recently that the path appears alive and well despite the eon that has passed. We will follow this path down to the intersection with the contour path on the border of Cecilia and Kirstenbosch (at the bluegum trees). We will then drop down into Kirstenbosch (just above the dam) and then resume our normal route past the bottom Skeleton Gorge en route to Window Gorge - up the steps to the contour path - follow the contour path back to Cecilia Forest and then take the upper forestry road (up the last big hill) where the road divides in the forest. At the top of the hill we will take the single track down to the lower forestry road. We then follow the lower road back towards the Nek but as the final sting in the tail we will take the beautiful little single track (just before "the Waterfall") back up to the upper forestry road and then a short fast descent to the carpark to finish off with.

START TIME

06H45

START PLACE

Constantia Nek Carpark

DISTANCE

Long Route: About 15km

Short Route: There are various shorter options (some easy, some tougher). I will see what the demand is before I commit to a short route. We will decide on the morning.

TOTAL TIME

2 hours.

SWEAT FACTOR

Moderate. 80% runnable but with some nice hills that will make some of that 80% a slow run for a while.


OTHER FACTORS
You will need to carry your own water. There is no guarantee of finding drinkable water on the mountain at this time of year. I wouldn't drink the water that is available there unless you are looking to lose a serious amount of weight in a very short space of time.
If the weather is looking dodgy then please carry a waterproof jacket (or at least a windproof/showerproof one). Bear in mind that for the upcoming winter trail challenges you will be required to carry, inter alia, a light WATERPROOF jacket so now would be a good time to acquire on and get used to carrying it on runs.
Bring your sunscreen.
Don't fall and hurt yourself.
Don't stand on the snakes. They don't like it and I promise you, you won't like it either.
Smile at the hikers.
CHECK YOUR NAME OFF ON THE ATTENDANCE REGISTER.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

EASTER WEEKEND UPDATE

Due to the fact that this coming long weekend is the Easter long weekend and that the Two Oceans Ultra and Half Marathons are being held on Saturday, there will be no acsis VOB Trail Run this weekend. We will resume activities on Saturday 18 April 2009 - details to follow soon.

Congratulations to our first New Balance Trail Shoe Voucher winner - JOE NEWBERT. Joe, I will give the voucher either at the club or on your next trail attendance. Once again, a big thank you to New Balance for this support. I encourage all trail runners to check out their great products and try them out.

The attendance register has already started in respect of the next voucher for the period 1 April to 31 May 2009. Remember that the reqirement is normally 5 attendances an acsis VOB Trail Runs over each two month period. However, because we have an official bye during this next two month period and there are so many long weekends when people are away, we have reduced the requirement to 4 (just for this one). It is your responsibility to ensure that you have ticked the register each week.

Good luck to everyone participating in the Two Oceans events this coming Saturday.