Monday, June 29, 2009

SATURDAY 4 JULY 2009: LEG 2 OF HBTC

Congratulations to all who ran the Groot Constantia race on Saturday. And once again, well done to Katya Soggot who cleaned up in the ladies section (and Joe Newbert for cleaning up by sweeping the back of the field - AGAIN). It looked like a lot of fun, even though I was relegated to the sideline. I have ticked off a number of names on the attendance list but if there is anyone who hasn't emailed me yet to confirm your attendance, then please email me a reminder that you ran and I will do the necessary.

SATURDAY 4 JULY 2009

Practice time is starting to run out for the Hout Bay Trail Challenge. Whilst many of you may not have got into the official race, you might still want to join us on the rehearsal runs just to check out the course. This coming weekend we are going to be tackling Leg 2 from Suikerbossie to Constantia Nek. I was going to include Leg 3 from Constantia Nek to Hout Bay Harbour but I figured that we still have time to fit in both other Legs still. Anyone wanting to carry on to do Leg 3 this weekend is perfectly welcome to do so though.

But Leg 3 can be scheduled for 11 July and a re-run of Leg 1 for 18 July.

The Route for Leg 2

This is an "extract" from the race guide, but you will notice that none of the Checkpoints are indicated because Claire likes to keep these a well guarded secret until Race Registration and briefing:

We will start at the “Public Footpath” just outside the Ruyteplaats gate. Follow the Suikerbossie Restaurant fence line upwards until you find the path on the left leading up the mountain. Follow this path until you 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. 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 itself is initially unclear, however it has been well marked with cairns (little man-made piles of rock), so keep a look out for them. 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. This is your signal to take the path to your right along the “old railway track” towards Woodhead Dam. Upon following this path, as you approach some tall trees and a few huts, look out for a path to the right. This leads directly to the wall of the dam which you run across.

On the far side of the dam you encounter the concrete jeep track. Turn right onto the jeep track and stick to this until you start the proper descent of the mountain. You pass two dams on your left, the larger Victoria Dam and the smaller Alexandra Dam. Then you approach a stone cottage on your left and another dam, the De Villiers Dam, on your right. Thereafter the road starts dropping steeply down to the south-west and then suddenly hits a hairpin bend to the left which you follow. Just after the hairpin there is a “shortcut” path off to the right. But experience has revealed that this is not really a shortcut. Stay on the road where you can run much faster and you will beat anyone who takes the shortcut. If you stay on the road, which is then intermittently gravel and concrete, you come to another hairpin to the right, followed by a tight zig-zag and then continues down to the south-west. When you get to the next major hairpin to the left, look out for a path dropping off to the right. This is a “must-do” shortcut which brings you out at the gate at Constantia Nek. Run down the tar road and into the carpark at Constantia Nek .

Start Place

The parking area just outside the Ruyteplaats housing development just below Suikerbossie Restaurant. For anyone unfamiliar with the area:

Approach from Southern Suburbs / Hout Bay (you surely know where the Suikerbossie hill is; notorious on the Pick 'n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour) - drive up Suikerbossie Hill towards Llandudno. Just before yo get to the top of the hill on the Hout Bay side, there is a little road off to the right which goes to the Suikerbossie Restaurant (sign posted). Turn into the road which swings left almost immediately and you will see the gates to Ruyteplaats straight ahead of you and a parking area on your left.

From Camps Bay - just after you have passed Llandudno and crested Suikerbossie, look out for the turn on your left to the Suikerbossie Restaurant. Turn into the road which swings left almost immediately and you will see the gates to Ruyteplaats straight ahead of you and a parking area on your left.

Start Time

As close to 07h30 as possible - car dropping may mean a slight delay - see below.

Distance

Approximately 14km.

Time Out on the Moutain

Despite the relatively short distance, it still takes me about 2 hours to do this Leg when I am racing it. So at an easier pace I would count on at least 2 1/2 hours. Those at the back on Saturday could be looking at 3 to 3 1/2 hours (including rest stops).

Sweat Factor

I will split this run up into chunks for the purposes of rating:

Suikerbossie to the top of Llandudno Ravine - TOUGH ! This is mostly fast walking. 5% runnable at best.

Top of Llandudno Ravine to the Woodhead Dam - MODERATE. 70% runnable at least. Tough climb at Grootkop.

Woodhead Dam to Constantia Nek - EASY. 100% Runnable.

Car Administration

You will have noticed that we are starting and ending in different places so we need cars at both ends. I would like to suggest the following: anyone coming from City Bowl / Atlantic Seaboard / Hout Bay to go straight to the start unless you really want to leave a car at the finish. Anyone coming from Southern Suburbs / Rhodes Drive / Constantia Main Road approaches to Constantia Nek - please meet me at Constantia Nek at 07h15 just to makes sure we have some cars at the finish to give lifts back to the start.

CAN I ASK THAT IF YOU INTEND RUNNING THIS ROUTE ON SATURDAY PLEASE RSVP TO ME BY EMAIL SO THAT I GET AN IDEA OF HOW MANY CARS WE HAVE.

Special Points of Mention
  1. Carry some water at least although there should still be lots of clean water on the mountain.
  2. Dress according to the weather. If there is low cloud or wind, things can get quite nasty on top of the mountain. That windroof / waterproof top could be very important.
  3. If there is low cloud on top of the mountain, please stay in groups. Its very easy to lose your way in the clouds.
  4. Don't exhaust yourself on the initial climb. Save some energy for the SUPERB trail running on top of the mountain.
  5. No swearing on the way up.
  6. Don't forget to RSVP if you intend running so that we can get enough cars sorted.
  7. Now go back to the beginning of the Route Descrition and re-read.


Have a wonderful week.

Friday, June 26, 2009

GENERAL UPDATE

Over the last week I have had quite a number of people joining the email group so I thought I would mention a few things before wishing you well for the weekend.
  1. A quick reminder that this weekend's "official" run is the Eden Campus / New Balance 12km Trail Race in Groot Constantia. If anyone is still looking for the details, please drop me an email before 12h00 today and I will send you the race flyer with all of the details.
  2. To be eligible for our acsis VOB New Balance Trail Shoe Voucher lucky draw, all you need to do is participate in 5 of our acsis VOB Saturday Runs or an approved substitute run (like this weekend's race) over each two month period. The current period is running from 1 June to 31 July. Anyone (not just acsis VOB members) who meets this requirement qualifies for the lucky draw. But the onus is on you to make sure that your participation is accurately recorded in the list that I have at the start of each run. Please tick your name off or email me to confirm that you have participated. Do not rely on me remembering. For this weekend, please email me AFTER you have run the race and I will tick your name off. Don't do it BEFORE because experience has shown that quite often, Friday night takes its toll and that race just doesn't seem worth it when the hangover is screaming at you on Saturday morning. THE HONOUR SYSTEM APPLIES.
  3. I have attached the explanatory notes relating to the acsis VOB organised trail runs to help newcomers make sense of the apparent chaos. I have also attached a list of trail running guidelines and suggestions for those new to the sport. It is a compilation of suggestions from many different people and I always welcome new suggestions that I can add to it. You can always find these on the acsis VOB website (www.vob.co.za).

UPCOMING DEVELOPMENTS RE acsis VOB TRAIL RUNNING

From next week I will be free of the constraint of having to rely on work internet access which prevents me from accessing Sports Websites and Google Earth. So from then on I should be able to provide more race and event information relating to trail running as well as download more interesting information relating to our runs which I can email around. Look ! I'm excited about it anyway......

WEEKDAY TRAIL RUNS WITH acsis VOB IN THE SUMMER

Once the longer summer evenings come around again, we are going to be introducing a Tuesday Evening Trail Run from the acsis VOB clubhouse (mainly) at about 6pm. All comers welcome. These runs will focus on the Constantia Green Belts, Cecilia Forest, Kirstenbosch, the Constantia Vineyards and Tokai Forest. The idea is to supplement the current offering of the Celtic Harriers Thursday Evening Run and the Wednesday CRAG Run without competing with them or detracting from them. I will announce more information on these runs closer to the time. These runs will be in addition to the Saturday morning runs which will continue all year round.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2009: GROOT CONSTANTIA RACE

I trust you all had a wonderful weekend and managed to squeeze in a trail run in some form or another.

For all of you who ran Old Fishermans Trail Challenge, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I think everyone will agree that the awesome weather made even better than it was before. A very successful event. Well done Claire and the Sports4U Team. As many have commented, the route is a completely different prospect when you are racing it to when you are doing it as a training run. I am not ashamed to say that I am still hobbling around a bit today. I saw many regulars out on the route and ran most of the course with a couple of you. I know more or less what our time was but have no idea of the positions. The only things I know for sure is that I finished and that Katya Soggot, that young lady who did the rehearsal run with us two weeks ago and ran Leg 1 of Hout Bay Trail Challenge last week, won the Ladies Race in approximately 2h 04 mins. I am speechless ! I had no idea that there was such speed amongst us, except for Dain, of course. WELL DONE KATYA !

SO, if you did the race and want your name ticked off on the register (towards the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw) then please email me to remind me that you ran. Julie S I have yours already and I have ticked off the names that I remember but I'm sure I will have left some out by mistake.

I now have the list from Margaret and Tony's Newlands Forest Run. Once again I would like to thank them for taking this on. I have had great feedback on it and apparently it went very well.
This coming weekend:

Disappointingly (for me) I can't do my usual waffle on the course. The official run for the group is going to be the Eden Campus New Balance Trail Race in Groot Constantia on Saturday morning. I have the race flyer if anyone would like me to email it through. Let me know. I have no idea what the course is so I can't be of any help whatsoever, I'm afraid. But it sounds like it should be a great one. I hope to see lots of you there.

Although I can''t post the race flyer on the blog itself, there have been some developments around the blog. It can now also be accessed through the acsis VOB website (www.vob.co.za), as a seperate page off the main home page. I can't tell you exactly how, as I don't have access to sports websites from work, but Richard Lange, the webmaster, says you can click on the link. By doing it this way, you can access extra trail running information such as the trail running tips document etc. I will ask Richard if he can post race flyers from time to time. But bear in mind that the "extras page" won't be updated as frequently as the blog itself.

That's all for now but I dare say I will be in contact later in the week again.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Monday, June 15, 2009

SATURDAY 20 JUNE 2009: NEWLANDS FOREST

This coming weekend it is Old Fishermans Trail Challenge time again. Well done to all of those who got in. Never mind if you didn't, we still have a run planned for you this weekend. Margaret Möller and Tony Miles have very kindly offered to lead a run in the beautiful Newlands Forest area. Margaret will take the faster group and the Tony will take a gentler paced group.

Please would you treat these runs as pack runs and stay in your selected pace group as this is an area which has seen "incidents" in the past. Admittedly these have been incidents involving people walking on their own but one can never be too careful. Its such a pity that we have to resort to these warnings but the area is so spectacular that we just can't miss out on running here.

This is also an area where its quite easy to take a wrong turn (as we discovered a few weeks ago). Margaret and Tony know the area well so please stick with them.

The Route

It is a combination of the Plumpudding Hill route and the Silvertree Trail route run by the Celtic Harriers group led by Patrick Cox in the summer. From the carpark at the Newlands Forestry Station / Helipad the run will go past Rhodes Memorial and up Plumpudding Hill, which is a nice 800m little climb (distance run, not height). We will stay on the top level back towards the Helipad again where those wanting a shorter run can cut left to the parking while the rest continue on a lovely undulating circuit through Newlands forest, into Kirstenbosch and back. It is a circular route made up of two loops. Those who want to do a short run can just do the first of the loops as described above as the groups come back to Newlands Forest before heading out again to Kirstenbosch.

The run is a wonderful mixture of very good quality gravel road / jeep track and some lovely, non-technical single track in some of the most beautiful sections of the Table Mountain National Park.

Start Place

Newlands Forestry Station / Helipad Car Park on Union Avenue.

Start Time

07h45 sharp.

Distance

+- 16km for the full route

+- 8 for the short route

Running Time

Approx 2 hrs for the full and 50mins for the short cut.

Exertion Index

Whilst the quality of the underfoot conditions make this route 100% runnable in theory, there are some testing hills in both loops that will really give you a good workout and you may find yourself running so slowly up these that you may as well walk and enjoy it. Generally there is a regroup at the top of each hill.

Points to Note
  1. As mentioned before, please stay in your groups for this one, for safety sake.
  2. Carry your own water and a snack if you are doing the longer route.
  3. Dress appropriately for the weather. That waterproof jacket comes in very handy when you stop for a break, just keeping you warm.
  4. Please take a tip for the car guard.
  5. A big thank you to Margaret and Tony for stepping up to take this run. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TRAIL RUNNING CALENDAR FOR JUNE 2009

Please check out the following updates concerning our Saturday Trail Running Schedule for the rest of June:

Saturday 13 June 2009 Karbonkelberg / Suther Peak as already announced.

Saturday 20 June 2009 Because of the running of the Old Fisherman's Trail Challenge on this weekend there is no official acsis VOB run. But I know that many people may not have got into the event so if someone wants to put there hand up and organise an informal run somewhere else then I am happy to help facilitate this by emailing it to the group and posting it on the blog. Just email me and let me know.

Saturday 27 June 2009 I am again spared having to organise a run because a nice little event has fallen right into my lap. It is a 12km race at the Groot Constantia Wine Estate. I have the details in the form of a race flyer which can be emailed through to you on request. I really encourage runners to support these events and help the controlled, constructive growth of our sport. If anyone has feedback on the last one which took place at Nitida then I would welcome this and will circulate the details too. Also, this event is sponsored by New Balance who provide a lot of wonderful support and sponsorship to acsis VOB. So, as always, we also encourage runners to support New Balance.

July 2009 I will actually have to get off my backside again and start organising some runs. So we will start doing some serious rehearsals for Hout Bay Trail Challenge which happens later in the month. Details to follow soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2009: KARBONKELBERG / SUTHER PEAK

Its just under two weeks to OFTC and the excitement is really beginning to build. However, I think we've seen enough of Blackburn Ravine now until race day. I have decided on a shorter, slightly more technical run this coming weekend so as to:
  • Save the legs for the following week;
  • Get everyone thinking about life after OFTC i.e. Hout Bay Trail Challenge; and
  • Get in a bit of technical downhill running practice.

So we will be tackling a large portion of Leg 1 of the Hout Bay Trail Challenge up Karbonkelberg and Suther Peak. Of the three legs of HBTC this is the one that is most difficult to work out if you aren't familiar with the route. And we haven't run it since about October / November last year.

THE ROUTE:

We will start outside the Hout Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) as we did last week. We exit the main car gate to exit onto Harbour Road. Once out in Harbour Road we turn left and cross over to the other side of the road We proceed along the road until we come to some palm trees on the right. Between two of the palm trees there is 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. We turn right into the tar road (Marlin Crescent) and follow it round to the left and upwards. Then we turn right into Bayview Road. 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 us 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 and we will be using these. But they are not as easily found as one might imagine and that is why we will rehearse them.

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 we will be plagued by thick sea sand but then again, you can't have everything. And it is a worthwhile short cut. It will eventually intersect with the road again where we turn left and keep following it upwards. At this point the road is seriously eroded and as we continue upwards it is full of dongas. It narrows, 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. We pass these buildings and look for the path that leads to the old Radar Installation. 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 we 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. This is the way to Suther Peak.

The path descends into and traverses a beautiful valley ahead of us which is normally very wet under foot in winter. Expect wet feet here. We 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 of fynbos 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. We scramble our way upwards and through roots, undergrowth and low hanging branches and into a small forest of yellowwood trees. We continue up the slope and almost as we crest the slope / peak the path turns off 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. The path is not clear but is marked by cairns. We just follow these cairns down to the saddle between Karbonkelberg and Klein Leeu Koppie – the top of the sand dunes. Cross the sand dunes to the brick paved road. At this point we have to abandon the official route as it enters Private Property that is only runnable on the day. Instead we will run back into the dune field on the Hout Bay side and run down the dunes to the houses in Hout Bay and work our way back through the residential area and back to the harbour.

STARTING PLACE:

Hout Bay Harbour Car Park i.e. inside the harbour.

STARTING TIME:

08h00 (it is just about mid-winter, after all).

DISTANCE:

About 11km. There is no shorter run. This is short.

TIME ON THE MOUNTAIN:

Last time the back markers came in at around 2h30min, despite the short distance.

SWEAT FACTOR:

I can email (on request) anyone the route profile to give you an idea of what you'd be in for. But don't be put off by the profile; the scale is exaggerating the severity. 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.

SPECIAL POINTS:

  • Carry enough food and water for at least 2 1/2 hours. You never know when you're going to twist an ankle (or worse) and have to spend extra time out there.
  • Please dress for cold weather running. Although we must be owed at least one morning of warmer weather by now.......surely !
  • Remember that I am carrying a basic medical kit in case anyone needs to be patched up.
  • Hopefully there will be other runners who know the route and can lead the faster runners. If not, remember that I need to stay in touch with the slowest runner on the day. So, once again, I can give directions up to a point but when things start looking unfamiliar, don't be brave and wing it, rather come back and fetch me and get the next instalment of directions.
  • Remember to tick off the attendance register at the start.
  • Bring sense of humour.


See you on Saturday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

UPDATE FOR SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2009

I regret to advise that I will not be able to run the OFTC Rehearsal Route tomorrow 6 June 2009. I have picked up a cold and it would be silly to try.

HOWEVER:

I will be at the start in the Hout Bay Harbour at 07h45 to do the New Balance Trail Shoe Lucky Draw. I can also give a last minute briefing to those who don't know the route.

I can also do the following if needed:
  • meet the runners at East Fort and show those in doubt the right path and road to take to get into Blackburn Ravine;
  • meet runners at the dam in Silvermine to make sure everyone has got through Blackburn safely; and
  • meet runners at the Silvermine East gate (Gate 2) and give final briefing of the path to take to Echo Valley for those who don't know the way and have fallen behind those who do know the way.;
  • be available on cell phone to give instructions to those who get lost.

Can I suggest that anyone who has any doubt as to the route, program my cell number, 0823210299 into their phone and carry it with in a waterproof bag. But bear in mind there is no cell phone reception in a lot of the Silvermine area after cresting Blackburn Ravine. So don't rely on it.


I would also suggest printing out the route description and carry it with you (for reference if you take a wrong turn).


The runners who do know the route run in the faster / intermediate group.

There is some fairly heavy weather forecast for the weekend so it may be prudent for those who don't know the route and feel that they cannot keep up with the faster / intermediate group to consider NOT RUNNING tomorrow. I am very sorry about this but if there is low cloud and cold, wet conditions then things can get quite hairy up in the mountains if you end up on your own.

For those of you who are going to run, please be prepared for wet, cold conditions. If you are prepared for it then it can be extremely exhilarating running in that weather and I am bleak at missing out on it. Please try and regroup a little more often than normal just to make sure that the slower runners can at least see you and the path you are following.

Rod, please would you pass this on to the CRAG runners. They probably all know the route anyway so it would be very helpful to have their experience out there too.

Once again, sorry everyone, but I will see you at the start anyway.

Monday, June 1, 2009

SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2009: OFTC REHEARSAL

WINTER TRAIL SERIES ONLINE ENTRIES

These open today at 12h00 so don't miss out. This superb series gives you the opportunity to run some route you seldom get to run so get in quickly. Check out the details on http://www.trailseries.co.za/ .

NEW BALANCE TRAIL SHOE LUCKY DRAW

For the newcomers, we have a lucky draw every two months for a superb pair of New Balance Trail Shoes which New Balance have generously sponsored. All you need to do in order to qualify for the draw is to attend 5 of our trail runs over each two month period. The new period starts on 1 June 2009 and ends on 31 July 2009. The draw for the last period will take place this coming Saturday.

You don't have to be an acsis VOB club member to qualify. You just have to have done 5 runs. So if you wonder why I rush around like a madman trying to get everyone to tick off the register before each run, this is one of the reasons. The other reason is that I need to know who is out there so we don't leave anyone behind. So please make sure you tick the register before each run.

SAFETY WARNING

Especially bearing in mind where we are running this weekend, please note that there have been two MORE mugging incidents in the Silvermine East area. One near the Amphitheatre and one at the Waterfall. One of them was at gun point. So please make sure that you remain in groups of MORE THAN TWO OR THREE. Hopefully the volume of people in our group will deter muggers and generally the incidents have occurred in the afternoon but don't rely on this. Stay in groups of 5 or more. Whilst it is often wise to run with a safety spray of some sort if possible, please bear in mind that a gun beats a spray every time so don't anything silly unless you are seriously threatened with harm.

SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2009 - THE OFTC REHEARSAL

The Route

This is in a seperate Word document. I will paste it as a separate posting a little later. Or drop me an email and I will mail it to you.

Now there is an outside chance that I may not be able to attend the run this coming Saturday (negotiations still under way) but there will definitely be some participants who know the way well. However, they may not have my level of paranoia in making sure that everyone finishes and is off the mountain. This is because they don't face a sound thrashing by the acsis VOB Committee if they lose someone along the way. The route instructions which I have attached are pretty comprehensive so may I suggest that you print them out and carry them with you on the run. There are quite a few places where you can go wrong so I also suggest that you give the route description a good read beforehand, and for those of you with a vivid imagination, try and picture the descrition in your mind. Its always seems to help me.

I would also suggest that you try and carry all of the items you would be required to carry in the race itself: food and water, waterproof jacket, medical kit, safety/space blanket, whistle and compass. Also, try adhering to the race dress requirements of thermal base layers etc........you will be so glad you did. Being dressed properly makes a MASSIVE difference.

Start Time

08h00

Start Place

Hout Bay Yacht Club (see the attachment too for how to get there)

Finish Place

Fish Hoek Sailing Club (Fish Hoek Beach). Although I'm sure you will find a wayward bunch who will prefer to finish at The Brass Bell.

Distance

About 21 km

Short Route

You could run either from the start (HBYC) to the dam at Silvermine (about 8km) or even Gate 1 Silvermine (about10km) and get someone to collect you OR get someone to drop you at the dam at about 09h30 and you run to the finish and get them to collect you there.

Time

Count on 2h 30min for the faster runners, bearing in mind that you are not racing the course. This is a practice run..........its supposed to be FUN.......

At least 3 hours plus for the slower runners.

Sweat Factor

I would call the route about 75% runnable to the average runner. The first section to the base of Blackburn Ravine (i.e. East Fort) is 100% runnable.

Blackburn Ravine is about 5% runnable.

Top of Blackburn to Ridge Peak is 100% runnable. Then a short walk / climb to the Amphitheatre and then 100% runnable to the finish.


Important Points
  1. MOST IMPORTANT: you will need to organise your own transportation for getting back from the finish to your car at the start. Hook up with some mates, partners, spouses......whatever.......and make sure you have your lifts sorted before you start.
  2. Carry your own water and food.
  3. Stay in groups for safety.
  4. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
  5. Please tred carefully i.e. don't fall and more importantly, don't damage the environment or run where you are not supposed to. Don't take illegal shortcuts.
  6. No swearing on the way up Blackburn Ravine (as if...). You know you'll want to ........
    TICK THE REGISTER.


Hopefully see you there.