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.