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.