Friday, April 30, 2010

SATURDAY 1 MAY 2010 - NOORDHOEK BEACH RUN

SATURDAY 1 MAY 2010 - NOORDHOEK BEACH TO LONG BEACH AND BACK


Start Time and Place

Ready to run by 07h00 from the main Noordhoek Beach car park on the Chapman's Peak side of the beach.


Route

For ONCE it will be virtually impossible to lose anyone. I know I shouldn't say that as some trail runners have a remarkable ability to get lost in just about any environment, so I am going with "virtually impossible". It's just SO simple. Start in the car park and run down onto the beach and to the "harder" sand on the water's edge. Turn left and run along the beach, eventually passing the wreck of the Kakapo on the left, all the way to the rocks at the end of the beach. I suspect that the distance to this point is about 4,5km. We proceed over the rocks and thicker sand and eventually get onto hard sand of Long Beach in Kommetjie. Run to the end of the beach where there is a toilet block block / changing room area where you can top up on water (or do the opposite). Then we turn and run back the same way. Although it is an out-and-back, the views are remarkably different in each direction.

Now for veterans of the Surfers Challenge and also those who are not easily fooled, there is the question of tides. It is full moon tonight so we are in spring tides right now and and only half way to neaps on Saturday. Low tide is at about 05h00 and high tide at about 11h00 so we will be running at about half tide too. I am not guaranteeing it but we should find some quite hard sand to run on. So it should be a reasonably comfortable run (and no-one can see my fingers crossed behind my back).


Distance

About 12km for the full run but you can turn at any point.


Running Time

Add between 15 - 30 secs / km to your normal road running pace and multiply by the distance. But I reckon 1,5 - 2 hours (maximum) should do it.


Difficulty

Easy to moderate, depending on the consistency of the sand. It's different every single time. And I have never found the legendary "quicksand".


Notes


For once I am not going to whine too much about water. I will have a good hit at the start and then drink at Long Beach. Maybe carry a bit if you are an avid water drinker.

Clothing. If its cold and windy then I would recommend carrying the normal wind-proof / water-proof and thermal base layers. But if it is anything like last weekend then its road type gear for me.

Shoes. Unless you are a hard-core "kaalvoet" runner, don't be tempted to try and run this barefoot. That sand does horrible things to your feet after a while. Wear your trail shoes or even road shoes will be fine.

Sunblock and a cap would be recommended.

Bring cozzie if its a nice day. Leap into the icy waves and chase that lactic acid out of your legs. But please be aware of strong currents and the odd shark or two.

Breakfast at the Food Barn in the Noordhoek Farm Village afterwards for anyone who is keen.

Please sign the register at the start.

Please be aware that trail running is inherently riskier and more dangerous than road running. You are participating in these runs voluntarily and whilst acsis VOB and the organisers of the runs take all reasonable precautions to ensure runner safety, it can never be fully guaranteed. To this end, acsis VOB and the organisers personally cannot be held liable for claims relating to injuries, disabilities and deaths, inter alia, that may occur during these events. You are participating entirely at your own risk. Please ensure that you are medically fit to be participating and make sure that you are properly kitted out for each particular run so as not to place yourself at undue risk.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MUIZENBERG / KALK BAY LOOP - 24 APRIL 2010

You will have use a bit of imagination with this one as this is a Gregg Sneddon-designed course. Whilst it is in more or less the same area as last week (Silvermine East), it is a very different circuit and promises to be an exciting run. Whilst Gregg is the run leader, being the one who knows the course, I will be there to assist and make sure we don't lose anyone or that the Walkers don't end up in the situation they were in last week - Fay tells the story best.

So this email may be short on exact details but we will be in attendance on the morning with abundant enthusiasm ensuring that everyone is looked after and comfortable with the run we are doing.

START TIME AND PLACE

07h15 at the Parking Area just inside Gate 2 Silvermine East. The gate only opens at 07h00 (if we're lucky). For those of you who are outside the "Inner Circle of Trail Speak", this is the gate into the Silvermine Reserve which is on the Kalk Bay side of Ou Kaapseweg. Entry Fee is R5, regardless of Wild Card. In theory you could enforce your free entry with a Wild Card but, have a heart, and give the guy R5 as he keeps the cars safe.

I am also aware that there are runners from further afield to whom the Peninsula is still a complete mystery. If you are in this category and still wish to find the starting place, don't be shy, drop me an email and I will explain exactly how to get there. Here are the GPS co-ordinates anyway:

Silvermine:
x co-ord = 18.42105
y co-ord = -34.09813




THE ROUTE - Runners

Gregg's Honest Assessment:

From the car park..................."take it from there up to Higher Steenberg Peak then to Lower Steenberg Peak and then to Muizenberg and then to St James and then to Kalk Bay and we can then come back either via the Old Fishermans or via the path that comes up from the contour path that we were going to do the day I got you “lost”…no idea how long or far it is but I guess it will be at least 2.5 hours and anyone can bail at any stage back to the cars…"


DISTANCE, TIME & DIFFICULTY

Gregg is estimating 2 1/2 hours. I am guessing that this is a run of intermediate difficulty i.e. not a complete stroll in the park but also not a killer. I am also estimating distance at about 12km (up to a max of 15km) but there are lots of add-ons for those wanting a longer run.


THE ROUTE - Walkers

We will agree this on the morning but I will set about an 8 - 10km route along the same lines as above but this time I will actually discuss it with participants so that no abseiling will be required this week.


THE "PLEASE READ THESE AND TAKE SERIOUS NOTE OF" NOTES

PLEASE bring water. Even if it is cool. As well as an enrgy snack to stave off the low-blood sugar spins.

You will need a windproof / waterproof jacket. That wind can get really icy in Silvermine.

Bring Wild Card and / or some cash. Plus tip for car guard at Start / Finish.

Usual snake awareness should apply.

Sunblock is always good, even in winter, and especially for the long route.

Please appreciate that we are running through some ecologically sensitive areas so stick to the paths at all times.

Please sign the register before starting.

Please be aware that trail running is inherently riskier and more dangerous than road running. You are participating in these runs voluntarily and whilst acsis VOB and the organisers of the runs take all reasonable precautions to ensure runner safety, it can never be fully guaranteed. To this end, acsis VOB and the organisers personally cannot be held liable for claims relating to injuries, disabilities and deaths, inter alia, that may occur during these events. You are participating entirely at your own risk. Please ensure that you are medically fit to be participating and make sure that you are properly kitted out for each particular run so as not to place yourself at undue risk.

Monday, April 12, 2010

SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2010 - OLD FISHERMANS TRAIL (PART 1)

SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2010 - OLD FISHERMANS TRAIL (PART 1)

For those of you who have only ever run a "Down Run" Old Fishermans Trail Challenge (OFTC) and are about to tackle your first "Up Run" OR for those who don't know the route at all and will be racing it for the first time this June OR for those who are just curious to know the route for future purposes, we will be tackling what used to know as The First Leg when teams were still allowed. It has special significance to me as it was the first proper trail race I ever did and I swore never to do trail running ever again. What made it even worse was that I was doing it in a team and I arrived at the Silvermine Dam to find my second leg partner tapping her watch impatiently, enquiring whether I had got lost. That insult is still fresh in my mind.

NB: The "Up Run" is NOT simply the "Down Run" in reverse. So don't be fooled. There is a significant difference in the routes between Boyes Drive and the Silvermine Gate.


Start Time and Place

06h45 from the Parking Area just before the Fish Hoek Sailing Club. Enter the gates to the Fish Hoek Beach parking area (at the Simonstown end of the beach) and just follow the road that bears around to the left and follow it passed the Lifesaving Club and onto the Sailing Club. Park in the parking area on the right just before the club so that we don't annoy the sailors by taking up the parking. Plan B ONLY IF the gates to the beach are closed: if you are facing the gates, turn left and follow the line of the railway tracks back in the Kalk Bay direction until you get to a car park on the right. We can start from there although the parking is not as secure.


Route

We will set off along the beach in the direction of Kalk Bay. If the river at the end of the beach is flowing too strongly to leap across then we will do a shimmy off to the left, through the dunes, across the railway and onto the road. Turn right and follow the road around to Kalk Bay and then up Boyes Drive. As the road starts to flatten at the top of the first big hill we take the path / steps to the left into the mountains. Up the steps to WWWW (you will know what it is when you get there) and exit it on the eastern (Muizenberg) side and continue to climb on jeep track up to the plateau in Silvermine. At the first crossroad (Nellie's Pool) we hang a left and follow some very runnable jeep track for about 1 km and take a path of to the right which cuts out a big loop in the road but then rejoins the same road a bit further north west. Once we hit the road again we turn right and follow it (ignoring another road coming in from the right) all the way to the Silvermine Gate 2.

At this point, we exit the reserve onto Ou Kaapseweg where we turn right and cross the road, looking for a path on the left leading into Silvermine North. We follow this path until we reach gravel jeep track where we turn right and follow it to the left turn onto the Silvermine River Walk. We will run all the way up the River Walk to the Dam. We turn at the Dam and run back along the exact same route to the point where the short route runners will split off from the Long Route Runners (see below) and then we will follow them home.

Short Route and Walkers (SR & W)

SR & W will follow the exact same route up the point in the description above where we are on the "very runnable jeep track for about 1 km". Where the Long Route takes the path off to the right, the SR & W will continue on the jeep track for a short while longer until they come to a sign and path on the left which indicates the route to The Amphitheatre and Echo Valley. Take this path over to the Amphitheatre. If you don't recognise it when you get there then you have zero imagination. Exiting the Amphitheatre; upon entering The Amphitheatre, look in front of you and to your right and take the path exiting the Amphitheatre to Echo Valley. The important thing now is that you need to be progressing downwards (quite steeply). You will see several paths off to the side but don't be tempted to branch off to the side or upwards (like you will really want to....). There is one particular little intersection where the path drops down quite sharply where you need to keep left and downwards towards Kalk Bay. Very soon you will know whether you are on the right track or not because you should find yourself entering a heavily treed area and running on boardwalk. If you come to a sign saying “Sink Holes” you are on the wrong path. Turn around and backtrack for 50 meters. If you are not on boardwalk within 5 minutes after the Amphitheatre, turn around and retrace your steps to find where you went wrong. Follow that path (beautiful technical downhill running - great fun) back down to WWWW, down the steps you climbed up earlier and onto Boyes Drive, Main Road and onto Fish Hoek Beach.


Distance

Long Route: In excess of 20km (possibly as much as 24km)

SW & W: About 10km (which can be extended a little - to be discussed on the morning)


Running Time

Long Route: 3 1/2 hours

Short Route: 1h45 - 2 hours

Walkers: 3 hours


Difficulty

Generally quite, but not VERY, strenuous. Nothing that can't be cured by walking sections of it. Although the first half of each route is almost all uphill, the gradient is runnable, except the steps between Boyes Drive and WWWW.


Important Notes

PLEASE bring water. Even if it is cool. There is lots of uphill slogging which necessitates intake of liquids, even on cold days.

You will need a windproof / waterproof jacket. That wind can get really icy in Silvermine.

Bring Wild Card and / or some cash. We are entering TMNP Pay Areas. I speak subject to correction but I think Silvermine South is R5 and North is R15. If this is wrong then I will correct it in Friday's email. Plus tip for car guard at Start / Finish.

If its hot then bring cozzie for a dip at Fish Hoek afterwards (ankle depth is recommended for those who love sharks as much as I do).

Usual snake awareness should apply.

Sunblock is always good, even in winter, and especially for the long route.

Please appreciate that we are running through some ecologically sensitive areas so stick to the paths at all times. PS there are toilets at the gates of Silvermine South and North and at the Dam so there should be little reason to commit "environmental atrocities" en route.

Please sign the register before starting.


That's all for now.

Have a great week Everyone.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SATURDAY 10 APRIL 2010 - PIPE TRACK / CORRIDOR RAVINE / DAMS / KASTEELSPOORT

Start Time and Place

Still aiming at a 06h30 start from the car park at Kloof Nek.

From town, head straight up Buitengracht Street, which becomes Kloof Nek Road, to the very top of the hill. At the intersection at the nek turn left (and up) as if you were going to go to the lower cable station. But as you turn left, immediately on your left is a parking area. Take the second gate into the parking area, about 200m up the road and park next to the TMNP kiosk (for car safety).


Route

We head out along the Pipe Track for a nice runnable "flat" start for a change.

The Very Short Route will turn at Slangolie Ravine and head back to the cars (about 8,5 - 9kms of mostly flat running).

The rest of us continue across the stream of Slangolie and climb up through the trees to the contour path that takes us around to Corridor Ravine. We ascend Corridor Ravine which is arguably the easiest ascent of the mountain barring the Bridle Path. At the top we turn left (northwards) and follow the main path through the top of Slangolie Ravine and Woody Ravine. After Woody Ravine but before Kasteelspoort you will encounter Margaret's Cairn in the middle of the path. This is an artificial cairn of sandstone and cement with a little map on it. At this point the Long and Short Routes split.

The Short Route continues straight on to Kasteelspoort. At the sign, turn left and descend Kasteelspoort to the Pipe Track where you turn right and head back to the cars.

The Long Route. There are many options here. I simply intend to turn right at Margaret's Cairn and do a very runnable loop around the Dams. If there are any others who wish to do so, there are many other longer options and I am happy to advise either during the course of the week or on the morning if there are any more experienced runners who want something even longer. We return to the same route as the short route runners and follow them home.

The Walkers will follow either the Very Short Route or the Short Route depending on how they feel on the morning.


Distances

Very Short Route: About 8,5 - 9kms.

Short Route: About 11- 12km.

Long Route: About 15km.



Running Time


Very Short Route: About 75 - 90mins

Short Route: About 2 - 2 1/2 hours

Long Route: About 3 hours (max)



Difficulty

Very Short Route: Easy. Mostly flattish running but can be quite uneven underfoot in places.

Short Route: First half is easy, then steepish climb followed by undulating path which is reasonably strenuous with a technical descent down Kasteelspoort and
a flat run into the finish.

Long Route: Same as Short Route but with a few kilometres of lovely flat, runnable jeep track where you can really stretch your legs out for a good gallop.


Notes

Please carry water for everything other than the Very Short Route. At least 1 litre but more if its hot.

Medical Aid kit. I will be carrying one but will be on the Long Route. Please will as many people as possible carry a cell phone in case you need to call for the kit or for other help. Please also put my cell phone number into your phone: 0823210299.

Dress according to weather conditions but ALWAYS carry a windproof (preferably waterproof) top. It gets surprisingly cold and windy up there, even on a hot day. And weather conditions can change very quickly at this time of year.

Still keep an eye out for those ol' snakes on the path and when you use your hands on rocky areas, especially if its a warm day.

Have fun. Its not a race.

And of course, the usual CYOA: Please be aware that trail running is inherently riskier and more dangerous than road running. You are participating in these runs voluntarily and whilst acsis VOB and the organisers of the runs take all reasonable precautions to ensure runner safety, it can never be fully guaranteed. To this end, acsis VOB and the organisers personally cannot be held liable for claims relating to injuries, disabilities and deaths, inter alia, that may occur during these events. You are participating entirely at your own risk. Please ensure that you are medically fit to be participating and make sure that you are properly kitted out for each particular run so as not to place yourself at undue risk.


Have a great week Everyone.