Monday, May 24, 2010

SATURDAY 29 MAY 2010 - KLOOF NEK / KINGS BLOCKHOUSE / NEWLANDS RAVINE

SATURDAY 29 MAY 2010: KLOOF NEK TO KINGS BLOCKHOUSE AND BACK VIA NEWLANDS RAVINE

Start Time and Place

07h15 from the car park at the top of Kloof Nek i.e. if you come up Kloof Nek Road (which begins life as Buitengracht Street) to the nek at the top, just before you start the descent into Camps Bay. From the nek you take the first road on your left which leads up to the lower cableway station. As you turn into that road, immediately on your left there is a parking area. The first entrance may still be closed, so take the second entrance on your left, about 200m further on. We park outside the TMNP/SANParks Information kiosk. Relatively safe parking area.


The Route

We will run up the tar road to the lower cableway station as a little warm-up and also to have easy underfoot conditions in the event that it is still a little dark. Just before the station we take the path off to the right and follow it under the line of the cables up to the contour path. A tough start but..........well, that's what happens when they put a mountain in your way.

We follow the relatively flat and easy contour path all the way to the King's Blockhouse on Devils Peak. There are one or two places where you can take a wrong turn but very few of them have fatal consequences. I will point them out before the start of the run. More importantly, for those who want a shorter, easier run, there are lots of points at which you can drop down onto the tar road (Tafelberg Road) below and then run back along it to the start.

At the Blockhouse (or at any time before this), the Short Route Runners and Walkers can turn and head back the way you came or (my personal favourite) drop down onto the road and really hammer it back along the tar although this can be a painful experience for those in true trail shoes. If you are thinking about the tar return trip then consider wearing road shoes for this run.

The Long Route Runners will drop down onto the contour path that continues around on the Newlands side of the mountain (as per Leg 2 of Table Mountain Challenge). We follow it as far as Newlands Ravine. We turn right into the ravine. Watch out carefully for the sign. It's quite obscure and last time the fast group missed it and this had some exhausting consequences. We ascend the ravine and follow the fairly confusing mess of paths across the Saddle and then drop down to the contour path again on the City side of the mountain, heading back the way we came. But at Platteklip Gorge we will drop down to, and cross, the tar road. At the Lone Pine we will again drop down in the park below the road and follow the jeep track over towards Kloof Nek. We finish with a short stretch of tar back to the cars.


Distances

Long Route : About 16 -18km (I will firm up on this on Friday though)

Short Route & Walk : About 12km at longest but there are many shorter, easy options. This is a GREAT run for new-comers and those looking for a gentle run.
Although the long route is not much longer, it is significantly tougher.


Running Time

Long Route : About 3 hours

Short Route : Up to about 2 hours

Walk : Up to about 3 hours


Difficulty

Long Route : Medium. Two tough hills (the start and Newlands Ravine) with lots of nice easy running in between. Sneaky little hill near the end.

Short Route & Walk : Relatively easy. Tough hill at the start but the rest is easy stuff.


Notes

I still suggest that people carry sufficient water (and energy snacks) to see them through. Whilst the water on Devils Peak is probably okay to drink, the recent ecoli scares in our rivers has got me thinking otherwise. But I suppose until I am proved wrong, I am happy to keep drinking the water. I would avoid the streams on Table Mountain though. Too many tourists performing unmentionable acts in that part of the world. Platteklip Gorge stream is a definite no-no.

The normal cold/wet weather gear rules apply, especially for the Long Route. Email me if you are in any doubt as to what you need.

In the vicinity of the Blockhouse, we watchful for dodgy characters and potential muggers. Stay in groups.

Sign the register before setting out.

Just a reminder: 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 individual 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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SATURDAY 22 MAY 2010 - PLUMPUDDING HILL AND SILVERTREE TRAIL COMBO FROM NEWLANDS FOREST

This is a good run for those who are new to trail running and / or have been doubting your ability to cope with it. Lots of jeep track with bits of single track thrown in. Nothing technical.


Start Time and Place

07h00 at the Newlands Forestry Station car park on Union Avenue. Its where the Volunteer Wildfire Services offices are as well as the fire-fighting Helicopter heli-pad is too. Let me know if you are in any doubt as to where it is.


The Route

The run consists of two different loops out from the starting point, of approximately 10km each (probably a bit less than 10km each in reality). Short route runners and walkers can bail after the first one. These are more or less the same loops that the Celtics Thursday Evening Trail Group runs in the summer.

The first loop initially heads towards Kirstenbosch but then curls back towards Rhodes Memorial and follows the upper forestry road to Plumpudding Hill on the Cape Town side of Rhodes Memorial but still well below the King's Blockhouse. On the other side of the PH beacon we descend a joint-jarring, quad-shattering hill to the lower road and a little single track back towards Newlands Forest. We drop back down to the car park and then head out on a loop towards Kirstenbosch.

This loop starts the same way as the first but instead of curling around back towards Rhodes Mem, we take a path off to the left which passes Lady Anne Barnard's Cottage, a little single track and some steps and then we are onto the gravel roads in Kirstenbosch. We climb a nauseating hill but then drop down through some beautiful indigenous forest and some undulations and then down into the top of the gardens themselves. We work our way back along a slightly lower route with a few smaller hill climbs and then a lovely downhill back to the cars.


Distance

Long Route : About 20km

Short Route & Walk : About 10km


Running Time

Long Route : 3 hours

Short Route : 1 1/2 hours

Walk : 2 1/2 hours(ish)


Difficulty

Whilst in theory this is 90% runnable, you may find there are one of two hills you would prefer to walk. I know I will be sorely tempted. Oh who am I kidding, of course I'll be walking them.

As stated previously, loads of easily navigable jeep track and some easy single track. Watch your feet nonetheless. This is a good run for those new to the sport but there is enough in it to give the experienced runners something to think about. Treat it as a speed session (as long as you know the way).


Notes

This run is in Newlands. If it rains anywhere, it will rain in Newlands. So watch the weather report and dress accordingly. Thermal base layers (get used to them) and a waterproof jacket.

Bring some water, especially if you are doing the long route.

Sign the register before setting out.

Remember that I have a medical kit in my Camelbak.

Put my cell number into your phone and call me if you're in trouble or lost.

Have a good time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

SILVERMINE HOMESTEAD TO BLACKBURN RAVINE AND BACK - CIRCULAR ROUTE

SATURDAY 15 MAY 2010: SILVERMINE HOMESTEAD TO BLACKBURN RAVINE AND BACK - CIRCULAR ROUTE

Start Time and Place



07h00 at the Environmental Centre just below The Homestead in the Silvermine Valley. This will sound a little nebulous to most runners who haven't run the Summer Trail Series Race from The Homestead. So this is how you get there:

If you are coming over Ou Kaapseweg from Constantia, you go about 2/3 of the way down towards Sun Valley and you get to the intersection at the Retirement Villages where you can turn right to go to Noordhoek. Instead of turning right, turn left onto a gravel road which runs down the valley towards the Clovelly Golf Course. Just before the gate through to the golf course you will find the Environmental Centre and Parking area on your left. This is where we will start from.

For more detailed instructions, drop me an email.



The Route



We will run straight up the valley in Silvermine East and up to the Waterfall, which should be looking pretty good at the moment. From there we will take the heartbreak jeep track up to the gate (Gate 2) of Silvermine East. Doesn't look like much of a hill but it hurts all the same. From the gate we cross over into Silvermine West. At the bottom of the River Walk, the Walking Group and Short Route runners can turn left and follow the Old Wagon Trail back to the cars. Alternatively they can proceed up the River Walk and join the Wagon Trail a bit higher up.


The rest of us and make our way up to the mountain bike car park, which we cross through. I'm not sure if trail runners are allowed to run through the car park but we'll give it a bash. Just to the east of the car park we take the jeep track north-westwards (up) to the point where the single track starts up onto Steenberg Ridge The Crags. We follow the scenic path along Steenberg Ridge where it joins the Elephants Eye Path. At that point we cut down onto the Silvermine Circular Jeep Track and head uphill towards the Blackburn Ravine path (the Stone Highway). At this point we have two options:

1. Take a slightly shorter route off to the left following the path around the amphitheatre above the Dam to where it rejoins the jeep track; or

2. turn right and follow the Stone Highway to the top of Blackburn Ravine and then take the Panoramic Path to the left and follow it until it rejoins the jeep track.

The option we select on the day will depend on various factors such as weather, appetite for a little more distance and the presence of someone who has done the Panoramic Path before. To be honest, I have never run it and only know of its existence. But I am very keen to find it and run it.


Once back on the jeep track we do the steep descent and then cut right onto a bit of single track (the path we took in the other direction on Gregg's Mystery Tour a few months back) which takes us down to the Old Wagon Trail where we turn right and thunder on down that road to Ou Kaapse Weg. Cross carefully and jog down to the cars.





Walking Group

We could very well be without the services of Fay on Saturday. So please would Walkers RSVP to me during the course of the week so I can see if there is a demand for a walk.

One word of caution to the Walkers who bring dogs. You need a Wildcard in order to walk dogs in Silvermine West. If you don't know what a Wild Card is, drop me an email.


Distance



Short Route and Walkers: Options between about 6 - 10km to be decided on the day.



Long Route: Between 15 and 20kms.



Running Time


Walkers: 2 1/2 - 3 hours



Short Route: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on option taken



Long Route: Allow 3 - 3 1/2 hours (although the Fast Group can trim that fairly significantly)





Difficulty



There is significantly more uphill this week. Essentially we are climbing from the start all the way to wherever we choose to turn in Silvermine West. Then there is some superb stuff at the top and undulations and fast downhill stuff all the way from the top down to the finish.



I would call it 80% runnable with an option to walk lots more of it if you are not a big uphill fan.





Notes


We should be starting to get some good clean flowing water in the streams by now but I always advise that you carry a little tap water of your own; particularly if you don't like drinking out of streams.

SERIOUSLY!!!!! Watch the weather carefully and dress appropriately. Thermal base layers. You would be crazy not to have a waterproof jacket too. And preferably a space blanket. You'll need these items as compulsory requirements for longer winter races so you might as well buy 'em and get used to carrying 'em.

Cell phones won't work in many parts of Silvermine so lets just keep an eye on each other for safety sake. We will have a few regrouping / head counting sessions.

Please sign the attendance register before starting.

Wild Cards are necessary (compulsory for dog walkers) or cash in the region of R20.
Michelle and Jana have added to my list of winter running items: gloves and a small lightweight torch. Great ideas, thanks.



That's all for now. Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CONSTANTIA NEK - CECILIA FOREST - KIRSTENBOSCH

SATURDAY 8 MAY 2010 - CONSTANTIA NEK - CECILIA FOREST - KIRSTENBOSCH


Start Time & Place

07h30 at Constantia Nek car park. If anyone needs details on how to get there.

Special request: we may well have a runner (+ friend) joining us who is a new arrival in CT and is, as yet, without transport. So if there is anyone coming from, or through, the Obs area and would prepared to pick them up then please let me know.


Route

Starting at the Nek we will head up into the forest along the gravel road. At the first split in the road we keep RIGHT and start dropping towards Rhodes Drive. At the next intersection, keep right again and then left just before the exit gate and follow the single track parallel to Rhodes Drive. We regroup in the Cecilia Forest Car park and then head up straight through the trees bearing right to find the path to the stream on the right. Then turn left onto that path and follow it up until it strikes the jeep track. At the jeep track, turn right and follow it over to Kirstenbosch, below the reservoir and then a regroup and a drink of water at the top gate of Kirstenbosch (at Klaasens Road). From there we follow the brick road straight up towards the mountain. After the short, sharp climb just after the water fountain on the left, turn right on the road and run towards Newland. The first road left is to be ignored by runners but the Walkers may elect to take this option. At the next split in the road, keep left.

Shortly after the split you will see the Skeleton Gorge path on the left. Walkers or very short route runners may take this path up to the contour path, whereafter they turn left and head back towards Constantia Nek. But the runners continue along the road towards Newlands. At the next split, keep left and keep going until the road crosses a watercourse, bears right and then drops down a little hill. At the bottom of the hill we turn left and climb the steps to the contour path.

At the top of the steps, those wishing to do a longer option (+- 20km) can turn right and follow the path up over the rock scree and then on to the second stile in the path just above Rhodes Memorial and just below the Kings Blockhouse. At that point, turn around and run back the way you came.

But the rest of us will just keep left and then follow the contour path back towards Constantia Nek, passing through Window Ravine, Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine. Just after Nursery Ravine there is a split in the path where we need to keep right and slightly up. When we reach the intersection on the border of Cecilia Forest (large bluegum trees) make sure you continue straight on and slightly down. The becomes becomes gravel jeep track again as we descend into Cecilia Forest. At the next split in the road, keep right and climb the last hill. Then there is a superb fast descent to the car park at Constantia Nek.


Distance

Walkers: About 8km

Main Route: About 11-12km

Long Route: About 20km


Running Time

Walkers: About 2 1/2 to 3 hours

Main Route: About 1/2 to 2 hours

Long Route: About 2 1/2 to 3 hours


Difficulty

This run has something for everyone. It is relatively easy and is 80 - 90% runnable.


Notes

Long route runners must definitely carry their own water. I highly recommend NOT drinking from the mountain streams on this part of the mountain and definitely not from streams between the Nek and Newlands Ravine. Main route runners, if its a cool day then you can get by with using the taps and drinking fountains in Kirstenbosch. But if it is hot or you like drinking a lot of water on a run then please make sure you bring and carry your own.

Although this run is fairly sheltered from cold wind, a waterproof jacket is always recommended. If you get injured and have to wait on the path for help to arrive you will be so glad you have it. And as you get closer to Newlands, there is always the possibility of heavier rain on rainy days.

Runners must please stay in groups. This is an area where muggers (and on one or two occasions, even worse characters) have been known to hang out. Whilst security has been jacked up, lets rather err on the side of caution and please lets look out for each other and stay in groups, and regroup more often than usual.

Remember that I have a medical kit. So please store my cell phone number in your phone and call me if you are in a group with an injury. I recall that last time we did this route we had a mishap that required bandages and left a nasty little pool of blood in the middle of the path. Its always the easier runs where runners lose focus and trip.

Please sign the register before starting: Name, Cell phone number and an Emergency contact number are required.

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.







POSTPONEMENT OF acsis VOB TRAIL RACE (which had been scheduled for 22 May 2010)





It is with considerable regret that we must announce the postponement of the planned acsis VOB Trail Race in Tokai Forest and Silvermine (scheduled for 22 May 2010). An objection by an independent stakeholder was lodged regarding the approved route and we were told to change it at the 11th hour. Considering the complexity of organising a route that is up to the high standards we set for ourselves, balancing excitement and safety, as well as the length of time it takes in getting all of the stakeholders to agree to such route, it was decided to postpone the event in order to avoid jeopardising the quality of the event.

Even worse news is that only one event per month can be held in the area contemplated and May is the month that was allocated to acsis VOB. This means that the event can now only take place in 2011.

The good news is that most of the hard work regarding the organisation of the event has now been done and this leaves us ample time to work on the finer details. This, in turn, should result in a race of exceptional quality next year. In the meantime, lets just get out there and enjoy the trails each weekend.



That's all for now.



Have a wonderful week Everyone.