I arrived in Knysna on Sunday afternoon, 5 July and was surprised how dry and pleasant the weather was. On Monday I took part in the ASWD cross country league, the Featherbed 15km trail run on Tuesday and the Knysna Marathon Club’s 10 km street run on Wednesday. Throughout this time there had been a few drops here and there and some cooler weather but really nothing like I have experienced in Knysna before.
That changed when the rain came down hard on Wednesday evening and again for a short while on Thursday morning. What was this going to do to the single track trail run sections as well as the mountain bike trail out at Pezula, was all I could think.
Like most other trail runners and mountain bikers ( I guess) I dont mind riding or running in or through water and mud. I can handle running and riding while it rains too. It is having to start an event in the rain that ain’t really that much fun.
Well, how blessed we were with excellent riding and running weather on the day. Cool, at times overcast with a few drops here and there but no rain when the event commenced and no rain throughout my time out there doing the full Xterra.
This was my 4th event at Pezula and every time I have such fun and always feel that it is over too soon. The registration on the day, goodie bag, start area, coffee station, transition area, track out there and overall vibe was one of great excitement and enjoyment.
The first 3km trail run always gets a bit crowded at the first turn from the concrete road onto the single track, causing a huge bottleneck with no choice but to walk (unless of course you are in the very front!)
Knowing this from previous years I took it easy, aware that there would be plenty of other opportunities to catch up ( should I indeed wish to do so.)
The transition from run to bike went smoothly and it was great to be back on a bike again ( have not done much of that lately).
Sure, there was mud! It was however not as much as I had experienced in previous events and it was above all, rideable! Once again the ride was finished before I was ready to end it. Fun all the way.
The last leg, the 7km trail run, is the best part of the lot. It starts with a nice slow ( for me) and steep uphill on the concrete road to the top where it joins the entrance to the Pezula estate. A fast downhill section to a welcome water table awaits before you join a muddy single track after another section of concrete path. The ultimate fun and way too short section is what I refer to as the canopy section. Ultimate trail running through trees on a very narrow single track over roots and dodging low hanging branches. Give me a whole day of that, please!
Back to the concrete track for the last 2km or so and I was home! A nice medal, big smiles and a cup of REHIDRAT Sport awaited me at the finish. All and all, a great experience.
Yet, it was not the end. All full Xterra participants were invited to a Hawaiian after party on Thursday evening at Cruise Cafe, Knysna. Windhoek light sponsored every one with 2 beers and tasty food was served throughout the evening. All on the house.
The big announcement of the evening was the fact that Fedhealth will be the lead sponsor of Xterra come 2016.
I even walked away with one mighty powerful headlamp courtesy of Extreme Lights as one of the lucky draw prizes of the evening.
I have been visiting Knysna on and off during Oyster festival week for many years now. In the initial years always for just one event: the mountain bike event on the first Saturday of the Oyster festival. I think my first one could’ve been in 1994. Since then it has been hit and miss. Every HIT has been a most enjoyable experience and every MISS a sad memory…
Four years ago I entered the Totalsports XTERRA Pezula for the first time, my first XTERRA ever, and loved it. That same year I also particiapted in my first Salomon Featherbed trail run and enjoyed the experience very much.
In 2013 I thought I’d give the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE a go and did not know that one can have so much fun ( in such miserable weather ) in one week. Sadly 2014 was a miss again.
Not so 2015! This year I decided to order my own list of events from the big event menu. It turns out that I will be doing 4 such events between Monday 6 July and Thursday 9 July. Yip, an event a day keeps the doctor away ( or something like that!)
Here’s what I have selected from the great Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival menu:
MONDAY 6 JULY:
The Athletics SWD & KMC Cross Country League 5: If you’ve never run a Cross Country (XC) event, you may want to try this one. It starts at 10h00 ( what a great time while on holiday) and consists of 5 diferent races between 10h00 and 13h00. Runners participate according to theiur age category with the maximum distance being 10km for senior men and women. I am in for an 8km run. It is not quite trail running but definitely not road. “Off-road” would be my best description.
See here for details: http://www.aswd.co.za/event/athletics-swd-kmc-cross-country-league-5/
TUESDAY 7 JULY:
The Salomon Featherbed Trail Runs provide much enjoyment. Sure, when you look at the entry fee you may feel that you can do a whole lot beter for that fee. If you take into consideration that you run through a private nature reserve, not otherwise accessible, that you enjoy a cruise across the lagoon on one of the Featherbed ferries and that besides a great run, you are rewarded with a meal at the end, it seems worthwhile to enter.
There are three time slots to choose from ( morning, lunch time and afternoon) and 2 different route options. I’ve opted for the long run ( 15km Coelacanth) and the midday run. I’ll enjoy a hearty Chef’s beef lasagne with a side salad at Cruise Cafe, where the run ends. I may of course have some refreshing beverage to go along with my meal. See here for all the info :http://magneticsouth.net/trail-run/
WEDNESDAY 8 JULY:
Some road running on Wednesday to let the trail shoes dry out! The Athletics SWD Knysna Marathon Club 5km & 10km run. Registration takes place at 13:00 at the Knysna Festival Grounds (Knysna High School)
5km – R10 pp
10km – R40 pp
Temp license – R35 pp
The 5km run starts at 14h00 and the 10km at 17h30. No early Wednesday morning for me!
Go here for an online entry: http://www.aswd.co.za/product/aswd-and-kmc-5km-and-10km/
THURSDAY 9 JULY:
My favourite event of the week: the Totalsports XTERRA Pezula presented by Rehidrat Sport. This is the only XTERRA event I’ve done to date and that’s only because it does not contain a water discipline. Well, that depends on the rains the weeks and days before the event, I guess. I suppose what they mean is that you dont need to swim. You may however see a lot of water ( or more like mud) while running and cycling. It is the type of mud you embrace, rather than cringe about!
The FULL event follows a Trail Run/MTB/Trail Run format. Run 3km, ride 26 km and then run another 7km. There is also a LITE version and several kids events on Wednesday, 8 July.
This event is a must and one that I simply don’t miss when I go to Knysna for the Oyster Festival. There is a great vibe at event venue. Last year I arrived in time for breakfast cereal and coffee. After the event I stayed for a beer and something to eat and just to soak in the vibe. Over the years I’ve been participating I was there on the start line with professionals such as Conrad Stoltz, Dan Hugo, Stuart Marais and Kevin Evans.
I’ve heard that there may be a great post-event party on the Thursday evening. Once I have the details, I will post it on twitter at @mtbZA
Go here for entries: http://www.jumpertrax.com/register?evid=1097&tpe=2
I have previously participated in the Knysna Marathon’s half marathon and love that one. The marathon itself is always a favourite and also gets fully subscribed in a matter of days. I will be missing those events this year in favour of the Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run 2015 on Saturday 11 July. This time I will be attempting the 35km run. More on that at a later stage.
So, what will you be doing in Knysna between all the craft beer tastings and oyster shucking this year?
So, here are the details for the brave few wishing to spend 3 days on the beach, albeit without the cossies and cocktails!
Friday, 12 December at 07h00: leave from Koeberg parking lot. Run on the beach as far as we can until we have to take a sandy road inland towards the R 27, close to the Grotto Bay turnoff. Total distance: + 36km.
Saturday, 13 December at 07h00: Grotto Bay beach to Yzerfontien beach. Mostly beach all the way. + 27km
Sunday, 14 December at 07h00: Yzerfontein beach to Tsaarsbank, 16 mile beach, West coast National Park, Langebaan. + 27km. There is a picnic area with braai facilities and toilets here. A braai with ice cold refreshments sound like a plan!
Your attire: old trail shoes (they will get wet), hat (that also covers your neck if you burn easily), water & food ( there is NO access to water or food en route), GoPro (if you have one) , GPS ( if you have one).
Your travel arrangements: you need to get to each start and have some-one pick you up at each finish point daily.
I will be spending Friday night and Saturday night in Yzerfontein and shuttle between there and the various start / finish points.
Your lift back on Sunday will need to enter the WC National Park to pick you up. From Cape Town, it is closer to the bottom gate. See the map to Tsaarsbank here: WCNP map
Jacques van Dyk has kindly offered beds and couches at his place in Grotto Bay. If you wish to take up that offer, please email me for his details: email@example.com
Hope to see you on the beach!
So, last week-end saw 4 mtb and 3 road events being hosted by the Durbanville High School in conjunction with the guys at Chris Willemse Cycles and PPA.
Registration started at 14h00 on Friday, 24 October at the Chris Willmese Cycles store in Durbanville and when I arrived a bit early at 13h45, the buzz was already developing! I finally picked up my 2014 Pedalpower number and prepared for my first MTB event post my cracked ribs incident. I was happy to test my body on the 36km Contermanskloof Rock Buster.
According to the event’s web site, it was suitable for the more serious weekend warrior looking for a decent workout associated with spectacular scenery and that a fair amount of technical skills would be required. Fitness levels should ideally be at least average to high.
The event started on a hot summer’s morning in Durbanville with not a breeze to be felt and not a cloud in the sky.
We had a 3 km or so neutral zone following a car until we reached Clara Anna Fontein from where we hit the dirt. From that point on it was mostly jeep track, crossing various vineyards and then a long 3-arrow-steep climb to Bloemendal.
From there we took the single track all the way up to the radio towers at the top of the hill, the highest point of the ride at 10,6km and an altitude of 467m.
After a quick Coke at the water table, it was downhill all the way on the expertly built Contermanskloof trail, courtesy of the Tygerberg MTB club. A compact track with plenty of switchbacks, jumps and berms makes for excellent riding. I must admit, a 29er hard tail might not be the most ideal bike for such a ride, as my very hard fall and beautiful blue chest bruise can attest to.
At the 20.4km mark, we were down to 108m elevation, from where some fairly flat and fast sections followed. We rode up to the Malanshoogte tarred road heading towards Hoogekraal where we took a right up the road for about 2,2km before taking and another right into some wheat fields. Riding right through the dry yellow wheat field, standing about waist high, was in sharp contrast to the green vineyards just half an hour earlier.
From there it was mostly flat again until we started climbing a short steep “sting in the tail” uphill after the last waterpoint. The last kilometre or so was on a tarred road to the finish line, 3 km from the start zone, near the Durbanville High School.
The waterpoints (all 4 of them) were well-manned and stocked with water, Coke, fruit juice, potatoes, jelly beans, other sweets and banana pieces.
All in all a great ride, well organized and one I recommend. I hope to tackle the 54km Fair Cape Chain Breaker in 2015. That one promises to challenge your stamina and technical ability and provide an experience well worth discussing over a camp fire. ( according to the event web site)
Below is a clip of the Contermanskloof trail, courtesy of the Tygerberg MTB club.
The guys & girls at Songo.info have decided to celebrate Heritage Day, Wednesday 24 September, by holding an informal kids BMX meet at the Songo BMX track in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. There are very few BMX races in the Western Cape and they thought that it would be great for the Songo BMX kids to have a fun day doing what they love with others kids.
“This is an informal meet, rather than a race. It’s more about letting the kids socialise, have fun & celebrate life together!”, says Kathy Crabbe, the Songo General Manager
“If you are able to contribute in any way to make the day more special, it would be greatly appreciated but its not expected – we would just love for you to join us, support & share in the magic of seeing the young joy of riding bikes! Our kids are the rock stars of the future so the more people we have to encourage & cheer them on, the better!”
The details are as follows:
- DATE: Wednesday, 24 September.
- REGISTRATION: 08H30 – 09H00
- TRACK PRACTICE: 09H00
- RACE STARTS: 09H30 – 11H30
- VENUE: songo.info, Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.
- DIRECTIONS: From the R44 turn into right into Kayamandi, from the N1. Go straight over the circle & up the hill. At the T-junction turn left and go through the gate.
- For more information contact: Songo Fipaza 083 244 0734 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- See their Facebook page for more about Songo.info
I have always wanted to know what the difference is ( and what difference it makes) whether I take in sucrose, glucose or fructose. All I know is that it is all sugar, right? Wrong!
Sucrose, glucose and fructose are important carbohydrates, commonly referred to as simple sugars. Get the full ( but abbreviated ) scope on PowerBar.co.za
You may have heard me say that I am considering getting an e-bike (electric bicycle). So, now that I have said it, I get asked why all the time.
Okay, here’s the reasons why I am indeed seriously considering it:
- It will be for commuting (and not racing). I live 1,5 km away from my office and travel there every day by means of a 2 liter diesel engine. Sure, I have a road bike and a mountain bike and I do like riding them. I do however have meetings on most days either at my office or within a 20 km radius from my office. So, knowing that I can get there without a big car and not needing to don my lycra bib or rely on a shower at the other side, is a great plus. I will still be pedaling to get the most out of my battery, but it certainly wont be at race pace. With cycle paths now very much rolling out across all major SA cities, I can ride on those, avoiding the danger that comes with riding on the road.
- The electric bicycles cost about 2,5 to 3 times more than the cheapest scooter, so why don’t I just get a scooter? Firstly, the scooter will have to travel on the road, making it a far more dangerous option than the bicycle. Secondly, I’ll still be using fossil fuel, something I’d like to eliminate as much as possible. Thirdly: one charge of the e-bike’s battery will let me travel about 70 km. That charge ( at current Eskom rates) will cost me less than R1,00 so yes, money saving is an issue when compared to a scooter.
- I am a great Elon Musk fan, he of Tesla fame. Hopefully my affinity for battery over fossil fuel, will make me see things his way and we all know how successful he is. ( I know that is a long shot, but worth the try, right?)
- I like the helmets that e-bike riders use. Really, that is one of my major motivators!
Photo courtesy of Cycology
It was indeed a great privilege to attend the chat by Alex Harris on Tuesday evening 19 August at Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Although it was a cloudy day with some occasional rain showers, it was dry when I arrived at the venue.
With the blinds down on the big stoep area, the gas heaters on full power and excellent Waterford wines and catered eats on hand, the setting was just right.
Alex Harris, (http://www.xplorethisworld.com) for those who don’t know, is an explorer. He has climbed the seven summits, walked unsupported to the South Pole, crossed the Arabian desert unsupported and recently returned from his 15th summit of Kilimanjaro.
He is also the guy (and race director) behind the Munga, that $1million, one-stage, 1000km MTB event that will be held in December 2014.
His talk on Tuesday night however was about his preparation and experiences for and during the Freedom Challenge as well as the Tour Divide. Both of these are long distance, unsupported mountain bike events. The Freedom Challenge is over a distance of 2300km and takes the riders from Pietermaritzburg to Paarl in South Africa.
Tour Divide takes the participants from Canada all along the USA west coast to Mexico, a distance of 4418 km.
Alex shared some great “war stories” as he calls it about sleep deprivation, climbing over electric fences, being stung 30 times by bees in the face, parting a heard of buffalo and making repairs on the fly while doing the Freedom Challenge, an event he has won twice.
The Tour Divide’s challenges include snow, bears, lack of sleep and of course, 4418 km over a period of 16 days and 2hours for the 2014 winner. Alex came 3rd in 2013 and had to bail due to major injuries in his 2014 attempt.
Hearing Alex speak served as great motivation and a reminder to me to just DO IT. ( thanks Nike)
Put your mind to something, plan, train, strategize, etc. but then do it. You may not succeed the first time ( or even after you’ve been successful a few times) but you just have to take the plunge and get on. The human is an amazing being and can accomplish far more than we ever imagined ( or were told to believe when growing up)
I am motivated and will start working on my own challenges now Alex, thanks.
See some of the tweets from the function to see what others said / thought.
- Loading tweets...
- Totalsports Knysna Xterra feedback
- Knysna Oyster Festival: 2015 edition
- Westcoast Beach Run, December 2014
- CWC Durbie Dash 2014: feedback
- Going green on e-bikes in Sandton