Monday, December 7, 2009

Where are they this time

This stand of exotic trees was planted as a trial in 1925. There is another trial in Grootvadersbosch Nature reserve near Swellendam. We did an amazing Adventure Race through that area in 2007 and it is well worth a visit.As you can see stretching is an important part of training.We had so great answers in the previous competition so if if you have any interesting history of this particular spot let us know with your answers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where is the Pennypinchers AR Team???????

This weeks competion sees us absieling a lot closer to home. This landmark can be found between Plettenberg Bay and Natures Valley on the coast. Locals will tell you that you will have good luck if you can throw one of the many round stones found next to the beach through the hole in the top of this landmark.Good luck if you have thrown a stone through this hole because you will know where it is.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Business as usual

The aches and pains of the last weeks race soon wear off and by the time the weekend comes along one is looking for something new to do. Saturday morning saw Chris bring Jess and Laura ( two of the MARS gang and his wife Gisele through to Plettenberg Bay for a bit of abseiling and then off to a talk by a French couple who walked through Africa. Laura did her first abseil and the rest enjoyed hanging in mid air over looking the Indian Ocean.

On Saturday afternoon I collected Sean Gannon Pennypinchers Plett owner and paddler and headed through to Swartvlei for a paddle orienteering race. We had not paddled together before but got into a good rhythm after a while and collected 7 of the 10 checkpoints on offer. This put us right up their in the men's doubles section. The race was won by Macain Adventure Addicts Graham Bird with Steph.

Sean was given a small glimpse into what it is like to chase around collecting checkpoints, taking short cuts and coming up with strategies to make the best use of the time available. Thanks for a great paddle Sean.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

From the other side of the fence

As a huge Pennypincher's supporter I am very impressed by their achievements at the Merrell Eden Duo.

Jeff Wilcocks took care of the Oakhill School kids and at one stage was carrying one of them on his back up some monster climbs... but from what I understand this is what Jeff does best in the team as he is the main workhorse and so it was nothing new for him to be carrying a heavy load.

James took along Rhona to show her what AR is all about and fought off some fierce competition in the mixed category to claim honours, the choice to collect an additional CP paid off and the time bonus meant they beat Team SAQ from Cape Town. He must be the ladies man in the team as last year he raced with Jo McKenzie and won the mixed category... so ladies if you want to have a good day - call the Lettuceman!

But perhaps the stand-out Pennypinchers act of the day was Chris Crewdson taking along 3 youngsters for day. When compared to the other Open Teams (The Collins, McCains type racers), these youngsters can stand tall and be proud of their achievement. Looking at their racing time and applying the 90 minute penalty system in the open category, they would have ranked about 12th out of 22 open teams. Chris merely mentored them along the route and they had to navigate for themselves.

Christine and Amanda two regular Pennypinchers ladies (racing in the MED as Magnetic South PP), also did well and finished the tough course, but they had stiff competition from the experienced McCains Chicks and the new kids on the block Team Elephant Park Blossom.

So all in all to the Pennypinchers well done, you guys have done great work in bringing new blood to the sport.

From my side I would like to see a 45 - 60 km Pennypinchers AR sprint in the near future to let all your rookies put all their hard earned experience to good use!

Pennypinchers AR Team Mixed winners of the Merrel Eden Duo

After the Robberg Express in early October I still did not have a partner for the Merrel Eden Duo a must do adventure Race held annually I the George,Wilderness area. It is a pairs race and I have done it for the last couple of years and always enjoyed the concept of doing a race with a semi known route especially with local knowledge it is a great race to introduce new people in to the sport. It was exactly a year ago when I saw the the name Rhona Zonnestien featured in the same article on the Robberg Express as me in the GO MULTI magazine .She listed some great half marathons as her favourite runs. How did she end up being lured into the thick of off road multi sport in one year????. My favourite runs are the Otter,the run from Natures Valley to Keurboomstrand and the Perdekop Trail in the Knysna forest. There was a transformation and this year Rhona competed in the Southern Storm Duathlon and cleaned up the Vetran Ladies section and in fact was the third placed lady overall. I took the plunge and asked her to join me for the Merrel Eden Duo, there was not a lot of hesitation and she was in. We did a couple of paddles together and with absolutely no fuss we arrived at the start line on the Wilderness Beach for the start.Her story that follows is slightly different from mine . I had one of those days where adventure racing plays its hand and tests you to the limit. A "bug" earlier in the week and flattened my reserves and I was struck with serious cramps after about 5 hours and never recovered from them. It was a long day at the office with no time to smell the roses and even get to know my partner. There was a constant search for the energy for the next step,next peddle stroke or next paddle stroke.On top of that we ended up racing Team SAQ neck and neck for the last 5.5 hours. We snuck in and won the Mixed Pairs by 15 minutes with all the credit going to Rhona ( in her first adventure race) and to our seconding crew of Dael,Erez and Teva.Thanks to you all.

Here is Rhona's story

We are fortunate to have some of the most scenic parts in our own "Eden"-backyard. The Merrell Eden Duo for me was a first in adventure racing and soon serious doubts about my own capabilities crossed the mind. Each of the 7 legs of the race offered its unique challenges and spectacular ranges of natural beauty. This softened the inevitable effects of exhaustion. Just past 5am the first plunges into cold Kaaimans river water; cycling up Montaque Pass in granny gear at 8am; doing a 24km run/hike until 4pm to Groeneweide; cycling again to Hoogekraal; at 6pm paddle through very shallow water in the end; running on a moon lit beach at low tide to Wilderness; and then finally finish the paddle on foggy water at Ebb and Flow - 10.30pm! An unforgettable experience!!!

Along the route we collected 5 difficult check points (30minute bonuses) which awarded us with a 1st position in the Mixed category. Within 24hrs contestants were taken along some of the most awesome routes in the Garden Route. The atmosphere with each individual back-up team, interaction between different racing teams, juniors, opens, veterans and mixed teams, makes this an unique event which is superbly run by 24-7. We are thankful to have a sponsorship from Pennypinchers Plett. For any adventure sport enthusiast this is a must on your calender. Without Merrell footwear, the official sponsor, this grueling, absolutely awesome event could not take place.
Rhona Zonnestein

Report from the PpART/Elephant Park relay Team

What a feeling to share the many experiences I have been fortunate to live through with the Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team - this time it would be with 3 young up and coming junior talents who hail from MARS (Montessorri Adventure Racing School) to take on the 2009 Merrell Eden Duo during the weekend of the 30 & 31 October.
Gabriel Van Wyk (15) was the team MTB rider, Nina Orzechowski (15) our paddler and Knysna Canoe Club Development Athlete - Stephen Harker (17) learning how to pace himself on the long hikes and trail runs.
We all completed the first stage together - kloofing the Kaaimans and progressed quickly through the first TA1 and make up good time with excellent riding and confident navigating by Gabriel. Our mission was to collect as many of the CPs we could and any mistakes would mean valuable time lost.
Arriving at the second transition TA2 our turnaround time was good and Stephen was able to work with a topographical map for the first time in his entire life. It did not take long however to pick up the basics and our hike was turned into an interesting map reading lesson. He also unselfishly took on the back pack of a fellow junior racer from another team who was battling with the conditions and this illustrated the great potential this young athlete has in the sport.
A wrong route choice near the end did loose us all the time we had saved on opting to pick up CP 4 from the weir and 20 mins later we had CP 5 in the bag by opting to use the flatter alternate route on top of Saasveld.
Another quick transition at TA3 and Gabriel was back in business navigating us to CP 7 and 8. A nav error however looking for CP 7 cost us both time and altitude and it was difficult not to say something and rather ride on down with my young partner back into a valley we had just used precious time to ascend ......however it was the only way Gabriel would work out his error and the continuing lesson he was experiencing in a live event will have stood him in good stead for the future.
The sun set as we picked up CP 7 and 8 was going to be messy in the dark so opted for the longer distance wise but simpler navigation route option to collect CP 8. This was the last we could collect as unfortunately we had missed the paddle cutoff.
The long beach hike with Stephen was a tough challenge having only had the benefit of a lowish tide close to Swartvlei. After this it was a slog through the loose sand above the high tide mark and some adrenalin filled moments as we dodged the waves up against the odd cliffs on some of the tighter sections nearing Wilderness.
The last paddle was in some beautifully crafted mist and the team completed thier mission at 02h50 in the morning having worked as an amazing unit throughout the event.
Thank you to our superb seconds - Ronelle & Jeannine who like my young racers had never done this before and came out as a truly professional outfit with all guns blazing.
It has and always will be an honour to have shared this particular experience together.
Congrats to you and keep up the wonderful attitudes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Merrel Eden Duo

The past two weekends has seen some last minute training and tuning for the team.With long hikes and kloofing sections one has to spend time on ones feet during training. The bike legs will be tougher than you think and then the paddle across Swartvlei is looking really good for the teams who come from paddling backgrounds but still do able for those who are starting out.

Good luck to all the teams and travel safely those coming from afar.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pennypinchers AR Team

Pennypinchers AR Team

Some history of The Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team

The team started in 2007 when three of the members James,Chris and newbee Jeff hatched the dream of doing the Bull Of Africa 2008.
Chris put together a proposal which James took into Pennypinchers Plettenberg Bay owner and fellow paddler Sean Gannon. Sean liked the proposal and backed the team in its dream even though the race was 10 months away. The hunt was then on to find a fourth member of the team which due to adventure racing rules needed to be a female. It is really difficult to find someone to share the dream of spending 6 days together,hiking,biking,kayaking,climbing,abseiling and navigating around Africa, wearing the same clothes and hardly sleeping. It was only late in June 2008 that Jo Mackenzie put up her hand as the fourth member of our team. During this time the team involved itself in various outdoor activities including the Cape Epic, The Garmin Wartrail, The Knysna Oyster Festival events and then training. Outdoor gear is expensive but a vital part of the sport and fellow adventure racer and owner of Earth Scout in Knysna Belen Sanchez came to the party and along with Hele Hansen became our gear sponsor providing us with the best outdoor gear available.

The Bull was amazing with the team finishing in 1oth place out of the 43 international teams that started. Since then the Team has continued its good work with good results in the Eden Duo 2008 and the Cape Odyssey Trail Run. 2009 saw Jeff take part in the Cape Epic again, James had a great trip to the Swazi Extreme where with Team he won the sport event. August 2009 saw the team with a new girl Amanda Williamson take on the Hessequa Adventure Race and finish as the third official team. Here we were added another product sponsor to our team sheet with Island Tribe providing us with great sun protection and Blue Steel Sports providing the best anti-chafe money can buy.

The team is now in the full throes of training for the Merrel Eden Duo. The race sees all the current members taking part in the race. We will have teams in the mixed,ladies and school relays.
Watch this space for the build up.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A morning ride with Pennypinchers

The Pennypinchers are getting into the zone for the upcoming Merrell Eden Duo (MED). Hoping to glean some useful info, they asked me to accompany them on a morning MTB ride (this they would do after tripping the firt kloofing leg of the MED). So off we went, all seemed to go well, we enjoyed the singletrack in Saasveld, felt the burn in our quads as we spun up the steep section after Pesi-Pools and enjoyed a relaxed ride on to Witfontein enjoying the view of the mountain every time it peaked out from behind the clouds.

When we got to Witfontein we decided to skip the Montagu Pass ride as the Pennypinchers still had to ride back to Saasveld and then on to Wilderness. On the way back to Saasveld I slipped off a root and straight into a tree. The result was a badly buckled back rim and a few scratches to my elbow and knee.

Here are two photos of my rim after the crash.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who are we?

Thanks for taking the time to read up about us!

The Pennypinchers AR team are a group of outdoor enthusiasts who live in the Garden Route area.

Members come from Sedgefield in the west to Storms River in the east and we regularly get together to enjoy a run, ride or paddle in the adventure capital of South Africa!

One of our proudest moments was being able to finish the Bull of Africa, a 570 km expedition race in 2008. However, each race has it's highlights and challenges and so we keep coming back for more!

We have a large squad of athletes and when we can, we enter them all, in 2008 there were 3 Pennypinchers Teams racing in the Eden Duo, with our all ladies team scooping up the first prize in the ladies competition and our mixed team winning the mixed competition on a technicality - Martin and Jeannie raced in the men's / open category!

We are also involved at a grass-roots level and invest a lot of time in the Montessori AR Squad. These kids have shown great potential and we look forward to the day when they will race against us in the open category and hopefully give us a run for our money!

We hope you enjoy our blog, we hope to share some of our adventures with you in this way!