Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kurland Summer Trail Run

Everthing is in place for the Kurland Summer Trail Run to be held on January 12th. The route will be appreciated by all trail runners from beginner to experienced trail gurus. Entries can now also be found on

Dont forget there is something for everyone, a 12 km,4km and even a fun kiddies event.

Contact James on 082 9257885 or email

The Knysna Ghost Adventure Race December 16

Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team member Jeannette spent her public holiday running around Knysna in the rain with about 30 other crazy people. The weather was actually perfect for the Knysna Ghost which was a small adventure race covering a distance of 50km with 5 transitions which kept the seconds on there toes. It all started with a 5km run at Crabs Creek along the phantom pass rd to a local farm along the Knysna River where we climbed in for a paddle back to Crabs Creek. Onto the mnt bike traversing across the mnt to Buffalo Hills River Deck to clip our second check point, along the road to our next transition at Buffalo Backpackers where the run started. Awesome single track thru the coastal vegetation which then took us the beach all the way to Brenton on Sea where we got back onto our bikes across the railway line just past the St James headland and back into our canoe's to paddle across to Crabs Creek. We had to collect six check points along the way. It was a real good fun event, well organized Thanks to Pax and Louise and all the helper. But big thanks to my super second Colin who made it to every spot in time and collected all his checks points as well which the seconds had to collect as well making it interesting for them to.
Results Jeannette Walder 1st lady and 3rd overall in the solo.

From the local press

LOCALS CLEAN-UP at inaugural Knysna GHOST!!

Two of the Garden Route’s top athletes – Marcel Roos and Jeanette Walder stunned the crowds at the first ever Knysna GHOST Adventure Route held in Knysna last Thursday 16th Dec.

Despite the shocking cold wet and windy weather conditions, hard core athletes turned out in their droves. Solo and team participants set out at pace from the start at Crabs Creek for a 5km dirt road run. At transition 1, the solo competitors rushed for their boats, whilst the team participants switched racing vests for the second leg of the race, a 7km paddle down the Salt River. Transition 2 saw the mountain bikes racing off through some magnificent pine forests, negotiating some tricky sandy terrain, to end up at The River Deck and Buffalo Bay, where a 7km trail and beach run was next on the cards. At Nauticus, Brenton on Sea, competitors again reached for their bikes to negotiate the railway line over the lagoon and back to the Point to grab their boats for the final leg home and back to the finish at Crabs Creek. Race marshals had barely finished eating their delicious breakfasts, when the winning competitors came into sight over the very choppy lagoon!

Local “Younguns” - and team of 3 Bradley Nelson, Grant Ayton and Rory Sandberg won overall with a winning time of 3h13minutes. Hot on their heels, and only 3 minutes behind them, was local “Toppies” team, Jan and Rhoda Zonnestien, and MTB champ, Paul Mickelwood. The first Solo man was local hero and tri-athlete Marcel Roos who completed the 50km route in 3 h 23 mins. He was followed by Danie Leonard from Blanco who came in 9 minutes later. In third place overall, and comfortably winning the ladies solo category was renowned adventure racer, Jeanette Walder who completed the course in 3hrs 39 minutes. Kate Southey took second place in the ladies solo category. The winner of the teen category was Team Merrell consisting of Wouter Bezuidenhout, Benjamin Gilomee and Michaela Beers. In second place in the teen team category, was Oak Hill team Amy Williams, Jonty Andrews and Anola Walk.

Said race organiser Pax Mosterd of Garden Route Events and sponsor Ultimate Cycling, “I am overwhelmed by the performance of the pro athletes on this course who have set some mean times to beat next year. It was equally awesome to see the less competitive entrants having such a blast. See you again next year”.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kurland Summer Trail Run by Lettuce

Summer Trail Run
12 JANUARY 2011, 4:30PM

The Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team has decided to put on a trail run over the Xmas holidays to make sure that people don’t eat too much Christmas pudding and those that do will have an opportunity to work it off before the end of the holidays.A portion of your entry fee will be going towards two local charities here in the Crags Mind the Gap and Kids of Kurland.

Living in The Crags I had a pretty good idea of a route and with permission from Peter and Zander Behr the team headed into the hills above the Kurland Estate to scout a route that would suit our needs. The area is so beautiful and cut out for trail running that we had to restrain our selves from running all day and just work on a route that would be suitable for everyone.

The route that we have chosen is roughly 12 km long with 375m of climbing. The run starts with a gradual climb into the back of the Kleinberg. This climb is rewarded with a view over the Crags towards Robberg and an easy 3 km down hill to a cold mountain stream where the runners can sip the pristine waters as refreshment. After the stream the runners will leave the jeep track and head over the Kleinberg on a fire break choosing their own route down the other side. From here the route speeds up for those that still have some energy and follows some winding roads past natural forest, honeybush tea plantation and horse paddocks. The Pavilion comes into sight but there is still some work to do as the runners follow some single track back to the finish line.

If that sounds to tough there is a 4km fun run that will given novices a small taste of running through the forest and around the well groomed Kurland grounds. Our preprimary school teacher Jeannette will be putting together a mini trail run for the kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old with the moms or dads able to go along for some fun.

The restaurant and bar will be open at the Pavilion with some light meals and ice cold refreshments for runners and spectators.

The late afternoon start (Registration from 3:00pm start at 4:30pm) should provide for a cool run with a great opportunity for sundowners at the spectacular Pavilion.
Send me an email to recieve an entry

The 12km Kurland Summer Trail Run is restricted to 100 runners only so please print a copy of the entry form and indemnity and fax it with proof of payment to 0866192563.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SALOMON SKYRUN 2010 by Lettuce and Netski


What could be more appetizing for the Pennypinchers AR Team in the middle of November to round off the year than a road trip into the “Wartrail “ district and the challenge of a 100 km trail run at altitude with loads of technical sections and the most amazing views and vibe.

With the faithful Combi packed with a couple of tents and some running kit Jeff, Jeannette,Chris and James headed for the hills (mountains) with Jeanette’s better half Colin along as “super “second. Lady Grey plays host o the start of the race and the Wartrail Country club hosts the finish. For those that don’t know where Lady Grey is, it lies in a valley near Lesotho on the Eastern Cape / Free State border.

4:00 am 105km to go

Adrian Saffy the event organizer had this to say about his event.

“What an experience this years Salomon Sky run turned out to be organizing as well as for the athletes.WE made South Africa's toughest non stop mountain run even tougher by adding on an extra 10kms, including a serious technical ascent to be tackled at night, after 90 grueling kilometers.We were astounded by this years entries into Sky run. Before we knew it we had over 170 runners (almost three times our usual field). Only 40 of the entries received had any Sky Running experience, the rest were Sky Running virgins. We were in for one hell of a ride but gratefully we had the backing of our sponsors, marshals and landowners and were ready to take on the challenge.The weekend saw streams of athletes roll into Lady Grey with second hand information about what this event holds in store for them. Sitting in the Lady Grey Mountain View Country Inn and listening to some of these Sky run 1st timers planning and strategizing reminded me of my first time and brought back those memories of the fear and anticipation of taking on an unknown adventure. Those feelings we thrive and live for.The Salomon Sky run is not a race it is a journey and there is no guarantee that no matter how much you train and prepare, that you will finish the full route. With so many novices taking part this year our stress levels were higher than usual. What would the weekend hold?”Adrian

We had decided before the start that the four of us would stick together for this race although the Sky Run is very much an individual race. This would give Chris and Jeff time to race with Jeannette before next years African Expedition Race in May. This may sound like an easy thing to do but it does in fact make it more difficult as we would find out as time progressed on the mountain. Jeanette had this to say about her second Sky run (what she forgot to say is that in her previous report on the Sky run 2009 she said that one does need to train specifically for the run). This is what she had to say and it would appear that all the aches and pains have gone because this report is all about food!!!

“So there I'm walking down the Pick n Pay isle wondering aimlessly what I am going to feel like eating on this 100km Sky Run. I thought I'll attack it like one of the adventure races. With that in my mind the yoghurt coated peanuts ended up 1st in my basket brining back fond memories of the Bull 2008 and any fond memories of any adventure race means something!!! Jelly babies have been replaced by the far better yummy Gu Chomps so no need for those buggers, salt and vinegar chips always a good idea and since summer is just around the corner the Chocó bars have been replaced by the healthier version of health oat bars. The sarmis where going to be a salami, mayo, and cheese gherkin version how delicious does that sound. Well all I can say the 1st 60km only saw me able to face and digest my GU’s thankfully they made it into the backpack. Yoghurt peanuts nope and chips never made it into the backpack. So my 1st 60km consisted of 2 GU’s and 4 chomps. The yummy sarmi which was made by our super duper second was hardly eaten because I felt too guilty to bring it back. So sitting at our 1st and only transition I was a bit stuck of what to pack food wise. Well all my cappuccino flavored GU’s made it into my side pocket since we will be going thru the night, a packet of Gu Chomps and 2 sarmi’s. The health oat bars never even saw the light of the day. I ate everything in sight and ran out of food!!! Okay the last 40km did take a bit longer then we thought we played around the wrong mountain for 4 hrs during the night and decided a little snooze in the old pump house was in order so hence the running out of food. So the moral of the story is one never knows what is going to happen, what you feel like eating and that is the beauty of these races and that's why we keep on coming back. “Jeannette

Here is how the day went from under my cap.

At 4: ooam Jean-Michael (the founder of the Sky Run) blew a sheep’s horn and the race started with a fast jog down the streets of Lady Grey. After about 4 mins the road ends and the hiking trail up to CP 1 starts. From here for the next 10 km is up hill and technical single track. One needs to keep moving here but not be a sheep and follow because there are some better choices of paths. On the climb up every one is short of breath and if you are looking for excuse one could say that the altitude is hurting you. I think it is just the cold are and one is going slightly too hard in the excitement of the race start. After CP 1 you start your relationship with the barbed wire fence that runs along the crest of the Witteberg Mountains all the way to Skidauw just before the 60 km stop at Balloch.

As the sun comes up the fence line runs due east and you are blinded by the sun but follow it towards CP 2 at Snowdon. Here the fence guides you and you don’t need to leave its side that often. After Cp 2 you under go a trial separation as you follow a quad bike track for a good few kilometers and one can actually run a bit here which is a welcome changes from the tufts of grass and slopes of the previous couple of hours. The fence is never far away and one touches base every now and again just to make sure that no one is straying to far from the beaten track (no real track). At CP 3 we stumble across young David De Haast who was cooking in 12th place but had over done and was waiting for a ride down with the amazing marshals from the Bloem 4X4 club. Just after CP 3 and about 30 km into the race the route crosses a stream for the first time and we re fill our bottles before returning to the ever faith full fence line. Not long after that I make the call to climb to a saddle, leaving the fence to contour around a peak. This was slower and a group caught us from behind. Not long after we re-joined the fence line Chris started to slow down. No problem to adventure racers Jeff and I took his pack, split the contents between us and gave him his juice and food back as we reached Avoca Peak and CP 4.

Chris leads the way early on

From Avoca to Skidaw the fence runs along the Dragons Back and one has to cross over and under the fence a good many times testing you sense of humor to the limit.

One of the other competitors on the Dragons Back

With the flags at Skidau in sight we made short work of this stretch and headed away from our fence and down a steep drop to the welcoming Balloch River. The last few kilometers flew past and we arrived in Balloch 10 minutes ahead of schedule at ten to four. We agreed on a half hour stop to re fuel and rest our feet after 60 kms of rough walking and running. Jeff presented his feet to me just before I tucked into one of Colin’s sarmis and all I saw was massive blisters. I got to work with Friars Balsam and tape and stuck them back together again. A good job done we loaded up and headed out full of confidence that we had 40kms to go and the Sky run was in the bag.

Balloch wall awaited a steep very steep grassy mountain side that rises up in front of you like a fortress. At the saddle at the top the Sky run took its first prisoner and Jeff lost all his food that he had eaten at Balloch and a whole lot more. Not a pretty site. Chris the added to the carnage at the top with a runny tummy. It was with a almost delirious Jeff hanging onto the bungy and a slightly thinner Chris that we arrived at Edgehill for CP 7. Jeff just wanted to sleep and I had to drag him off the marshal’s mattress and onto some horse blankets. An hour and half latter Jeff was still broken and unable to keep anything down. With heavy hearts we left him to get a lift back to the finish which was tempting close about 5 km away (we still had thirty some thing on the race route). With Jeff leaving I lost interest in trying to navigate with the map and asked Chris to pick up the GPS track and we would follow that for a bit. A fatal mistake to get out of your map. We slogged up the wrong mountain trying to find a route that the Basutos couldn’t find so how could we. Sanity prevailed at 1:30am and we headed for a pump house to try and have a nap. Chris put his head down and was out (I think they taught him that in the military in Zim) Netski and tossed and turned under space blankets willing the sun to come up. The minute I could see the horizon outside we headed out and the route unfolded in front of us plain as day. I kicked myself for the next three hours as we easily summated the Bridal Path and hit the well worn path towards CP 8 and the turn around of the second part of the race.

The sun came up and we shared a small sachet of Island Tribe between us to try and keep out Mr. Spikes and stripped down to our race vests as the temperature rose. Food and water were starting to become an issue and I called a stop for everyone to take stock of what food and water we had left. Once again we relied heavily on the Gus, Gu Chomps and GU Brew to eeck out what nutrition we had with us. It definitely has the most bang for its weight.
Once we all new where we stood we headed off towards the finish. As with all adventure type races there is always a sting in the tail and as much as you try to will the sting away Halstone Peak was visible for about an hour before we got to the last steep climb to the last CP of the race. The views from the top were spectacular as were the views from the exposed cliff that we dragged our selves up. From there it was all downhill to the finish. The down hill was crazy steep. You really wanted to just sit on your butt and slide all the way down but 28 hours of hiking normally results in a bit of chafe and so it is not the recommended method.

All Down Hill to the Finish

A quick dip the river 50 meters from the finish injected a final spurt of energy to get us to the finish line in 33 hours. What an EPIC!!!!!!!

105 km and the Sky Run in the Bag ( one of my hardest earnt T-shirts)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Merrell Eden Duo 2010

With the Hitec Otter and Southern Storm under the belt we had a super strong and psyched up Team ready to take on the Merrell Eden Duo. Things sometimes happen that are completely out of your control and in the in the lead up to this race two of our stalwart team members lost their Mothers in two separate but totally unexpected incidents. Our condolences go out to Jeannette and Chris and we know that the time we all spend together over the next few months on “our Playground” will help to lessen the load of your loses. This left Rhona and I as the only full Pennypinchers pair for the Duo but with some juggling and emailing Jeff hooked up with fellow Southern Storm competitor from George Tony Conlon. Tony had a great Otter run and is an experienced Tri Athlete and Iron Man finisher. This would be his first venture in to the abyss of Adventure Racing.

The Eden Duo is a great race for anyone who wants to start adventure racing and with various distances and even a relay format there is definitely something for everyone. Jeff and Tony would be entered into the Vets section of the Classic section and Rhona and I would try and defend our Mixed Pairs title. The mixed category turned out to be where the racing was going to be with John Collins and Hanile Booyens racing together and the Merrell Adventure Addicts Don Simms and Tatum Prins. We would have our work cut out if we wanted to be any where near the podium , there were also another 27 Teams racing in the Classic race over 150 km.

The race starts with a short run across the Wilderness beach to the old Choo choo Train tunnel. As usual there was a lot of banter and we settled in the front bunch. Just before the path up to the railway line the pace picked up and the bunch split, I asked Rhona to hang in and hook in to the smaller faster pack. This was a good decision as there was a narrow section where we had to slide down 10 meters of ropes on the other side of the tunnel and a bottle neck was sure to form after we went thru. The upstream kloofing was beautiful and after just under 2 hours we popped out of the river onto the Saasveld campus for the first transition onto our bikes.Here we saw team mates Jeff and Tony changing and getting ready for a leg that they would enjoy both being good riders.

Feeling good coming into TA 1

The thirty odd kms of single track and then the climb up Montague Pass seemed to go well and we both arrived at Herold Wines feeling great. After a quick transition and a kit check we set of just behind Tatum and Donavon. (I am not sure who was more surprised them or us). The 25 km hike/run over the mountains back to Saasveld is spectacular. The mist came in and we went into a quiet zone and rAn down the mountain back to the Kaaimans River and up to Groenewiede.
Our seconding crew of Dael, Erez and Teva were waiting with bikes and cold juice for the 35km bike leg to Hoogekraal weir for the paddle across Swartvlei. The ride was tough for me after the pounding and fast run over the mountains and I was only to happy to be in the boat for the hour paddle across Swartvlei.I spared a tought all be it just a small ONE Jeff and Tony neither of them great paddlers at this stage.

Sedgefield Caravan park in sight (maybe some work on our timing required)

This was really were the make and break point of the race came we were faced with a 21km run along the beach from Sedgefield to Wilderness. Rhona's husband Jan and his partner top Knysna cyclist Paul Miklewood had caught up with us in the transition and were desperate to hang on to our shirt tails for the beach run. Rhona would have none of it and slowly increased the pace as we rounded Gerrikes Point. At this stage we had moved into third place in the mixed but also in the whole race as well. Our goal was now to hold onto the third place overall and make sure no men’s teams over took us on this second to last leg. The tide was pushing in but for the most part we had hard sand and were able to run the whole way except we I pleaded for a walk to try and eat some food.
The mist along the coast was great because it hid the long flat stretches of beach that often make a beach run physiologically difficult and before long we arrived at the Touws river Mouth where we had started the race about 13 hours earlier. We had beaten the threatening tide and now my thoughts did go out to the teams who still had to do the hike with the pushing tide. It did push them closer to the dead whale that we did not even see on the beach and they had a fun scramble over some rocks with the help of a ropes crew.
It was still light when we jumped into our canoe for the last short paddle up to the finish. At this stage the adrenaline was pumping and the goose bumps were up. I knew that no one could catch us now unless one of us fell of the perch (and even then!!!).
13 hours and 42 minutes of hard racing saw us finish third over all in an amazing race. Rhona was as tough as nails, super organized and a great racing partner. Our seconds Dael, Erez and Teva were fantastic. This is the first race I have done where I had ice cold juice on every leg and sat under the opposition’s gazebo as if it was our own due to the negotiating power of Erez. Thanks Guys.
From our sponsor’s side huge thanks as always to Pennypinchers in Plett Sean I think we did you proud this weekend. On the nutrition side I had very little “normal food” to eat as we seemed to be racing out of my comfort zone all the time. I ate tons of Gus and drank the GU Brew the whole race although I did go to water and GU for the last leg. The Helle Hansen tops were all used with the new “HH Warm” with the merino wool was perfect for the kloofing leg and the HH cool short sleeve worked for the rest of the day. The Blue Steel anti chaffe was great and allowed me to do the whole race in running shorts instead of changing into cycling shorts for the ride legs. My BIGGEST mistake on this race was I forgot my Rocket Compression sock and tights. I now fully realize the benefits of these. My calves took huge strain during the run legs where e I know if I had had my SOX I would have been a lot better of. The stiffness I had on Sunday morning was with out a doubt made a lot worse by me not having my tights to sleep in after the race. BIG LESSON LEARNT!!!!!!!!!.

In the final mix of results it was John and Hanile first, then Tats and Donovan in second and Rhona and I third. Jeff and Tony gutted it out over the final few kms and finished 14th overall. Special mention needs to be made of the up and coming boys from Oak Hill High School in Knysna where Jeff and I have been putting in some hours with the kids. Brandon Wilcox and Harry Marshing aged 16 and 17 finished in 9th place overall. Well done boys.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Otter Trail,Southern Storm and Fish River Canoe Marathon

The last week of September and the first week of October has seen the Team fully involved and out there.

I opened the week of activities with the running of the Hitec Otter Trail Run on the 25th. On the Friday before the run you do a 4.7km time trial from Natures Valley along the beach and over the hill to Salt river and then back along the coast. Home town advantage played into my hands and with out to much effort I got a good time despite feeling like I had a ton of bricks in my chest and my heart was racing way above the norm. At this stage I thought the Otter was going to be a hike for me as there was no way I would risk running with my heart racing like that. Home to bed and a huge dose of of Vitamin C and some pasta. My alarm goes at 4:30 and my resting heart rate is back down what a relief. After the normal Oats and coffee its into the car with the two chopper pilots who are staying with me. Both are nervous as hell with Allen having trained for the race in a security village in Nigeria on a 1,7km lap with three flights of stairs up and down in the middle of the lap. (both finished the race happy).

The race started at just after 6 am with the weather cloudy and cool which was how it stayed for the rest of the day. Once I had passed the first hut I got into my own zone and concentrated on walking hard up the hills and running when ever it was flat and downhill. My frozen water bottles and Camelback were giving me a nice cold mix of Gu Brew and iced water and three Gu s latter we reached the Gu Munchie point (after about 22km) where I refueled with Gu chomps and a banana. The second half of the race is a lot harder in that it becomes hotter and dryer and I started to catch up with some of the people who had shot past me earlier in the day. After Bloukrans River there are just two climbs and some flat sections before you get to Natures Valley where the floating bridge and the finish line awaits. With a last burst of energy I made it across the bridge to the finish and felt great . I had achieved what I had set out to do that is to finish the Otter Trail in under 8 hours ( my time 6 hrs 49min) and also I managed to raise R13 520-00 for Die Sterreweg Day Care Centre in Plettenberg Bay. Finishing this race is tough and everyone who finishes deserves a huge pat on the back.

The last challenge of the day

Two Days latter the Southern Storm kicked of with the Otter Run and was followed by 4 more days of running and cycling around The Crags and Plettenberg Bay. Jeff had entered at the last minute and Rhona was there to defend her Veteran ladies title. Rhona had a storming Otter and laid down the gauntlet to her competition by running the trail in 6hrs and 5 mins. This lead was followed up with four days of great runs and steady biking to easily win the title again and in fact saw her snapping at the heels of the top Ladies as well.

Rhona on Robberg on the final day

Jeff who is well know for not reading emails and getting race information arrived at the race not really sure what it was all about but after a great Otter Run his legs let him know he was in a multi day duathalon and was there to do well. There was a week of sms reporting on his progress and with me trying to give him splits and race info from the farm he was soon being ragged about his manager . It seemd to have worked because when the dust settled Jeff was the 4th male Veteran and he missed thrid by only 7 minutes which is not a lot after 6 days of racing. There will always be the what ifs when the margin is small but there is always next year.Jeff hits his stride up Whiskey Creek on day 4
I have kept some of the sms that were flying between Jeff and myself during the Storm and they actually make some sort of a race report.

Day 2 after the Otter "me sore , me raw, me broken, me love it"

Day 3 ( a bike out of Natures and a short hard run around Forest Hall) " Lekker bike ride from Natures around the mountains where i earned my first brownie points for pulling the girls around and finishing just behind the heavies.Our new home Forest Hall is full of people who look like they are walking on fire , cant understand why until I try to stand up . The Otter has made its mark"
Day 4 (kloofing and a ride) "cool day. started with a swim across the Keurbooms river and up past James's pump then an awesome run trough the bush to the transition.A nice bike back to Forest Hall. Rode alone but today my best friends were Gu , Blue Steel and my Helley Hansen cool top."

Day 5 (a long bike day with two short runs) " my best day yet. Great ride took strain on the runs"

Day 6 (short bike, half Robberg Run , Trail run through Plett) "Was just to short to make a difference to the overall standings .Good fun riding the "lettuce Loop' and then onto Robberg where we were done out of doing the full run but just as well because there was still a short run in town to follow. I was in my full Penny's kit looking like a school boy waiting for the bus, happy as can be proud and cheffed with myself for getting this far. The run through town had it all a waterfall,beach and HILLS but also spectators and a band.. We felt like world champs coming down the main road into town. The day finished with a great prize giving dinner. A great event."

Also out there behind the scenes were Jeannette and Chris keeping the whole event going they had this to say about the event.

Chris "Brutal six day challenge involving harsh trails runs and heart stopping mountain biking pushing every physical and mental boundary in the process" he just organised it so you can imagine how tough it was.

Jeanette as the sweeper who spent more time on the course than any athlete "To sweep was awesome , to have raced it must have been out of this world.Hard but not so hard you hated it every day but hard in a way that challenged each individual athlete in a most stunning and beautiful area."
To cap off the week Pennypinchers Plettenberg Bay owner Sean Gannon had an amazing trip to the Fish River Canoe Marathon with local partner John Elliot. The results show that they had an epic first taking a swim at Soutpans rapid and doing some damage to the new well branded Pennypinchers Adventure racing team boat. With determination and some inguinity they managed to nurse the boat to the overnight camp and do the necessary reapirs to make sure they would be on the start line the next morning. With the boat repaiured and the crew properly bruised the two finished the race in 672 position . There is big talk of a PpART K3 racing next year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast Mtn Bike Race

"I'm paying a bit for doing the Karoo to coast without to much training never think that this race is easy even if it is mostly on a stunning district road and supposedly down hill!!! Having entered late saw me start right in the back. I never knew that this race was so big I expected 400 cyclists compared to what I think was 2000 or so. The nice thing was that it was so well organized that you never felt crowded. It did bottle neck the 1st 15km along the jeep track this part took me 1:30hr due to mainly pushing the bike but everybody was in good spirits and was having fun. Once we hit the district road everybody dispersed amazingly and one had the downhills mostly to oneself making it fun to be able to speed down them at your own pace. It took me 5hrs and 8min and was good fun it's a stunning race for anybody who does not like to technical mnt biking but loves being out there. The views and the pass are amazing. Thank you to Pennypinchers for a super well organized race." Jeannette

Jeff also took part and finished just over an hour ahead of Netski and surprised some of the Knysna cycling fraternity by sneaking up from behind after starting in the last batch as well.

The lesson here is that one needs to become a licenced rider if you want to do well in these bike races other wise you do get stuck near the back of the field.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Action Stations

The next two weeks are going to choka bloc full for all the Team members. This weekend is the Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike race of 105 km with Jeff and Jeanette taking part. The route which sounds like it should be down hill is not at all and there are some really tough climbs but both are hoping to do well in this event with Pennypinchers as the title sponsor for the first time this year.

The Otter Trail Run takes place next Saturday (25th) where I will be slogging it out . I will be buoyed by the fact that I have through generous donations from freinds,family and associates been able to raise over R6500-00 fro Die Stereweg day Care centre in Plett.The money is still trickling in and if you want to see who has supported me with this drive or pop in a couple of rands please go to .

On Sunday the 26th Jeff and Rhona will be starting the Southern Storm a six day long stage duathlon race around the Crags and Plettenberg Bay. Watch this space for updates during the week.
Chris will be working 24/7 during this time as part of the organization which is run by Magnetic South and I am sure will be fitter and more tired by the end of it than his team mates who have taken part

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A little pay back


The 25th of September 2010 will see the second running of the Hitec Otter Trail Run. After only one edition of the run the race has already climbed to the top of the list of runs to do and entries were sold out within days of opening. The 42 km run takes place along the Otter trail which is normally a 5 day hiking trail and is regarded by hikers as ‘very beautiful but strenuous. The tree in natures valley where hikers who have completed the trail traditionally hang up their boots is full of worn out hiking shoes and boots that bears testimony to the toughness of the trail.
My affair with the Otter trail began in 2004 when adventure racing legend John Collins conned me into trying to run the Otter in a day with his girlfriend of the time. No one else had tried this before. He would also do the run but would run on his own. I had run one half marathon in my life at that stage and was not quite sure what to expect. Off we went blind leading the blind as John disappeared over the rocks (a familiar sight to a lot of people). By half way I was cramping and starving and by the time we reached Bloukrans we decided to call it quits. The surf was rolling into the mouth and we were both exhausted.
John finished the first unofficial Otter run and I did not.

This plaque is hidden on the trail somewhere

This haunted me until 2009 when with the permission of San Parks we were allowed to officially prove that the Otter could be run in a day. This time a lot fitter and more experienced along with my Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team we completed the run in a shade over 8 hours.
The start of the first official "Otter " recce

In August 2010 I was offered an entry to do the Hitec Otter Trail Run I kicked myself for even hesitating 5 minutes before accepting the offer. So why try and run the Otter Trail in a day when it can be enjoyed over a 5 day period for a fraction of the price and a fraction of the pain. My answer is simple and as cliche as it sounds it is because we can. Last year I gave a couple of people advice on their training and race strategies and they all finished the Otter .This year will be the same except I will be out there running too, not wondering how my chargers are doing and will they make it.

Jeannette was out with the Magnetic South Team to check out the route and also to bring back information to me about the route!!! This is what she had to say
"How lucky was I to be part of the scout team to check out the otter trail run for the big otter run that magnetic south is organizing in September. we started at 6am on Saturday with the same conditions that the Otter runners would be facing tide and time of the day only thing was that we had to start with our head torches. All I can say it is tough and you will be sore even if you are super fit but what an experience fynbos in full bloom it is the best trail run out there. it took martin and I 6:30 (of moving time IE not including quite a few breaks) we didn't go out to break any records just to run and check it out but even with our conservative pace it was still nothing to laugh at. I'm glad today that I wore my Rocket Compression Tights for the whole run cos I'm able to walk like a normal persons on Sunday which I'm sure I would have not been able to if I hadn't wore them. The Otter run is a truly beautiful, inspiring run it makes you work hard but at the end of it one finishes with a smile to have accomplished it and witness such stunning views makes every pain worth it. Enjoy it" Netski.

"What is going to be special for me this year is that I have decided to try and raise some money and awareness for an amazing day care centre in Plettenberg Bay called Die Sterreweg. This Centre cares for 24 disabled children who have basically be discarded by all but a few in medical and social circles. These kids can’t do what we do and for them taking a few steps or learning a new song is far more of a challenge than for me to go and run 42km and climb 2, 2 vertical kilometers in one day.
My challenge is to go out and do the Otter Trail and beat my time of 8 hours and at the same time create awareness about a small group of kids who also do things because they can even if they are only a few steps or a new song. I will be taking about 55 000 steps on the 25th September 2010. In my mind I want to take each step for those kids at Die Sterreweg. With this in mind why don’t you join me and donate money in increments of 55 to this really amazing place. "James

Click on this link and do the deed

Or check out this little havens web site on

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swazi Extreme 2010. Team does it again

When it became clear that the PpART was not going to make the “Big Trek” to Swaziland for the final running of the Swazi X I popped off an email to Shane Raw founder, captain and manager of the Swazi based Team to see if they had any late withdrawals like they had last year when I joined the team three days before the event. As bad luck would have it Shane had just broken his arm (“he fell off a ladder”) and the team was a member short. After some emailing and slow communication Shane picked up the pieces and got the team organized. The Team for 2010 would be Hillary Pritchford (paddler and more recently trail runner), Deon Bruss (retired paddler, farmer and adventurer), Gordon Johnstone (clothing manufacturer, mountain biker and paddler) and James Stewart (farmer, adventurer and super-sub).
After a lot of logistical nightmares the four Team members arrived at the start venue Nisela Lodge just south of Big Bend in Swaziland. Here we met up with the other new member of the Team Jaco Strydom our last minute second from Pretoria (and what a second we uncovered here, his contact details will remain the property of the Team for now.)This is what he had to say on his blog
Seconding for the team was just about as hard as doing the race. They arrive by canoe and 5 minutes later they are fed, rehydrated, refilled, changed into cyclists, and on their way. Then we pack the boats and the camp and charge to be at the next transition point before them, get their running gear ready, food and water ready... and so on through the day (and sometimes into the night).
Along to help Shane with his broken arm and Jaco with his broken foot was Shane son Braden (what a bundle of energy he was).As usual the evening before the race got gobbled up repacking vehicles and sorting out the maps for the next day. I think we were definitely the last team to hit the sack on Friday night.

It was all too soon when the alarms and Jaco kicked us out of bed to get us up to the start by 5:45 am. The race briefing was quick and after a count down the race started well for everyone except us. Hilary and shot back to the car to get a chest strap for Deon’s pack. There was a mad dash of towards CP1 at the end of the old airfield a couple of kms away. With a confident bearing on the map we went straight there and had already over taken some of the teams who had bolted away. The next couple of checkpoints guided us through some bushveld and across some sugar cane fields. After running with Team Thule (which included Knysna local Kate Southey "This years race was much like the experience you have as a child when you have your first 'gobstopper' - there's no easy way to the end, you just keep going until it's done. The Swazi was one monster gobstopper that took teams through 3 days of non-stop racing, up and over the Lubombo mountains by foot, back over by bicycle and almost into Mozambique by canoe") for a bit we parted company with them as they started doing the Pro Course while we headed into Transition One with a couple of teams ahead of us. The next cycling leg took us through more cane fields and cattle farms to the start of the paddle leg on an irrigation canal. With warnings about low bridges and “flumes “we set of to catch up with the other teams that were ahead of us. With some quick portaging and good paddling (to be expected from this team) we took out first at the end of the paddle leg and were heading for home. An Op point that was opposite a disused road that was shown as a proper road caused us a bit of a delay but we got it in a few minutes and then with compass in hand took the tiger line thru the bush to the finish . The cattle paths were not to overgrown and the gamble paid off and we arrived 25 minutes ahead of the “Silent Assassins”. Day one was in the bag but where were the curved balls from Darren we asked as we relaxed in the camp????

A quick portage around on of the low level bridges helped us into the lead

During the evening the Pro teams came and went from the camp. Most of them already with the hollow eyed stare that one gets after a long day on the trail. We were fed and watered by our trusty seconds and hit the sack early excited about the fact that tomorrow had a 17 km river paddle through the Usutu Gorge.

Braden gets ready for the paddle on day two at our well organised camp

Day two started with a quick bike leg down to the river where our K2 s were waiting. There was an unsupported transition from the paddle to a long 20 km hike so we needed two carry quite a bit of water for the paddle and hike legs. Our boats were loaded and we headed down to the river about 10 minutes a drift of the Silent Assassins and a couple of the faster biking teams. Within 5 minutes we came across all the teams that were e in front of us at a weir. We portaged over the weir quickly put in and paddled through the rapids at the bottom of the weir. Here we paddled with Kobus and Donovan and Carter from Team Jabawock for a bit. Hilary and Deon’s paddling experience now came to the surface and their lines around the sand banks and through the small rapids were sublime. It was not long before we were soaking up the isolation of the Gorge and extending our lead.” The second day started easily enough with Jamo and Deon slowing us down telling Hilda and I not to rush. The second leg was a paddling section on the Usutu which was spectacular’’ Gordon.

After about two hours I pulled out the map and suggested that we should start looking for the banner and the marshals for the take out. A dead crocodile caught our attention and a bit further down stream we asked a local if he had seen anyone with a bakkie and trailer. No was the answer. The transition on the map was marked as couple of hundred meters from the Mozambique border so I suggested we carry on to the border just in case the map was incorrect. There is no fence, rope, pile of stones or landmines that demarcate this border we found out a couple of kms down stream. “ I think Jamo had a wicked little plan up his sleeve and sent us on a sightseeing mission into Mozambique, this wasn’t the end of the world until we had to paddle 4km back upstream. Then it did become a problem. Besides the fact that we had to paddle against a very strong current we were egged along by a wild looking local with long dreadlocks and a stick who was chasing us, all I could hear was panicky gasps from Hilda who feared for our lives. As it turned out he was a just a friendly fellow trying to tell us where we had to get out!” Gordon
Swaziland is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have been and km seem to tick by without us even noticing – the paddle was stunning – a bit too stunning as we decided to add a few extra km onto it – Mozambique is wonderful as well, first time I have paddled across the border and it wasn’t even that hard J anyway back to the race – being about 25min ahead of the rest of the field – our little excursion set us back an hour. We hiked hard! We each had our ups and downs but the team pulled together fantastically the focus was truly there!
We turned and slogged our way back against the current which had bought us so swiftly into Mozambique. Over an hour latter we arrived at the transition to see the banner in the tree where we had stopped and Hugh Raw there to check us in and load our boats. With clean socks and a roll from our packs we headed up hill out of the valley about an hour behind the Silent Assassins and Swazi Moto who despite paddling sit on top fluids had also beaten us to the take out. The hike went well with us taking every opportunity to use the cattle tracks to short cut the road and get to the transition. The last bike was short and fast and we managed to over take Swazi Moto who had punctured and had forgotten about a check point on the way. The day ended with us only 23 minutes behind the Assassins. We would go into the final day with everything to play for.

Shoes drying after the hike out of the Usuthu Gorge

Day Three arrived and we were given our maps just after first light. This meant a lot of work to do before we set out on what would be the toughest and longest day. We were glad it was going to be long this would give us more time to reel in the race leaders and then hammer home the advantage. The day would only have two legs a short hike which would include an abseil and a pothole jump and then a long bike leg. The hike went well and soon we were at the abseil in second place.

We abseiled down a small portion of this massive Gorge

We had lost the early race leaders after we decided to contour around a valley instead of going thru it just after the start. After a bit of adrenalin we set of to the transition through the bush taking some not so well worn paths and picking up a couple of scratches along the way. The transition went way too quickly and I left not having eaten or drunken much having been focused on the next 5 pages of maps that would take us to the finish.

Shane makes one of his awesome "one armed rolls"

We turned of a farm road onto a rocky path that was fun to ride but soon became un-ridable even for our motor bike gurus Deon and Gordon. AS the saying goes what goes down has to go back up and we confronted a steep eroded path up the other side of the gorge where it was impossible to ride and the bikes were shouldered and we headed up wards. By now the Swazi sun was beating down and the temperature was rising but we were in the “virtual” lead and knew that it would be hotter in the valley when the others came thru latter. The never ending rolling hills finally got us onto a piece of tar road with the option of taking a slightly longer route thru the town of Steki and a garage with cold drinks and chips. Hilary and I were both feeling the heat and my quads had cramped into nice little balls. A liter of Sprite (for me) and Coke for the others and a couple of packets of salt and vinegar chips saw us on the road and dodging the Sunday afternoon taxis before we turned of the tar and back into the bush . This last 30 km were fantastic. We were in a long valley whose over all gradients was down hill with a couple of short climbs in between. As always the African sun which had risen so slowly in the morning before baking us dropped like a stone behind the mountains and had us rummaging around for our head lights. With the darkness came a couple more punctures and some silly mistakes in repairing them and once again we were under pressure to get to the finish.” we got onto the bikes thinking how hard could the following 70km be? Well it was tough and I think we all had our own personal moments of ‘hell’ during the course of the day. 4 punctures later and rushing to cover as much distance as we could while we still had light the sun went down and the stars came out and we still weren’t home. A bit of creative navigating by Deon and Jamo lead us up and down the course and a little over two hours later we were done after finally finding the last elusive point”. Gordon With only our head lights a couple of tumbles were inevitable but we were on the home straight and not even a chance encounter with a hippo was going to stop us (we never saw one but they were defiantly there). A short detour to the last check point of the race saw us ride onto the cricket field at Simunye Country Club to be met by our seconds and race organizers and start our stop watches for what would be a long 25 minutes to make sure we had sealed our victory. Half an hour passed with no other teams coming on t the field and the win was ours.

Gordon’s last chirp” Let’s just say things were a little bit more rushed than in previous years. I would have to put this down to the fact that my fellow team members were very thirsty individuals and worked on the very solid theory that the sooner we finished each day the sooner we could have a few beers. I was all in for that and had no complaints!

“I had big intentions to do some training or at least harden my butt and do a few rides before race day, as we all know how the second day on a sore butt is not nice. I will confirm that 2 pairs of cycling pants feels like an XL poo in your pants but it helps a little for a sore chaffed butt. I went into Swazi a little under trained and very conscious of the fact. I was relying on Gordon I don't run (I gallop), Hillary being a little slower on the hills because I knew she was wicked on the downs. I knew if I threw some random strategic doubt towards the direction we were going James might not falter but the others would slow down and check the map and I could rest. Well that all went out the window as we started, the team was so composed and solid and we went along at a steady controlled pace, the whole way” Deon

So Aieesh! Were victorious overall for the third year running and what a race it was, pity we cant race it again. Thanks to Darren, Anita and his team for making it happen.

“A big thanks to our super seconds – Shane (broken arm) Jaco (Broken ankle) little Braden (Adventure racer in training) and Tammy (the unseen Chef!) without these guys we wouldn’t have made it to the finish!” Hilary

To the whole team, Hilary,James, Gordon, Shane, Jaco, Braden and Tam.You guys are the best and thanks for racing with me and getting us to the end first.

Over and out ,I have finger cramp” Deon

All smiles at the finish line. We clean up quite well See below

From Left to right Shane Raw ,James Stewart,Gordon Johnstone,Jaco Strydom,Deon Bruss,Hilary Pritchford and in Front Bryden Raw

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Adventure Racing

What a start to to the week with both Jeannette and I being exposed to the realities of AR before we even got to the race in this case the 10th and final edition of the Swazi Extreme or the Swazi X.

Jeannette was phoned by her team mates on Sunday night to say that they will not be going to The Swazi X because Clint has not fully recovered from a mugging incident and they cant find a suitable replacement. This was a huge disappointment to her and this just goes to show the value of having a squad and looking after it.

My team Team called me in as a late replacement when its founder member Shane Raw broke his arm a couple of weeks ago.We are still facing the up hill struggle of finding another second to join us on the trip to Swaziland.

On the positive side I will be on my way this afternoon and there is no turning us around to defend our title in the final edition of the Swazi X. Jeannette and Jeff will be in action over the weekend doing the Om Die Berg Trail run in George. A tough 40 km of trail running faces them as they go up Tierkop and over Cradock Peak. We look forward to some good results and pictures from them.

Below is a picture of the victorious Team in 2009

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"BIG FIVE" in Knysna

The “BIG FIVE” at the Knysna Oyster Festival 2010

This competition was introduced by Knysna Tourism this year and had the local multi sports brigade drooling. The thought of having 5 high class races in 8 days was mouth watering stuff but how many would rise to the challenge. From the PpART side Jeff and I were in and signed up with Jeff opting to do the Mountain Bike (85km) , Road Bike (100km), Featherbed Trail Run (15km), Xterra Full and the Forest Full Marathon (42.2km). I opted to do the same except swap the Road bike for the 18km Knysna Lagoon Canoe race.

July 3rd 2010 Jeff starts the Mountain Bike race in a batch 10 minutes ahead of me. I am relieved as Jeff has a history of breaking people he rides with. After 18km we reached the King of The Mountain spot and there was Jeff who said he was waiting for me (lies, he had broken his friend who was riding with him and he was resting). We rode the next 20 kms together with Leon taking big strain and after the fantastic single track of Petrus se Brand I left the two to finish at their own pace. Jeff was now in “good Samaritan “ mode, helping anyone blond and with a problem .The second half of the route was a great mixture of short climbs and some fast descents and then a fast forestry road section in to the finish. What a great route and highly recommended.

July 6th Jeannette, Jeffery and James all board the ferry to the start of the Featherbed Trail Run. Rhona ran earlier in the day. We decided to do the night run which we hoped might slow down some of the racing snakes not used to racing at night. The weather was icy and our excitement increased when one of the motors on the ferry broke a mounting and the” chirps about the swimming leg of the race was just about under way” were bandied about on the boat. This incident was well handled by the crew and we landed safely on the jetty of he Featherbed nature reserve. The run starts with a gut wrenching climb to the top of the western Head and then follows an 8 km section of single track winding down above Lake Brenton and spitting you out at the railway bridge for another 3 km of tough running next to the railway line to the finish. The finish venue was the Cruise Café with great food drink and an awesome vibe to end of a great run.
Jeannette shares the podium with two other AR girls Susan Sloane and Jeannie Bomford

July 7th a day off to try and recover as quickly as possible before the Xterra on Thursday. It was now that I was feeling the benefits of my Rocket Compression socks and tights. I had done the run in my socks and then slept in the tights after the bike and run and my legs really felt in good shape. The rest of me was battling with a sore throat and tiredness taking their toll after only two events but with a full work schedule rest was not an option. Jeff was in the same boat.

July 8th. The Xterra held at Pezula with the start finish area on the soccer field kindly vacated by the French after their early World Cup exit. The race a 3km run followed by a 25km mountain bike and then a 7km run would be a little short for the type of training we have been doing but good fun at least. Jeffery, Jeannette and lined up along side Rhona who was doing the relay in the mixed category. We all paid the price for starting too near the back and got caught behind the slower traffic up the first hill. The rest seem to wiz past and two and a bit hours latter we were all finished ,with Rhona and her partner winning the mixed relay , Jeff coming third in his age group . Broken after Xterra

July 10th the start of the Tri Nations Rugby and also the Knysna Forest Marathon. Jeff and I lined up for the full 42,2km while Rhona was at the start of the 21,1km that started an hour latter. What a great run the route follows dirt roads through indigenous and commercial forestry and the fact that we only ran 7km on tar makes this the marathon to do if you are an adventure racer or trail runner and cant stand thumping along the tar. Jeff finished easily under the four hour mark to finish his Big 5.I had a great run and bumped into Mark Loftus an old AR buddy and we ran the last 3 kms together. It was back home and into the Rockets and onto the couch for some recovery and Tour De France for the rest of the day.

July 11th this should have been a doddle for me to finish my Big 5 but the weather had other ideas. Sunday morning was cold, very cold and windy and raining. Out came the Helly Hansen Warm and a short sleeve underneath and off we went to Knysna to see how many people would brave this weather in order to paddle after a big night with the Pallertones . I was impressed to see that paddlers are still pretty hard core and there were about 70 people that turned up to do the race. The wind, rain and cold made for a challenging paddle but after just under two hours I was standing in the Knysna Yacht Club, dry and warm and happy to have completed the Big 5.

For the technos here are some facts:
Total racing time 14:09hrs
Total energy 14360 kcal
Total distance 188.2km
Ascending 3984 meters

What a great week it was 5 events in 8 days . All in all it was a lot harder than I thought it would be and a good rest has been the order of the day. I am sure the organisers have got a lot to think about in terms of the competition and all the different categories they opened themselves up to in terms of the BIG 5 event. The fact that so few paddlers entered may pull the event away from being a true multi sport event but then there are not that many multi sporters out there which is what makes us a great breed in the fact that we are prepared to go out and compete in sports that we may not be good at but we give them a go and enjoy doing it. So here's to next years BIG 5 still being a true blue multi sport competition and a few more paddlers doing a bit of running or riding and even more so the odd cyclist getting in a boat this summer

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Your Guide to the Knysna Oyster Festival by The Team

Each year in July thousands of people flock to Knysna for the annual Oyster Festival. Apart from the numerous cultural and culinary side shows the eight day long festival offers a multitude of sporting events aimed at pro and social sports people alike.For The Team this two weeks offers up a challenge of going out of ones comfort zone and doing as many events as possible. We will have team members in all of the seven sports events on offer at the festival with Jeff and James competing in the Big Five Contest where they have choosen five events over the eight day festival.
I asked each member to write a short article on their favourite event during the Festival and how they would be tackling it. Please note the opinions expressed below are those of the individual not the Team.
See you all there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bike Rides

Riding your bike in and around Knysna ,be it on road or on the dirt normally is a pleasure, wide open spaces, fairly decent road users and you might bump into the odd local on route and then if you lucky you’ll see the odd celebrity like Kevin Evans Yolandy Speedy Matyus Bekus and of coarse the likes of us Pennypinchers Adventure Racers that are always out there soaking up the waters, trails and forests .But beware the Oyster bike rides are upon us and its all going to change. Where we normally need a map ,Gu, a wipe of Blue Steel ,a Helly Hansen top and a smudge of Island Tribe to feel prepared it all changes this weekend. You need to have so much more to fit in ,to start with you will have to shave from your toes to your side burns ,wear at least one piece of sponsored clothing to feel allowed into the town .

So let this be a guide for you multi sport and adventure racers out there:
1) To start don't ever loose your identity there's only a few of us but we are well respected. The fact that they don't acknowledge you is a road bike thing.
2) Don't get caught wearing your Rocket Compression kit although you will need them if you doing the Big Five events, you don't want people to know your secret to recovery, it must be hidden by your jeans and a Helly.
3) Don’t ever wear pink its unsafe
4) Arrive early on Friday to register traffic is going to be hell. Oh and did you know registration has moved to where the mountain bike race always starts and finishes for that matter. The other field has been upgraded for the soccer although they have already left its not being used (hey we should start a bike polo game there), ok don't try to drive to the registration or the start of the two bike rides park at the first parking you find or at the old registration field and walk or drive in it will be quicker.
5) The mountain bike route has not changed much starts with those two same dam hills but you don't cross the N2 and have that dreaded last climb there will be others but not as bad and remember the last 5/6 km are down hill .
6) The road bike has also gone back to the original route out and back to Hoekville. I will miss going past our favorite Pennys hardware store and enjoying their friendly watering table but maybe we will see more Pennys guys on route with us ,so check out the route as you drive in from Cape Town.
7) Make sure you bring enough Gu for during and recovery ,use your Rocket compression gear during and for recovery and don’t be shy to use your Blue Steel you don't want to walk like a cowboy after a day in the mud it will be a long week. Make sure you have good warm kit like a Helly Hansen with this you wont cook latter in the day ether.
8) Please keep a eye out for us Pennypinchers racers we will greet you with a smile and if we not on a hill maybe even catch up ,any thing you've forgotten you can try Earth Scout at our Waterfront or the two bike shops now both on Waterfront Drive ,one just a stone throw from the start line .

We all looking forward to seeing you out there I’ll be doing all six events so I’m sure we will bump into each other somewhere.


The Featherbed Trail Run

This will be the 3rd year that this magnificent trail run will be held in the very exclusive Featherbed Nature Reserve. What a privilege to be able to take part in such a unique environment. There will be a short and slightly longer trail run this year with 3 options of a morning, afternoon and night start. One starts with an uphill just to spread out the field so that the stronger runners can be separated from the slower ones. When you start with this uphill, to me it normally feels as if I have never run in my life. When one gets to the steps at the most beautiful part of the Eastern Head, it feels the same and one is forced to walk up some of those steps. Use the excuse to enjoy the scenery or take a picture if you don’t go for a win, to get your breath back. The distance of both trails runs sound short, but be careful there are no water points will be provided. You have to look after yourself. Although the route back over the old railway bridge looks easy and straight forward, don’t lose concentration because a misstep could cost you dearly. Enjoy your race – it is obvious how popular this trail run is because in no time all six events were fully entered.

The perfect scenario for Xterra training in my books would be nice, short but hard sessions of running with some hill training because I know that Knysna has some sweet little hills in it. The transition from the bike to the run is also something that one should practice " cos those legs aren’t going to work to well. So let me go back to the real world yes running I've done but I think my 38km of trail running plodding along enjoying the view hardly sounds like the fast intense training that I know I should have done. But hey at least there where some hills which fair enough I walked but better then nothing and the good news was that I was wearing my rocket socks (to amusement of the rest of the runners calling me a hockey player) so my legs where pretty much ready for Xterra training the next day.
Now to my cycling!! Well who could refuse a 55km moonlight cycle which took us three and half hours so time on the bike is there, hills where also included, transition from the bike to run!! Does getting of and pushing the bike count?? The good news is that I know my nutrition and race food I have figured out and trained with, a few GU gels yummy (my favorite being vanilla) and water. So all and all my Xterra training might not be the most scientific and correct way but it was the most fun way and that's what counts having fun, being out there with same crazy minded people. And by the way winning is not everything ya right!! See you at Xterra.


The Knysna Forest Marathon

Believe it or not this is possibly one of the most popular runs in the country in terms of novices wanting to get into half (21 km) and ultimately full (42 km) marathons !

The sight that greets every participant in the early hours of the morning as they clamber from their cars is this long line of minibus taxis and busses consuming throngs of enthusiastic and in some cases still very hung over Bruce Fordyce wannabees and if you are lucky even an Elvis here and there waiting for their ride into the chilly and enduring Knysna Forests !
This in itself is all part of the experience as you thunder along with all your fellow competitors with the "beat" turned up to full volume and your 4 am breakfast about to return to the outside world the way it came in.

On arrival at the start line (21 km you run south and the 42 you head north) its all about self preservation and the earliest, fastest and fittest get to huddle around the fires those not so fortunate shiver away while they await the starters gun. So be prepared to have the right kit and this is where you cannot go wrong layering yourself with some fine Helly Hansen gear. For the Pennypinchers Adventuring Racing Big Five athletes - their tried and tested training routine of mixing up short hard intervals with long endurance runs the legs will be ready come marathon day. Add in some hefty hill climbs in the training otherwise you are in for a big shock come event day - there are some serious ups and downs (sometimes these downs can be even harder on a poorly tuned bod).

Being a Road Marathon, water points are organised all along the route but better to carry your GU and have a hydration belt to feed on the supplements that best suit you .......otherwise its a choice of sachets of water ( blamed for many a gippo gut ) or cups of coke ( great for a sugar high and then an equally fast low ). GU have hit the market not only with their ever popular Energy Gels, but you can now feast on their jelly baby equivalent - The Chomp and a fine choice of flavours for your juice concentrate !

Running can demand a lot out of your feet and as adventures racers have found out over and over - it is so important to give them every bit of tlc to get the job done and be ready for more. Blue Steel anti chafe spread between the toes and in the crotch will give you such a smooth glide you will never go without it again.

Winter conditions may not call for heaps of sunscreen but Island Tribe Lip Balm will protect your lips from succumbing to cracks and cold sores.

The full marathon has a tendency to irritate any lurking ITB injuries and make the last downhill through Simola a very painful experience. Rocket Compression garments have come out with a nifty range that includes a whole host of options. My personal favourites being the full length tights that make you look like you are about to take on the Bolshoi Ballet but in terms of performance during and after your run make every disparaging comment "water of a ducks back" - these really work and have a pair to sleep in that night post the run and you will feel amazing the next day, and the next, and the next ...........

Always good to run with someone who is pretty much your same pace, helps to chat away as well and numb the passing kms is to set your sights on someone up front who is setting a pace slightly faster and like a "pac man" start hunting them down .......helps even more if it is a very shapely pair of legs you are chasing (will leave it up to you whether it be a he or a she ????).
Keep the heart rate down as it is so easy to blow too early trying to sprint out of the starting blocks with all the other grey hounds, 42 kms is a long way and slowly slowly its amazing how many of those supposed grey hounds you pass along the way.

The best of all is that the full marathon includes good stretches of the original Knysna Forests and not the plantations mostly found on the half. Running in real ancient forest is an absolute buzz and really helps to re -energise you, so look around and enjoy the passing show, more often than not a Knysna Loerie will tease you as it glides in and out of the canopy, showing off its splendour.

Either way running the Knysna Forest marathons is a great deal of sheer enjoyment as it includes all the "gees" of your serious athletes right through to those who are out for a fat jol and whatever your fancy you are guaranteed to enjoy the vibe !

Look out for the Pennypinchers Duo all dressed so and hey who knows you might be Adventuring Racing next !
Chris (Che Che)

The Enricos Lagoon Challenge

This is the final event of the Knysna Oyster Festival and of the Big 5 Challenge. The canoe race is open to all types of paddle craft and is always great fun despite the sore legs and often sore heads that follow the Forest Marathon. The course makes the most of the Knysna lagoon and takes you through the Waterfront as well as the Thesen Island canals. There is a short portage on each of the two laps which is great to get out and stretch the legs.There is a shorter 6km race for the youngsters and the not so fit but the long race is 18km. There are always a couple of racing snakes in the field so if paddling is your game you will need to look out for that wave at the start and try and hang on as the bunches formed. If like me you have done the Big 5 then I suggest find a good wave and hang in there until the end ( there are always more doubles than singles ).Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the Knysna Yatch Club afterwards and pat your self on the back for a good fun and healthy week in Knysna.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cold weather and magic trail runs by Lettuce and Netski

Cold and wet but still out there!!!!

Last week must have been the coldest conditions that we have trained in ever. The mercury was not above 5 degrees on any of the early morning or evening training sessions and with heavey rain and snow on the mountains around the Garden Route most people retreated indoors to a glass of red wine and a fire. Youth day saw Chris,Netski and I head into the Harkerville Forest for a run in our newest Helle Hansen kit. Chris wore his new HH Warm ,I was in a HH Hybrid and Jeannette in a HH Longsleeved Cool with a windbreaker on top. Despite the horific cold and wet we all finished the run feeling that we had got our temperatures right with out having to don layer apon layer of gear a tribute to the Helle Hansen gear.The picture above was taken after a two and half hour run through the forest.

On Sunday Chris ,Jeannette and Jeff joined the Plett section of the Mountain Rescue unit to run the first two days of the Titsitikamma Trail with a bit tagged on the end to help with transport logistics. This what Jeannette had to say:

What a stunning way to spend a winter morning a 38km trail run thru the most beautiful wilderness area and right on our door step. Some of the Pennypinchers Team members where lucky and privileged enough to get invited by Drew to do this run. Special permits where need and due to Drew and me being involved in the Mountain Rescue we where allowed to go and scout a certain trail which one finds winding it's way thru our mountains, natural forest, fern covered streams, snow capped peaks and stunning valley's. We started nice and early Me and 5 Fathers ( Drew, Lee, Andrew, Jeff and Chris) who said this must be one of the best ways to spend fathers day!!! Let me just say that theses dad's made me suffer, it took us 5hrs with quite a few exclaiming wow, amazing, stunning picture taking stops thank god for those!!. But wait it did not stop there, Melanie ,Andrews wife so kindly drove to meet us at the finish to drop of our bikes so we could cycle back to the start thru the old Bloukraans pass a nice and easy 23km cycle back. I don't think to many dad's could compare their fathers day morning to this one. Thank you guys for dragging me with you to Drew for organizing it and to Nature for providing us with such stunning places. Netski