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.


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