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

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