Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Making News this Week


It has been a fantastic two weeks for the Team. This run of good news began with the long awaited delivery of our new kit. After long hours at the drawing board and mails backwards and forwards between myself, Pennypinchers and Joe Nesbitt from Second Skins we came up with design for our new kit. It is not as easy as it seems especially trying to make sure that one can get some coverage even when given a ridiculous race bib to wear. Any way it all arrived and not only looks great but is technically very good too.
It was only a day before we got to put the gear to the test. With the Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast Mountain Bike Race scheduled for the weekend Garth made the long trip from East London to take part with Jeff and me. To make the trip worthwhile we decided to throw in a couple more activities and we entered the Goukamma Trail Run on Saturday and took our canoes along so Garth and Jeff could spend some time in a boat before the Eden Duo later this month. Also running in the new kit would be Nic and Brandon our junior entry into the Eden Duo.

My day started badly with somee stomach issues but what a great sight it was see Nicholas heading of up the beach just behind trail running aces John Collins and Rhoan Kennedy. He hung on just off the pace behind these two speedsters. The rest of us followed in a red and black and white line down the beach. We lost sight of the lead trio as they headed into the dunes but Nic finished a very respectable third place and first junior ahead of Brandon.

Nic after his well deseved third place finish . Well Done

With the 16k through the dunes done and dusted we headed on to the beautiful Goukamma lagoon for an hour and half paddle with Jeff and Garth settling into the double quite quickly. After some moans and groans the got a good rhythm going and we headed past Kingfishers and a host of other water birds before coming back and heading into Knysna to pack our bikes and head over The Prince Albert Pass to Union dale for the mountain bike race on Sunday.

Not being registered cyclists and wanting to ride together Jeff, Garth and I lined up in the last batch and were the last people to leave Uniondale when the traditional shotgun blast started our batch. Jeff decided to time trial us through the batch and soon the “red train “and got through the bath as we hit the Ou Wapad which has been fixed and saw about half the people riding up and the other half pushing, although not that much quicker we managed to stay on our bikes and enjoy the technical downhill that followed. Soon after that one gets to the start of the pass and after a short climb a 14 km downhill really gets the adrenaline going (Garth was soon in his element). Unfortunately what goes down must go up and the long climb from De Vlugt saw the gradient and the temperature rise. By the time we reached Bufflesnek Garth and lots of others were feeling the effects of the heat with a bit of cramp. With a few Cramp Blocks and no sympathy from his Team Mates it was another downhill through the forest into Knysna. Pennypinchers Plett owner Sean Gannon finished his first Karoo to Coast despite breaking a spoke, no back brakes and “massive cramps” , “that was the toughest thing I have done” he said to me at the finish.

Happy campers after the Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast

A week later and Natures Valley came alive with the runners and event organizers for the third running of the Otter African Trail Run. The Team has a long standing relationship with the Otter with me taking on the Otter in 2004 illegally with John Collins and then doing many of the route scouts with Magnetic South. Last year saw Jeff and I both compete in the event and the year before Garth ran the Otter and took part in the Southern Storm. Netski has also run the Trail with scouting runs and the Mountain Rescue crew. This weekend Jeannette and I were going to be doing a mid field sweep for the Otter Ramble (the same course but with longer cut off times than the Race on Friday where Ryan Sands blitzed the 42 km in 4hrs 40 mins). Nic had also volunteered his services and joined SANPARKS and Mountain Rescue out on the route.

Sunday morning saw 189 bedraggled runners leaving a wet and rainy Storms River knowing that they had 42 kms of wet slippery paths to contend with. Almost everyone heeded Mark Collins’s advice and took the route slowly and cautiously.
Spending 8hrs 40 on the Trail was great and with very little Mountain Rescue tasks to do Netski and encouraged tired runners along dishing out the odd GU to blown runners and making sure they did not throw in the towel. The route was wet but spectacular with torrents of water everywhere and waterfalls falling off every cliff. Almost all the runners made it to the finish and only 30 odd runners were cut off along the way, a tribute to the organizers and the runners themselves.
This waterfall is normally smelly bit of stagnant water

The beach at Natures Valley always a welcome sight

After having our new Second Skins kit for two weeks now it has all been well tested. The shirts have been put through their paces on two trail runs a paddle and a mountain bike marathon with the whole Team absolutely thrilled. The Trail Running shorts have also been out there with Chris and I both running the Otter in them with no chaffing or creeping. Thanks Joe. What is also great about the newe kit is that the branding is really clear and identifiable.

With two great training weekends under the belt there are just 4 weeks till the Eden Duo and Nic and Brandon are off to Natal to defend their U18 National Adventure Racing title. Good luck boys .

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