Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Wrap up

Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team 2013

The year of 2013 is done and dusted. As a Team we have had a real roller coaster of a year- highs of great results, mother hood for one team member and the happy faces of people finishing our events and as always lows, races that did not go our way, injuries and disappointments. All these things go into the bank of experience and this is one of our biggest assets as a Team. We know what needs to be done when and how.

Summary of 2013

January 2013:

 Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Race 135km. Jeff flies the flag and does well in his 5th Attakwas MTB Race considered the toughest single day MTB ride in the country. Training began in earnest for Expedition Africa 2013. Garth takes part in the annual Surfers Marathon in East London and knocks a few minutes off his PB after getting a seeded start which is a big help in this race.

February 2013:

 The month flew past with the Garden Route members (James, Netski and Jeff training in the Knysna Forests and preparing the trails at Cairnbrogie for the Easter Trail Run. We all meet at the Allermans Kraal Dam in the Free State for the Double Moon Adventure Race (250km). After a really hot and interesting race we finish a good second behind the Red Ants.

March/April 2013: March becomes a busy month with everyone training and getting into organizing the inaugural Pennypinchers Adventure Weekend scheduled to be part of the Discovery Plett Easter Games.

Good Friday 2013: The first Pennypinchers Adventure Weekend. The Team organizes three events as part of the Discovery Plett Easter Games. The Cairnbrogie Easter Trail Run starts the weekend off. The weather is challenging to say the least with rain and wind keeping a few people at home. . Of these the kids with special needs from the Sterreweg Day Care Centre had their own route around the farm yard and past the claves. An amazing experience for them all. We still have a great morning with about 200 runners pitching up in all shapes and sizes. As the last runner crossed the line the Team set about setting up the route for the first Mountain Bike Night relay to be held at Cairnbrogie. 50 cyclists braved the single track route and had a ball. We expect huge growth in this event. We donated R4000-00 to the Robberg Coastal Corridor Conservation effort from the proceeds of the Cairnbrogie runs and ride.  We also had a great community input with cakes, cool drinks and home bakes from the Griekwa Ladies Organization.

Saturday morning saw us setting up for the Pennypinchers Easter Surf ski Challenge at Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay. The wind was pumping and the sea was on its head but the paddlers headed out and Dawid Mocke and Michelle Eray claimed honors in a tough lap course around the bay. From this we donate R2000-00 to the NSRI for their help on the day.

The weekend was a huge success despite the weather not playing along for any of the events. 2014 looks to be bigger and better.


May 2013

Expedition Africa. 500km expedition Adventure Race. We travelled Mount Aux Sources for our third Expedition Africa. We went in with a new girl due to stalwart Jeannette Wylie being pregnant and unable to take part. The route, the teams present, everything about the race was going to be tough, challenging and a once in a life time experience. For the Team it proved to be one of our most challenging races as we never really got going and were of the race pace very early on and never made up that time later on. It was frustrating but I feel we all learned valuable lessons on the way and have built more into the experience bank. We finished a disappointing 16th but finished as a full team and that was one of our objectives.

June 2013

Jeff took on the Comrades and James was supposed to join him. James decided that it was too soon after Expedition Africa (two weeks) so did not go. Jeff was forced to bail in the hottest and toughest Comrades to date. Our replacement girl Helena Ferreira had a good Comrades despite only having two weeks to recover.

July 2013

Jeff takes part in the Knysna Oyster Festival big 5 competition (taking part in 5 of the festival events in 8 days). James ran the Full Marathon and joined Adrian Saffy who was on a Cancer Fund Raising run and supported him taking pictures of his 20 press ups every 5km. James takes part in the X-Lakes with junior cyclist Amy Williams, they finish second in the mixed pairs category. At the end of July James and Jeff travel to Lady Grey for the Winter Wartrail. 250km staged Adventure Race. After taking on icy windy conditions James finishes 5th and Jeff 7th. Good results all round

September 2013

The Team organizes its first Nite Run in the Harkerville Forest... The event attracts a field of 63 runners who once again braved the high winds and forecasted rain to attend. The run was a huge success and we plan to have a Nite Series in 2014.

October 2013

Eden Duo (165km multisport. Garth and James both picked up injuries in September and early October so it was up to Jeff to carry the flag. He teamed up with Knysna based Svelka Sharpe . James seconds the two as they have a tough day around George and Wilderness

November 2013 With Garth and James still injured Jeff headed to the Sky Run. Once again the weather gods turned it on and the race had to be called off after 65km as the conditions on the mountain tops become out of control. Jeff was comfortable up till then but all the athletes will have that thought of what if I had carried on.

December 2013

Kurland Summer Trail. We attract 100 Runners. GU and Pennypinchers brand the finish area. Donate R1500-00 to mind the Gap Foundation (Crags based charity) and employ members of the Kurland Neighborhood watch as marshals. The 21km new route is won by top trail runner Kane Riley.

Jeannette gives birth to a daughter Amber on the 9th of December.

The Blog.

The blog continues to be well supported and the face book page allows us to do live posting to the web from our phones while we are at a race. The blog now tops over 14700 views despite it not being as active as the Face Book Page. The Face Book page has become our main source of media and has got a great following and during the Easter weekend we had thousands of page views as we updated information for the races etc.


With the whole Team being together over the weekend of the Kurland Trail Run we were able to work out our main objectives for 2014 and work out the best possible way of achieving these goals .

From an event point of view it was decided that we would all continue to compete in as many local races as we can in terms of trail running, mountain biking and canoeing as well as any multi sport events that may occur. (Most of these dates and calendars are not finalized for 2014 yet).

The main focus of the Team for the first 6 months of this year will be The Expedition Africa 500km Race to be held in June 2014. In the Transkei .James, Jeff, Garth have decided to 100 % commit themselves to this race and have in fact already entered.




 The reasons are as follows

1)      The race is now sanctioned by the World Adventure Race Series and will attract quite a few overseas teams ,giving us the opportunity to compete against these teams.

2)      The race will be held in Transkei an area that we have a big advantage with due to local knowledge and language use

3)      It is the biggest race in the country and all the top South African Teams will be there

4)      It is a true adventure race and that is what we do

5)      We have got unfinished business from last years race

6)      We have an opportunity to race against numerous overseas teams

With this in mind we have plotted a route that will include the local trail runs and mountain bike races and the Double Moon 250km Adventure Race as build up. With Jeanette still not in the running we have been we have got some great potential girls in the mix and are looking forward to that challenge. The second six months of the year will include the Trans Baavians, The Eden Duo and the Salomon Sky Run as key events.

Event Organizing

This extra arrow to our quiver is turning out to be really successful. This last year we hosted 2 trail runs with a total of just under 400 runners taking part. The aim was to host a family fun filled day with a choice of routes for everyone to enjoy, young and old. The addition of a Niter Run was great to give people a glimpse of what our sport is about. This year we will once again organize 7 events. Over Easter we will host the Cairnbrogie Easter Trail Run, mountain bike relay and Easter Surf ski Challenge and expect huge growth from this. We also plan to have a series of three Nite Runs on the Garden Route. At the end of the year we will once again hold the Kurland Summer Trail Run

These events have three objectives

1)      To create an awareness and promote our sponsors using, branding ,media and a quality event

2)      To raise some funds for a local charity close to the event venue

3)      To promote the Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team brand

4)      To introduce and show case the world of adventure type sports to the Garden Route which is already becoming known as the Adventure Sport Capital of South Africa.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Kurland Summer Trail Run join The Pennypinchers Adventure

Date: 8 December 2013

Time: Registration from 6:30am

Start: From 7:30am

Distances: 20-22km (limited to 100 runners R175-00 (R200-00 late entry)                                                                                                           (mountains, Jeep track, single track,)                             


                  6-8 km (12 years and upwards) R60-00 (R75-00 late)

                               (jeep track, some climbing)


                  4km (fun run for all, prizes for U12 only) R40-00


                  Kiddies forest and field adventure trail  R20-00

                 (1- 1,5km kids &  Parents, self guided throughout the morning)                         


Venue: The Pavilion at Kurland Hotel

             15km East of Plettenberg Bay, on N2

             33 55 50.43 S

             23 29 04.24 E

Entries online at from November 1 2013


Contact: James 082 9257885 (

Monday, May 20, 2013

Expedition Africa 2013

Expedition Africa 2013

A new look Pennypinchers AR Team headed to the Drakensberg for the third edition on Expedition Africa. Helena Ferreira joined regulars Jeff Willcock, James Stewart and Garth Peinke on the trip to the Northern Berg

.” When I got the phone call asking me if I would be interested in taking part in EA 2013 I did not have to think twice, didn’t have to think at all!

The four very short weeks leading up to the race was filled with mixed emotions. After spending some time with my soon-to-be teammates the nerves settled and I knew that these guys will push, pull and carry me through!” was Helena’s response to the late call up caused by the “great news “ that Team stalwart Jeannette was pregnant.

We would be joined in the 500km adventure race by 31 other teams including 11 overseas teams (5 of these teams are ranked in the top 10 in the world).As well as all the local favourites, Merrell, Cyanosis, Red Ants ,Olympus, WCAD, Castle Light and old war horses Energy.


Attention to detail Heidi Muller from Kinetic gear


Sunday morning saw all the teams head to the local school for a tree planting ceremony with the local school kids all singing and dancing.

With two farmers in the Team we made quick work of planting the tree
Eating again Garth .Dinner the night before the start at Mount Aux Sources Hotel AWESOME

When the race route was revealed at the race briefing it was plain to see that the race organisers Kinetic Gear had upped the ante from last year and that the 500km of running, climbing, paddling and cycling would be a real challenge. Winners of the last two editions Merrell Adventure Addicts would line up with the unfamiliar underdog tag against some of the best in the world.

At the briefing 36 hours before the race start

Taking a novice into the race we needed to be conservative in our approach and could not afford to go out to hard from the start and this left us off the pace and constantly chasing our rivals .

After packing and plotting our maps we had Sunday night to consider our plight at the foot of the mighty Drakensberg. “After arriving in the dark and drawing the curtains from our bedroom window in the morning confirmed this all together with Woody’s comment, "boys it’s going to get ugly out there, those mountains are big!"

 The weather looked good up until Friday so we had 5 days to finish this challenge. This weather caught all the teams at the end of the week.

My new all time favourite Adventure Racing Picture. Thanks Bruce Viaene

Leg 1

Run/hike 79km (4430 m of vertical climbing)

Highlights-It got ugly as Woody predicted with him getting the first round of cramps before the chain ladder (maybe that extra plate at the buffet on Sunday night helped??). Crossing the source of the Tugela and Orange rivers, experiencing racing in snow drifts and across icy rocks. Standing on the edge of the Tugela Falls at CP 6. The falls were half frozen and the view spectacular. This is the second highest waterfall in the world falling some 900 meters. We climbed 4440m vertical meters in this 79 km leg and the navigation was a real challenge and a sign of the things to come. Finding the Rockeries Pass which is a 40m wide gap in the escarpment in the dark with no moon was a great boost in confidence for my navigation to start the race. What was amazing was also watching the dew on your shoes turn to ice as the temperature dropped after dark. At this stage we also realized that the best place to be after dark was off the mountain and that even with all the compulsory kit we were carrying you would still be freezing cold if you had to stop for any length of time.

Low light- taking 5 hours to cover 5km and descend 2000m on The Rockeries Pass that was just a huge rock slide. Arriving at T1 to find out that we had made a route decision that had put us on the back foot and off the pace. We will never know if we would have been faster on the Ifidi Pass but we had lost contact with our rivals. 

 Leg 2

Cycle 39km (150m loss of altitude)

Highlight- We had realised at this stage that we would not make the dark zone on the paddle (an area where the rapids were too technical to paddle in the dark so the race clock keeps going but all teams had to pull of the river at CP 14 until first light). This would allow us to catch up with a whole bunch of teams that had pushed hard to try and make it there before dark. So we took an easy ride to T2 to collect our boats. This easy leg might have just seen us take the foot off the gas and loose focus for a bit.

Lowlight- seeing how far the dam was from where we would receive our paddling kit (4kms). Here we had to carry our paddling gear as well as swim across a corner of the dam to get to our boats. With 75km of paddling ahead we were grateful to have rigged up our boats with back rests.

Leg 3

75km paddle

Highlight- paddling at night with zero visibility due to thick mist and sometimes ending up paddling onto the bank or down rapids that you could not see. We passed a couple of teams who had decided to sleep on the banks of the river due to the low visibility. We did get out scouting one small weir as we were waiting for the roar of the compulsory portage of a big weir but for the rest it was hit and miss as to whether would swim or making through the small rapids. I am sure in day light it would have been a whole lot more fun. Garth had this to say then a paddle that will stay embedded in my mind for many years to come. With the network of dams and rivers flowing from one to another     made for an exciting paddle. Never have I paddled, at night, where you can see more by turning your light off than having it on. And no there was no aid from the moon. With a maximum of 2m visibility and having to stop to hear in which direction the rapids were, made for very interesting paddling. Swimming at 2am in the morning down the odd rapid was rather fresh!!  After being cut off by the dark zone we continued on again with some larger but now visible rapids. Awesome! 


Being the last team to shoot the Tugela Falls rapids before the course was closed because it was too dangerous was great

Lowlight- falling out of the canoe more times than I have in the last 20 years. Losing all our juice bottles and food in the dark and mist.

 Leg 4 (89 km cycle)

Highlight-The last 1km of downhill single track to the old arms depot at Cathedral Peak. This leg took us back to the mountains via the SpionKop Game Reserve where a loop through the reserve provided some great game viewing. “Next 89km cycle took us along some fast dirt roads and railway lines until climbing again steadily back into the heavens only to rapidly decent again with the final section being an amazing mtb downhill track, with no room for error, into the halfway mark. A warm plate of real food and salad, and a block of butter (Lettuce) was a real treat for the tummy!  “Garth .Let me explain the last comment re the Butter. Butter is full of energy and dipped in salad dressing with salt and pepper makes a perfect snack


Lowlight- Knowing we would have to climb up the hill 5 hours later.

Leg 5 (59km hike/run) with abseil

Highlight-Finding the abseil point by dead reckoning with a compass in thick mist and darkness with Eugene from Team Energy. Abseiling down 5 waterfalls in the dark and cold. Helena showed huge guts here with only a couple of short abseils in training under her belt, going over the edge of a waterfall in the dark 5 times in a row takes some doing. The abseiling was the first challenge of the end of this leg the other was to get out of the kloof and get down the mountain to the road below which would take us to the next check point which in the dark would be an in and out affair although those in the day might have found the path along the river to the transition which we suspected was there but pitch blackness prevented us from finding it.

Lowlight- the last 5km of road to the next transition saw the whole team sleep walking down the road. The transition area was packed and it had started to rain so it was a fairly miserable place to be. Here Helena dived onto the first available mattress and curled up in her sleeping bag before we   had even checked in.

Leg 6 (cycle 169km)

Highlight- Despite knowing that we would once again have to climb up and over the escarpment we were fuelled by the fact that the end was now in sight and that the majority of the ride did not cross to many of the contour lines that we had experienced in the mountains. The weather was awesome and the kilometres ticked along nicely until I got attacked by the sleep monster at about 1:30pm (this is an old habit picked up in boarding school where my body craves a power nap at lunch time) After nearly riding of the road we pulled of onto a sunny verge and had a 10 minute power nap, this got me back on my bike and we continued at a great pace. We had to knock on the door of the general dealer in Gelukstad to get the pie and cooldrink we had been craving all day. Being an Indian General Dealer the choice of pies was Mutton Curry, Beef Curry or Chicken Tikka, very spicy and not great on sunburnt lips and empty stomachs – but we all wolfed down two each. This would fuel us well for the Besuidenhouts Pass – a long climb over the escarpment between Van Reneens Pass and Oliviershoek Pass. And then 15km of downhill to the Sterkfontien Dam

Lowlight: The only choice of pies in the Indian Trading Store in Gelukstad was Mutton Curry or Beef Curry.

Leg 7 (Paddle and Hike to the finish)

Highlight- none

Lowlight- we were told that in order to make the finish we be short coursed to the finish in the morning. This was due to the weather that had caused numerous teams to become lost in the mountains above the finish and some of them taking 36 hours to finish the 26 km hike to the finish. Short coursing is a reality in Adventure Race World Series and chatting to the overseas teams as many as 60 percent of the teams in these races will be short coursed. In fact in this race only 6 teams collected all the check points and the rest of the teams were short coursed to a varying degree. The fact that we were only short coursed right at the end was a plus I suppose. We did however get into the situation by not moving quickly enough to really have a choice in the matter.


Leg 8 – (50km cycle to finish)

Highlight-Awesome downhill’s

Lowlight- Freezing cold and wet. The adventure was over.

At the finish with good friends Team Energy – Thanks for the ride guys and girls

The first three place were filled by overseas teams after 5 days of nonstop racing

1) Haglofs Silva (Sweden)

2) Technu Racing (USA)

3) Raid Light (France)

The first South African Team was Cyanosis with favourites Merrell Adventure Addicts having to withdraw due to injuries to two team members. A further seven teams also withdrew due to one or more members not being able to continue.

“Carrying our bikes through thorn bushes, abseiling over, through and under waterfalls in the dark, finding our way down the mountain after a 20 hour hike on a “path” that in my opinion does not even faintly resemble a path, walking in a manner that will definitely get you pulled over by a cop for a breathalyzer test if done in town, shaking your head every now and again to wake up and figure out where you are” Helena Ferreira novice adventure racer

“The race was a true adventure and one felt that at all times if you made a silly mistake like slipping or falling or getting lost you would be in a lot of trouble. The new Team battled with the high altitude as well as new dynamic but take with it a once in a life time experience of true African adventure. “James Stewart

The support that we had out there on the course was unbelievable and I would like to really thank Cheryl Dempster who kept you all up to date on our Pennypinchers Adventure Face Book page. Also all the journalist especially Lisa from who really kept you all in the picture with her on the ground reports. Tweet from Merrell who took some amazing video to show part of what it was like out there.

Our sponsors Pennypinchers, GU, Earth Scout without you our journey to the race and through it would have been completely different and not nearly as smooth. My absolute best friend on this whole race was the GU Brew Electrolyte Drink Tablet. These little puppies kept the cramps, altitude sickness and dehydration at bay for 5 full days. They are light and you just scoop water from a stream pop them in and sip away at 500ml of flavoured fizzy water AWESOME.

The Kinetic Team, Stephan, Heidi and all you helpers thank for a once in a life time experience until next year when we will be ready for another. To the Warriors you guys were great and I hope that seeing us out there will inspire you all to greater things in time to come.

To Bubbles our fifth team member thanks for all the support and doing our shopping before we left I am not sure what we would we would have ended up with if we had left that up to Jeffery.

Helena well done and thanks for joining us at such short notice a really brave decision and we really appreciated you coming along.

Garth and Jeff good job guys here’s to the next one

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Easter weekend in Plett.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cairnbrogie Easter Trail Run 29 March 2013

The Cairnbrogie Easter Trail Run Information

Date Friday 29 March   2013                 

Registration from 7:00am       Start  8:30am

On line entries at Open on Feb 1 2013 Close midday 28th March


             Long 14-16km,( Limited to 100 runners per event) R150-00

-       The tough one (between 450 and 650m of climbing)

-       Awesome views, mixture of jeep track, single track, cow paths

-       Some technical sections of single track with some new additions along the coast


 Short 8km (12yrs and older) R60-00

-       Great views, 3km of single track with a couple of technical sections but fine if walked

-       A good introduction to trail running

-       Will have a sweeper to make sure everyone is home safe and sound

            Fun 4km (prizes for under 12 s only) R40-00

-       A fun 4km through the forest and next to the dam

-       Off road but not technical

-       Not pram friendly

-       Mainly for the fit 10-12yr olds and the fun runner

Spur Kiddies Farmyard Adventure Trail 1,5km R20-00

-       Self guided walk for parents and kids

-       Next to the dam and through the forest

-       Past the calf pens and back to a Spur goodie bag and a cup cake

Enquiries James   0829257885          Email

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