I have now completed three trail runs over the past month. The last one was the Helderberg Mountain Challenge yesterday. Trail running is far more crazy than road running. Sometimes you run on a gravel road, sometimes on a thin mountain path, and quite often you are climbing up a river bed, looking for the next contour.
A 10km run usually takes me just over an hour, but on this trail it took 1:40; it is a much more difficult route. You have to take all your own water with you, and on the longer runs you need to carry space blankets and first aid kits. In total we went up 600m, and of course down another 600m.
I didn’t take my camera with me, but I did have my trusty phone, this shot is a panorama shot of the Somerset West vineyards, heading towards the Strand on the right.
Until I started trail running, I thought I was pretty fit (I can run a 21km half marathon without too much difficulty), but after going on two trail runs, I have realised that I am going to need a whole different level of fitness to keep this up.
The group that I have joined start running every Saturday morning around 7am. It means getting up really early on the weekends, but the views on the mountain make it so worth the early start.
On my weekend run, I even tried to fly, but alas did not manage to miss the ground, so a couple of bruised knees and sore left ankle later I completed the 15km route. Note that this was 15km up and down a mountain, not 15km on the level.
I took my happy snappy camera on the last run, so here is just a taste of the experience.
Lion’s Head (left) and Signal Hill (right). Notice how it looks like a lion lying on the ground, hence the name.
Running along Table Mountain, yes those little dots are us
Running towards the Cable Car. The building on the bottom is the lower cable station, and you can see the cable car in the middle. Lion’s head is in the distance.
Cable Cars. Although it was a lovely day, it was still quite misty, here you can see the cables going up into the mist on the top of the mountain. If you come to Cape Town, you must take a trip to the top of the mountain, it is truly magnificent.
So am I hooked on Trail Running? Absolutely, see you on the mountain.
Let me get this out the way first. I have very little knowledge, and even less interest in Rugby. But what I do know about rugby is that:
- Along with cricket, it is the national past time of South Africa
- It involves a lot of stopping and crashing into each other
- If you have the ball in your hand, there is a distinct possibility that you won’t have it in your hand in a few seconds
- Everybody (except for me) is an expert
- A game or rugby (thankfully) takes a lot shorter than even the shortest game of cricket, and is only marginally more interesting
- It is very important in a social environment to have an opinion on rugby
- It does make for a good photoshoot
I took these shots at one of the club fields just down the road from us. I can’t tell you much except that everybody was supporting the players in blue, but the players in black seemed to be winning the game. So I guess the home team were not doing too well.
Here are the rest of the shots.
An early group
Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. On Sunday I wished for a wind-free day, and that is exactly what I got. However I didn’t wish for the temperature to go over 40 deg C, but it did!
By now you probably know that I cycled in the Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour on Sunday. This was my 6th tour, and I clearly have an ability to pick interesting weather. Oh, how I would love to have a race in cool and wind-free weather. But not this year! Just to give you an example of some of the recent tours that I have completed:
- 2012: temperature peaked at 42 deg C
- 2010: howling wind (but not as bad as 2009)
- 2009: howling wind (over 120km/h – higher that what I experienced in hurricane Irene in USA 2011)
- 2006: rained (and crashed but still finished)
Maybe, just maybe next year will be great weather.
Relaxing before the start
While I didn’t take any pictures on the road, here are a couple (mostly) from the start line, and all on my phone (no my SLR does not go on the race with me). I hope this gives you a small taste of the feeling of being part of the 31324 cyclists that finished. There are so many people that while the first cyclists leave at 6:15am, the last leave after 10:30am which is after the first cyclists have already finished!
My group starting to assemble at the start line
The race leaves in groups of about 500, spread out every few minutes. My group left at 9:16am, and it was already sweltering. I drank over 9l water on the route, which is about what I usually drink in an entire week.
At the start line, about 5 minutes before my group started on the 110km route
The end, now I can relax for the next year, or at least until the 2 Oceans half marathon next month.