My apologies, I thought I was being really clever and saving space o the February newsletter, but apparently our chairman’s newsletter and the fabulous race reports from some of our members didn’t publish.
So here goes…
From Cycling South Africas'(CSA) perspective not really but there are a few things we have to consider:
Herald Continental MTB Cycle Tour
“I should’ve done the 30km event!” Those were my thoughts as I attempted my first ever MTB race, having literally taken position of my new MTB the day before. A sensible person would start off gently or at least know what they were getting themselves into…but no, I chose to do the 60km Herald Continental Cycle Tour. My mad (and experienced friends) did the 80km event and so I thought the middle would be the way to go. All went well for the first 20km, even the flat single track on the farm was manageable, the steep climb up to the KOH spot was no problem either. Things were going well…until we started on the single-track windy rocky descent. Oh my word! I tumbled off in the first few minutes and thought to myself: “There is no way I am cycling down there!” And so I didn’t. I literally walked for 40 minutes, jumping into the bushes with my bike as other fearless individuals zoomed passed me. Fortunately, this part of the race did eventually come to an end and I was able to get back on my bike and finish in a reasonable frame of mind. Lesson learnt here…do some skills training or at least get some experience before attempted these events.
Herald Continental Cycle Tour (Road 106km)
Having not cycled a road race since the Argus in 1994, I was naturally apprehensive as I started (happily so) right at the back for this event. Once again my fast and experience friends were upfront and well into the course before I even got on my bike. Fortunately, I had my sister by my side and as she lives in Port Elizabeth, was also familiar with the course so all was good. The rain cleared and we were off. Having no experience riding in a bunch and as we were both training for iron man (my sister) and half ironman (me), we were quite happy to forge our own way into the wind. When we did join a bunch, there was a near collision reinforcing our decision to go it alone.
The first half of the course had a couple of short sharp hills, a few rolling hills and a slight head wind but all quite manageable. Riding up (and then down Maitland) with the ocean below was breathtaking, a pleasant change from the good old Bedford Road to Riebeck East that we regularly cycle. For me, the best part of this race was the last 18km; a downhill and then flat; something we seldom get to ride in Grahamstown with all the hills.
Despite being a participant rather than a competitor in these races, there is definitely sense of achievement when you pass those from an earlier group…maybe I am a competitor after all.
The Addo Trail Run
The Addo Trail run is a must and has to be put on any runners bucket list.
It is a spectacular, superby organised trail run of 100 miles (for the very serious runners #HUGEHUGERESPECT), 76km (for the serious trail runners #HUGERESPECT) and a 44km (for any trail runner #FUNandRESPECT).
Proper, proper coffee (with a beautiful heart shape in the thick frothy milk) at the start shared with friendly fellow trail runners got us on our way. There are some really serious hills, which one looked at and said, “are you serious…” but were made instantly loads more fun in the mud, plenty of beautiful river crossings, where after the first time one tried to navigate around them and after that happily splashed through them , water and refreshment stops that groaned with magnificent food (Nellies millionaire shortbread….well you couldn’t just eat three of them you HAD to have more). Views that just took your breath away at the top and instantly made you forget about those aching muscles ..…the heather, flowers and vegetation up there was breath taking, At times it was difficult to run and look and take it all in at the same time but one realised when you were up there just how magnificent and wild the Eastern Cape is and how extremely fortunate we were to experience such beauty on our doorstep.
The trail was extremely well marked, running on the top of the Zuurberg mountains and down into the foresty valleys along single track and over rocky pools with friendly fellow trail runners. The top 76km runners would come past us and what an inspiration that was….humble runners congratulating us on our achievements too.
Friends and family waiting at the end for you at the Zuurberg Inn making it even more special and of course that precious medal as a reminder that you have run #AfricasWildestUltra.
One takes away so many special memories but I think the most important one is how beautiful and spectacular our Eastern Cape is and how fortunate we are to have this magnificent trail run on our doorstep.