February addendum

Hi everyone

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…

Chairman’s Welcome

Hi Everyone,
Our AGM and 1st committee meeting are barely behind us and we’re already a quarter through the year. Our committee have been busy with networking and arrangements to try and see if we can improve on our current sitaution with regards to value added services and events.
Recently there has been a lot of talk regarding cycling and should cyclists continue to belong to a club.
From Cycling South Africas'(CSA) perspective not really but there are a few things we have to consider:
The sporting landscape has changed and the disciplines are varied. Cycling for instance doesnt require individual club membership/registration whilst running still does.
However in a small town like Grahamstown it just doesnt make sense to have multiple clubs without any events or organised runs/cycles including any kind of community support.
Also – the number of athletes for any unique discipline declines as the sport becomes more varied i.e. running now has trails, road & walking to compete with.
From my perspective it’s not about a running or cycling club – it’s about a running and cycling club. Albany Saints & Sinners are happy to accommodate atheletes from various disciplines.
Our capacity to organise and manage events falls a little short with our small committee with their own time constraints. More importantly, our committee consists of mainly runners – not fulltime cyclists.
As such we have no experience or support for cycling events. At the same time our objective is to revive our running and to accommodate our new members joining us from Run/Walk for LIfe.
Should any cyclists be able to assist and commit I would be happy to include them on our committee. It is clear that our cycling community is in need of good leadership/organisation and we welcome your assistance in this matter.
The club objectives for this year focuses a little closer to home with emphasis on a slightly more sociable scale.
– We have put a lot of time and effort into marking our current time trial & we also learned that using only yellow paint might be a little confusing. We will colour code the different distances in future. Please join us and meet the other members whilst improving your 4,5 or 8km time.
– We are in communication with Rhodes Athletics & Rhodes First Aid regarding a combined quarterly event &
– a new annual event later on in the year(these might include events for the cyclists). We will update you once this has been finalised.
The committee will use these events as building blocks in our new foundation and we would like to implement a new race in 2019 with the support of our members.
We are also in communication with Rhodes Athletics Club and Park Run, various cycling outlets in town and will reach out next to the Kowie Striders and GetOutAndRun team.
Our next AGM will be held in June 2018(we will confirm the exact date) and I would like to see more of our members attend to better understand your requirements, answer your questions and perhaps get some value added input from you.
We have also had some ideas regarding community out reach, which is a brilliant idea, in this instance doing a run whilst collecting litter in specific areas.
If any member would like to step forward and assist in organising this or something similar I would greatly appreciate it.
Unfortunately for the cyclists the Bellmont Valley Cycling race is cancelled for 2018. At present it’s uncertain if it will return.
The club is also not directly involved with the G2C race and at present we cannot confirm anything regarding this race.
I do have some good news for the runners though – The Mountain Drive 1/2 Marathon is continuing this year.
Saints & Sinners were approached last year to host this race & because of our limited resources we were happy to receive word that the Grahamstown Rotary club wanted to get involved.
Our previous committee met with the Rotary members and currently the organisation is underway. We will update you with a progress report as soon as possible.
Lastly we are also planning long runs for the weekends and are checking on locations, routes and vehicle support.
Our new Road Running Captain Kenny Noeka is currently the architecht behind this run & we will send out communication as soon as it is finalised.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any info, requirements or issues, even if it’s just a quick Whatsapp message.
Remember – “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you are done.”

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.

Judy Stevenson


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.

Judy Stevenson

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.

Nicole Craig


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