Monday, October 12, 2015

Maybe it's not time to put this old goat out to pasture!

I don't know why I've missed this race in years gone by but when someone asked if I was running the goat race, I asked myself: Why aren't I running The La Capra Goat Race?
Did someone say Goat?
Next thing I knew I had ended and would find myself on the start line of a 28km race up and around Paarl Rock. 20+ years ago I was running the Paarl Mountain Race, an 18.4km (in later years a 21.1km) up to the base of the rock itself before heading back. 
It was in those years that I was first called a mountain goat! Winning a mountain series over  4/5 races back in '93 or '94
Now not only do I enjoy running up mountains but I have been known to enjoy the odd glass of wine or a beer...
Fairview is not only known for it's cheese and wine, but also for the GOATS...
With a 5, 8, and a 15km race also on the cards I was lucky, one of my trail running rivals Nic had chosen to run the 15, which he won...
We started at 7h30 and while I didn't know any of the guys on the start line that didn't mean they couldn't be gunning for a win and my wine!
A couple of guys looked the part and as we started I had to see what they were made of... 

28km is long enough too hurt so while I wanted to hurt anyone who dared try and stay with me I didn't want to hurt myself...
KM 1 had taken me 6:25 but that had more to do with the 144m climb then me taking it easy! KM 2 and things eased only 86m climb... I had opened a little lead but now I was running scared! The fear of been run down had gripped me, because as you well know: what goes up must go down! 

Down wasn't happening in the next km but we left the farm road (I'm using the word road loosely!) and turned onto a gravel road and as my luck would have it 2 mnt bikers, out for their Saturday morning ride, were on the road. .. They passed me and then the road kicked up again!  

Now the great guys at Contego not only sponsor a couple of us trail runners they also have a mountain bike team... I wasn't on a bike,  but I had Contego's Mnt bike name to defend... I ran them down...

My lead over them didn't last as  we crested the hill and headed down. 

With the bikes gone my thoughts turned to defending my lead. .. While the path (maybe an old 4x4 road) was smooth it was clay and as slippery as ice! So while I pushed the pace it wasn't free running, but while I couldn't speed neither could the chasers!   

Ahead I could see the path climbing again and when I was there I could look back and see what the chase group looked like. My lead was safe for now... A little single track took us down through the nature reserve to the picnic area! Behind the picnic area… Paarl Rock, so up we went, I was no longer running as the gradient had forced me to walk, power walk I was not wanting to lose and time to the chasing guys. 
Boulder hopping!
I haven’t been up there very often so I didn’t know what lay ahead as I scrambled up the giant granite rock. I waved at the marshal as I reached the top, only to see that after a short decent and a gravel road the next rock loomed large and they were sending us to the top! This was an out and back loop just straight up and down, in the last km we had climb about 250m (15min). I took a split of the 2nd placed guy, and saw I had about 4 mins as he started his climb…

With 10km still to go and about 400 stairs to descend through an indige­nous for­est I wasn’t going to risk falling down those stairs… 
A Pink Landy taking the stairs
I told myself that he had closed a minute on me, so now it was time to race again, ahead I could see some of the 15km runners turning onto our route, it was time to stop worrying about who was chasing but time to start chasing myself. The 15km guys had started 30min behind us and I had challenged on of my friends to a race… I now had to catch her! After a couple of fast km’s the fun was over and it was back to what we love about trail running… little single tracks that wind up valleys and take you over mountains… another 9min km (150m climb) and while I was passing a lot of 15km guys she was still ahead. We now dropping into the farm again and the 8 and 5km routes also joined us, Now while there were a lot of guys on the trail, no-one had any problem letting me pass as I hunted for a win… It was more a case of: WOW you’ve leading the 28 well done.

With 2 hours on the clock I could feel that I had run hard and it was now time to end… But Garmin only said 24km I didn’t mind as I pulled into the finish. (looking at the route map and my Garmin map it looks like they didn’t sent us for a little loop down in the vineyards and back up through a forest, I didn’t mind)

I had held onto my lead winning in 2h05:17 (Garmin called it 24.1km with 1134m climb), Maybe this old man can still show the youngsters a thing or two!
Happy Man