Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mountain Warrior Trail Festival

When I saw this I thought: sounds like fun... and fun it was. On paper it was a 2 day trail race 36km on the Saturday and 30km on the Sunday, so nothing stupidly long and over a weekend I needed to get a bit of running done!!! There were also 2 shorter routes for the less adventures, and then and evening run on the Saturday of 10km!!

When I first saw this advertised I thought: I'm in, but then with Dawn's op and blood clot trouble I put those thoughts on the back burner... Now Eddie asked me in the week if I was running and I popped back to the web sight and dropped them a mail: Can I still enter? Yes Yes Yes

Saturday then called for an early start as I headed out to Stellenbosch and the Rustenberg Wine Estate to enter and register...

The race only started after 9 and at 08h30 they bussed us to the start at Jonkershoek. (Yes the same place as the 30km earlier this year). The race was a little different as we kept on the gravel road for the first 3km before climbing up the single tracks that would take us round the horse shoe shaped mountain...

That is me setting the pace on the left, Nic is behind me in white with a black face!!! And Dawid is on the right in blue (Oh that is my team mate Eddie in the middle).

I tell you this because as we turned right off the 'highway' onto a little single track it was only the 3 of us with Eddie in 4th and a couple of guys following him. Knowing that the race was single track for the next 2+hours I took the lead to set a steady pace and run within myself...

I didn't want to blow by running on my limit So being in front and setting the pace was the best place to be. I was also hoping that my pace would hurt the other guys as we started to climb... not some Micky Mouse climb you might find in a road race, this was the type of climb you would expect to find sir Edmond Hillery on!!! We climb 809m over the next 5km taking us into the SNOW!!! yes SNOW:

Dom Wills took this pic.
A cold front had come through the Cape over night and dumbed rain over the city, but on these higher mountains it was snow!!! It's not every day in the Western Cape that you get to run a race in the snow.

Now for those of you who haven't run in snow, and for those of you who only know the really stuff, as much fun as this was it was cold and not fun!!! the paths were rivers of slush and yes I was out front and there was almost no-one but us on the mountain. So at times I was making footprints in the crisp white snow, most of the time the paths was little ice rivers. Now with snow on the edgers on the path you couldn't leave the path as you didn't know what you would be standing on and you just couldn't afford to go down in the middle of no-where...

We left the cold and snow behind us and headed back:

Still leading on the lower slopes
With about 10km to go we joined the short route (they were long through) and headed up the next mountain. After 3 hours in the lead the boys come past, we were on a gravel road and I could get my Heart Rate down (I was a little sick and almost stayed in bed, I had run an easy 5km the day before and my HR stayed down so I thought head cold, good to run) so I had to walk.

Look this was a forest road and over the next km we climbed 186m (Mr Garmin) so running wasn't much faster, but both Nic and Dawid pulled ahead.

Over the top and down (rock faces I tell you, rock faces!!!) we had left the road and were on an old, or should I say new not yet made path... from time to time I could see Dawid ahead, but as the running come back and we hit the farm roads that would take us to the finish I tried to close the gap, but at 4:00 / km I wosn't really catching.

It was a great race and Nic had won in about 4h18 with Dawid 2nd in 4h22 and me 3rd just under 4h23...

Shoes took a pounding...

I wasn't up for Day 2, but slept late and went for a little 5km from home to stretch the legs.


  1. The snow parts must have been so cold - running with your feet in icy water isn't as romantic sounding as running in the snow. Sound like a pretty tough terrain - rock faces, mountains and single track. Well done on such a good race.

  2. I always love your race recaps (and pics!) Great job as always. Snow is going to be here before I know it so I am enjoying the dry roads as long as I can!!!

  3. Nice - 3rd is awesome. You guys sure have the best trail runs there. I think if I visited, my wife would stay home because all I'd want to do is run in the mountains.

    1. You can send her shopping, or meet her on the top, you run up and she can take the cable car...

  4. fun race, great terrain, just up my path - Malcolm

  5. was an awesome race, although I have to say that I was in pain, lol. Cool to see that my small part of my red buff made it into the photo :P pity I have not been able to find any photos of me :( (you know - for evidence, I am having a hard time believing I actually did this)