Wednesday, September 18, 2013


This weekend I was racing on my mountain, it was time for one of the biggest trail race in the country. It's crazy time!!! Yes the Table Mountain Challenge 2013 had rolled around, and after an easy week last week I was ready to Rock and Roll, or should that be Splash and Freeze... Mother Nature was visiting the Mother City and a Cold Front had rolled in!!!!!

At the start
Then Trevor counted us down...

Still Talking as I take an early lead

Don't believe every thing you see in pictures, it was perfect running weather and as much as I wanted to put the foot down and build an early lead I didn't want to blow and leave my body all over the Twelve Apostels on Leg 3.

Leg 1 is 9.5km 330m climb with most of it run on the gravel roads on the lower slopes of the face of the mountain. I took the lead from the gun. I was surprised at how easy it was to get away from the field as we set of into the light rain. I was happy with how the body felt and I think the taper week was working.

It was nice going and I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was chasing... I could see Bruce Almighty (Arnett) and Ryan Sandes. Ryan had started slow and had really only lost time to me taking of his jacket and gloves... Through Deer Park Trevor had changed to route just a bit to bring in a little single track...

Ryan still chasing me!!!
As much as I would have loved to have kept that lead it was down to 2 sec as we checked in at the end of leg 1...

Leg 2: 11.6km 370m climb. After I had checked in just below the Bolck House I headed off down the Contour path to Constantia Neck with Ryan right behind me... Now with youth on him side I was running to slowly for him and moved over to let him pass. I feel I could have kept up, but why kill yourself for a couple of km, it was still a long way to go and I had plans of running well to the end.

With a 15-20 sec lead I could only see him through the trees on a couple of the turns... Then we hit the boardwalks, smooth under foot an flattish, coming from a track and road back ground I thought about closing the gap, getting into my rhythm and flying... Ha Ha Ha... with all the rain they were as slipery as a bar of soap and add to that the turns and the tree you had to duck under, the gap grown!

So just how wet was it:
One of the river crossings
This wasn't the biggest crossing, and while I secretly hoped I would see Ryan hanging onto a tree down river (Sorry Rayn, but it was the only way I was going to beat you) I didn't... While it was scary for a couple of the smaller ladies nobody ended up being washed down into Kirstenbosch!!!

With over 300m of climb the contour path is all but flat with most of the climb being made up with the climb over the Aloes, and the Rooikat Ravine past Cecilia Waterfall. While I think I took these climbs well I was still thinking about the last leg and coming into the check point I heard Ryan was now about 5-6min ahead. I don't know what lead I had on 3rd, but I'm guessing a couple of minutes as I couldn't see any-one chasing down to the Neck.

Leg 3: 17.7km with 800m climb, and this one goes over the mountain. While the weather had started off looking exciting the clouds had lifted and the storm was on hold, best I get my bag checked for a rain jacket, cellphone, and some munchies to go with the space blanket. (don't worry we weren't heading into the thin air of space, the mountain isn't that high!)

Having run this leg and trained on the route I have a number of split times in my head for the different sections of the leg...
1st we head down on the gravel road into Orange Kloof to the fence 2.6km, then it's over the style and through the forest up to the contour which takes you to the turn up Llandudno Corner (3km). Back in 2005 this path is unused and a 2km fight through fynbos... This year it was great trail running and even with over 2 hours in the legs I was moving well.
The climb... up, across, up, up... around and then up... Up the river and to the fence, 1.6km, (call it a mile) but the scary thing about this mile is the 385m climb!!! The exposed rock and the rivers you climb.There was no sight of Ryan up front, but I could see the relay boys chasing, they had started 15min behind us.

Once on top it's a dash along the top to Kasteels, 5.9km, and if anyone evey tells you Table Mountain is flat, they are very wrong... The Twelve Apostils are anything but flat... Now while many a would be champion has crumbled and even taken a wrong turn that was unlikely to happen to Rayn as he powered to an easy victory... Me on the other hand still had a lot of running to do and now with 3 hours on the legs I could feel the 30km of road from last Sunday (Why did I let Roger talk me into that?). The teams started to pass me...

Bernard was first... Yes my teammates had a team and the win was going to be theirs. The Kid from HBTC was next and then Andrew. What was happing in the real race (sorry relay guys). Just keep moving Coach just keep moving. 47:03 to the turn OK it was to slow.

Kasteels, 1.4km long and no more climbing, this time you drop 390m to the pipe track... Now with the mountain still wet I took it easy so as not to fall and kill myself!!! 14:28...
3.3km of pipe track to go and most of that would be run at 5min/km it had been an epic trip around the mountain and I had held off the rest of the field to take 2nd and win the Old Mans Race!!!

Ryan had won by 20min, and if I want to beat him next year I will have to be 15 years younger and train twice as much...


  1. Congrats and great job! Sounds like a fun race. And what great pictures. :) Thanks so much for your supportive comments lately. They mean a lot!

  2. Congratulations. You're pretty fast for an old fella.

  3. Congrats I enjoyed reading that a lot. I ran TMC for the first time myself (well the 'Lite' anyway) and was so enthused I also blogged about it - at length. I'd love to try to work up to do the full TMC eventually. :)

  4. By the way I think I used to work with your wife... at Pam Golding..? Years ago!