Now on to the Golden Gate Challenge…
This is a three day stage race that is run on 28, 29 and 30 October. Registration and pre-race briefing is at 18:30 on 27 October. I will be sleeping in the runner’s village in my allocated two man tent. This will be our base camp and we run a different route from here every day. This will basically be a run to the top of a different mountain every day. Distances are 27km, 27km and 17km for a total of 71km.
Watch out for….
- Ticks – please search all possible places for these little buggers!
- Mountain edge: there are some big mountains and sometimes the trail go close to the edge so please be mindful and careful
- Rocks – enough of these around, lift those feet!
The route description are from the race organizer.
Day 1: 27km
Route Description: Taking on Ribbok Trail
Today you will follow the very well known Ribbok Hiking Trail – 27km’s of pretty magical stuff but also hard work! We thought we’ll get the hardest day of the 3 out of the way – so take it easy there are some big mountains waiting for you!
Look out for some waterfalls, rock pools, Eland, Ribbok and loads of other game! (Unfortunately we will not be able to take you through Cathedral Cave due to it being really unsafe) The route is narrow and some places really rocky so watch your step.
You have two relatively big climbs, the biggest one of the two is right at the start - Generaalkop! Other nicknames such as Kneebrake, Moedbreek, Hartbreek and Inbreek should give you an indication of what this mountain is all about! All I can say is one step at a time.... and it’s pretty good getting to the other side of the mountain and into the valley!
The second half is a bit easier but know that you still have some climbing to do before descending into the rest camp. It is not nearly as hard as the first climb, but it will definitely test the legs. The route will also take you over the legendary Brandwag mountain that is signature to Golden Gate.
Day 2: 27km
Route Description: Exploring little Serengeti
So today we will start off with a bit of a drive to the start but as with all things the bigger the effort the bigger the reward! An hour bus trip will take us right to the other “unexplored” side of the park. The side where hikers and public are not allowed....except for you off course. So please bear with us on the bus, the road is bumpy!
I'm not gonna talk too much about the start as I'm sure many of you will so hate me for the first 5km’s, but then again I’ll be heading back to the Race Village and you will have about 22km’s to cool down! The start is hard. Big rocky climb to the top. ...but once at the top “Welcome to the Little Serengeti”. You will be greeted by herds of Zebra, Eland, Bontebok, Hartebeest, Wldebeest....as far as you can see. Vast mountains and rolling hills awaits as you meander your way around the park.
Old Jeep track and management roads will make the running a bit easier and will be a welcome treat after Day 1’s single track only running!
At about 15km’s you will take a turn towards the Highlands Mountain Retreat where you will take on some single track and some good climbing. Once at the top you will have the best view ever of the whole park and you can look forward to a long downhill all the way home!
Day 3: 17km
Route Description: Just love the sunrise! For every up there’s a down...
Waky waky, rise and shine!
It’s up and then down..... A bigger uphill and bigger downhill I’m sure you’ll never find on any race, but then again so is the views. We’re taking you right to the top 2 438 m!
Yep it’s a big climb to the top, a bit down, a bit up again and then you can enjoy the best sunrise right on top of the mountain. Your breakfast Watertable will await you here – so take some time, breath easy and just love life!
As you make your way down the mountain you can truly look forward to a well deserved event trophy as you just conquered one of the hardest trail runs in the country....
So that is it for the route descriptions. I’ll post more details and a bit about my preparations for this race. I can’t wait and really think this will be a fantastic adventure.
Have a great week everyone!