"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Monday, 10 October 2011

Golden Gate Challenge Preview

Before I get to the preview I just want to thank everyone for there feedback and advice regarding the walking poles. I’ve decided to go without them because I have not been training with them. I’ve done quite ok without walking poles on many mountains before and I’m sure I will be fine.

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!
Heat & Dehydration –drink enough and bring some sunscreen. Please note that Day 1 is very remote and you will be without water between the checkpoints for a long time – hence the compulsory equipment rule for a Camelback or water bottles.

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....

Enjoy Breakfast!

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!


Jill said...

Oh. My. God!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know what to say, Johann. This is about as BA as it gets!! I am very excited about your race and a little unexplored Serengeti?? Does that mean a lot of fierce, wild animals? At first I was honing in on the ticks (I hate those things!) but now I'm thinking that animal is the least of your worries. Please be careful out there...maybe you need poles to ward off the beasts!?!

Well, if anyone can do this thing, I know it is you, my friend!!

HappyTrails said...

That looks like quite an awesome adventure Johann - how many people will be running that with you?

Anne said...

Wow! What an adventure that is gearing up to be...amazing! I can't even imagine seeing all those animals right there when I am running...and a sunrise when you reach the top of the mountain (I'm guessing you will be starting very early :)). Have a great time and of course I can't wait to hear all about it!

Amy said...

Wow! That sounds amazing! I am looking forward to hearing all about it when you get done... Good luck with all your preparations!

Julie said...

Ticks - ick.
Mountain's edge? Sounds way beyond anything I should be stumbling around.

You are going to have such an amazing time!

Ewa said...

This looks like quite an adventure, Johann. Just remember to hydrate :)

misszippy said...

I just think this sounds like the coolest race ever! And a hard 5k on the front end of day 2 is preferable to the back end, right? And the view from the top? I'm really excited to hear all about it, Johann!

Richelle said...

Wow... this sounds like the race of a lifetime! Good luck to you!

Raina said...

I would want the poles just to beat away the animals and ticks. :)

Seriously, I am with Jill. This looks like an awesome, surreal opportunity! Enjoy that "breakfast water table" when you get there.
Best wishes!!

Char said...

It sounds incredibly hard but totally amazing - especially all the game that you get to see. I know you've probably seen it all before but for this ex-vet it sounds like heaven on earth. (except for the mountains)

Black Knight said...

Yes, that is more than an adventure! Please take a lot of pictures for us.
Sorry for SA in the World Rugby Cup, you have a very good rugby team.

Liz said...

That looks amazing! Have a great time and good luck!

Robin said...

Can't wait to hear all about it!

tink said...

WOW! that sounds so awesome. Love it.
Also, just wanted to let you know anyone can join the Marathon Maniacs, although not as big in other countries yet its open to everyone anywhere in the world. :)

Tara said...

Woah...I am getting winded from just looking at the elevation profile.

What a wonderful (yet TOUGH)looking adventure! Good luck!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Wow, you are a BA!!

ajh said...

Check for the ticks for sure! Have a lot of fun with this which you will for sure.

Laurie said...

That's it. I am moving to South Africa.

Giorgio said...

Beautiful landscape, wild animals alongthe running path and trail close to the edge: I'm sure it will be a wonderful three day stage race!
The charts of the route show that the Day 2 is the most challenging.

Molly said...

a little serengeti??? Walking on the edge of mountains?? What an experience this will be for you!

Phillip Gibb said...

That must have been so awesome! And the elevation, wow

Stacey (aka UltraPrincess) said...

Looks like a great event!!!!! Enjoy =D

Jennifer said...

Holy cow Johann! I have been a bit out of the loop recently but wow! This is so exciting. What a great adventure and it sounds very exciting just reading about it. Keep up your SMART training and you'll have a great time I am sure. Good luck as you do final prep over the next few weeks.

ultra collie said...

funny how the 'bumps' keep moving around on each day...good luck..looks like a great event johann

Christina said...

I'm very wimpy and don't know if I could do something that tough. Are you planning on running most of it or is it so steep and rocky you have to walk it?

Meg said...

For such a mild-mannered man, you certainly like your BIG adventures. That's why I love your blog. You are always surprising us in some way!

Lauren said...

Wow Johann! What a remarkable challenge (& adventure!) Best of luck to you, and DEFINITELY check for those yucky ticks. Looking forward to your report.

Anonymous said...

Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Spending some time and
actual effort to generate a very good article… but what can I say… I
put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.
My homepage ; safe diets