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

Monday 30 September 2013

Otter Trail Challenge 2013 Report

View on the Otter Challenge.

First things first. I did not make a cutoff and was not allowed to continue. Therefore my race was a DNF. The flu and bronchitis I had in the weeks before were just too much and I was not ready. That is the short of it.

However, I had an incredible time and loved every moment of it. The Otter Challenge is an unbelievable race! From organization to registration to the prologue to the race itself is just incredible! This was an amazing experience and I will be back one day for sure.

Registration was professional, smooth and flawless. There was a great vibe in the race village. The only queue was a short wait for the gear check. I must say this was the most thorough gear check I have ever experienced at a race. Runner safety was a top priority for the organizers.

Gear check.

After  registration I had to run the 4km prologue. You can run this any time between registering and 16:30. We were lucky to have accommodation at the venue and I could walk everywhere I had to go.

Prologue start.

The prologue was very scenic and started with a run on the beach followed by a testing climb. I enjoyed the run but could feel I was not my best. I think I was only about 65% ready for this race. The prologue is run to determine starting positions. Needless to say I didn’t start too far from the back :)

Pics from the prologue...

Race morning was beautiful and the views were incredible. 4 runners start every 30 seconds. This is determined from fastest prologue time to slowest prologue time. I felt great and enjoyed the run a lot. I was just slow on the day and the lack of training while being sick was the main reason for this. My ascents and descents were just too slow.

Pics from the race...

The views on this route are breathtaking! It is dangerous to run this with a camera :) I knew I was privileged to run here and suck in every moment. Eventually I fell behind schedule but I was actually very OK with this. I knew I would not have a great day and in the end it was perfect under the circumstances. I was slow but never felt dead and tired. I remained 100% positive and just did the best I could.

I will be back one day to complete this. I wouldn't mind doing the 5 day hike as well. Just to have time to take photos of all the incredible views.

I now look forward to my next challenge. I will run a number of races in preparation for a 50km challenge in March next year. I want to be 100% ready for that one.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Otter Trail Challenge Preview

I missed a lot of key training while being sick but I am recovered now. I will take the trip and go run the Otter Trail Challenge next week Tuesday. Out of shape but at least well rested...

Record holder, Ryan Sandes

This is not a race to be taken lightly. It is for experienced trail runners only and throws a hard challenge at the competitors. The profile is a bit deceiving. There are no major mountains to climb, but there are no flat parts on the route. The total elevation gain is about 2000m (6562ft) over the marathon distance.

Race profile

It follows the world famous Otter Hiking Trail, a 5 day hiking route, and we have 11 hours to finish. The route follows the coastline on the southern coast of South Africa. There are numerous river crossings which involves some swimming and plenty of rock climbing and hopping. Nothing I can't handle!

The race starts at Storms River Mouth and finishes at De Vasselot, Nature's Valley. We will be staying at Nature's Valley so we have a long trip ahead this weekend. It is about 1250km (777 miles) from Johannesburg to Nature's Valley.

Long drive to the race.

On Monday we run a 4km prologue on the Salt River trail to determine starting positions. I will not be gunning for a front start :) The prologue includes a notable climb...

Prologue at Nature's Valley.

A few pics from the race...

Feedback to follow next week!

Friday 13 September 2013

Sick Sucks!

I've been down and out with bronchitis. This really sucks! I hate being sick and when it happens right in the critical stage of preparation for your most important race of the year it sucks even more.

But that's where I am and I have to make the best of the situation. The Otter Challenge is only 10 days and some hours away! I will make a final call next week but I still hope to run. I will do some slow test runs this weekend, rest on Monday and then see how I feel after a run on Tuesday.

Let's hope next week I'm all healthy and ready to go!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

New rides for the trails

I finally replaced my trail shoes. This was long overdue as my old pair was way over the expiry date / maximum mileage. They were fantastic and we shared some amazing adventures.

But onto new beginnings! Enter my new Nike Trail Pegasus 29’s! I tried quite a few pairs of other models but when I put these on it was amazing! I think they made these from a mold that was cast from my feet. They are honestly that comfortable.

I've had dozens of Nike Pegasus shoes for the road over the years and they definitely are the best out there for my feet and my style of running. So I’m not totally surprised that I like the trail version as well. But these are the most comfortable shoes I've had on my feet for a long time.

I took them for a good technical workout on Saturday and loved every second in them. Along with fit and comfort a trail shoe also needs to be trusted…trusted to have the right grip at the right time on the right terrain. I could trust all my previous trail shoes on any terrain, dry, wet, rocks, sand, mud or gravel, I knew they would give me the grip I need.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 29 gives me all of the above with the most amazing fit and comfort to go with that. I was surprised and very very pleased! A great ride for sure!

It was one of my coldest runs of the year with an icy wind taking the actual feel well below freezing. But I was happy and had an absolute blast in my new shoes.

Three weeks to the Otter Challenge!