Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not-cake (ginger tart) recipe

Here is the long awaited recipe:

Ginger Tart


1 Pkt Ginger Nuts

90 g Butter – melted

Crumb the biscuits and mix together, press flat into baking tin and bake @180 untill evenly brown and crisp about 8 – 10 minutes


½ cup Golden Syrup

1 ½ cups water

2 level tablespoons Custard Powder

1 tsp ground ginger or more if preferred

1 level dspn gelatine

Heat syrup & water in saucepan until dissolved. Mix custard powder with small amount, add water and ginger.

Stir into syrup and cook until thickened and transparent. Mix 1 level dspn gelatine in cold water and stir into mixture.

Pour into shell and allow to set.

Decorate with cream

Too make it a bit stronger, I sometimes use less water and more ginger.

Monday, October 26, 2009

William turns 40

William turned 40 on October the 7th. One of the Cairns Family traditions is a sporting challenge between the four brothers on important birthdays, so William challenged his brothers to a mountain bike race, of course the whole of the AR team was also invited.

The day after the birthday was the weekly Dark and Dirty in which much not-cake was eaten.

William and Team Lickety Split entered the Dirt Festival 40km Race, while only one of William’s brothers (Pete) managed to enter the 20km race. William’s cousin Patrick also entered the 20km race. William’s average speed for the 40km race was 18km/h, Pete only managed a measly 13.3km per hour for the 20km, clearly putting William as the winner of the challenge....

After the cycle race everyone went to William’s house for lunch. A different sort of not-cake was enjoyed by everyone. Promise – the not-cake recipe will be posted sometime....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ARKZN - Race Report - By Adri

So we’ve been nagged for about 3months to do a report on our KZN race in July this year. Not because we maybe came second or finished.. but mostly about our “pub experience”. So amongst other useful & entertaining bits of info, you will find the pub story.

KZN AR Race report : 18 & 19 July Race organiser: George Forder A 18-24hour adventure race with a total distance of about 120km starting in Pietermaritzburg and incorporated Hilton, the Midlands and KZN's local businesses. Teams were self-seconding and seconds also had to collect some checkpoints and photographs to post to the race blog where George could keep track of everyone’s whereabouts. On the technical side a great idea, but some pics and sms’s are still in cyberspace.

Team: Lickety Split & Lickety Click (with 2 men and 1 woman each) but in the end racing together as a team of 6, but 2 always seconding the team. Meaning: fast, quickly, without delay, like a blue streak, like a flash, like a house on fire, like a shot, like a streak, like greased lightning, like the wind, like wildfire. …but we like the definition “informal”…and yes, we are from Gauteng.

So we heard of “George’s” races and how you should expect anything & everything to be part of the adventure. Great, anything unexpected is and adventure. Distance & discipline breakdown were as follows:

With George soothing our ears weekly with his creative writing before the race, a lot of the race info was actually written between the lines. As well as clues about maps, a “town crier” and the starting point. We decided to camp at the Midmar Dam the night before as we suspected that the paddling leg would happen in that area. One car already left the Friday morning and the second the Friday afternoon. Frequent calls were made from 1 to 2 asking where are you and showing us what camp looks like. What we really saw is that they already wore most of the clothing they owned just after sundown. Eek, problem. But car no 2 had the dinner: Spaghetti Bolognaise, which gave the “frozen” gas bottle a hard time. But we had dinner, put on everything we owned, measured temperature below zero and went to bed as the start was at 7am. And the sms with details about the starting point promised at 6am. The night was looooong, very cold and filled with semi-conscious vows of never camping in the winter next to a dam, or camping the night before a race. We measured -2 degrees during the night. One of the guys was so taken by the stars, that he opted to sleep outside under the open skies, after which we almost had to chip away the ice from him in the morning. Saturday morning 6h00 Midmar Dam:
Contrary to our team name definition of “without delay” we got up, shook the ice off the tents, cars & equipment, packed up camp and made our way to Pietermaritzburg to the “farmers market in Alexandra street” where we had to meet the “town crier” for our race packs & instructions. Passing teams on their way back from the starting point, we knew we were late. (And we saw their photos after the race of eating filled vetkoek at the market, 6h30 in the morning) And first words from the well-dressed, charming “town crier” confirmed exactly that: “Lickety Split, you’re late.” Click-take-the-pick with the town-crier and we head off to start the first hiking leg. A couple of maps from George which we had to join and then together with our downloaded 1:50 000 maps we set off.

Pietermaritzburg is beautiful, maybe because it is green in winter, but also maybe because George took us on the scenic & tourist route collecting points at local attractions and some important places for our South African history. Seeing World’s View really opened our AR-hearts again to the beauty of our country and re-affirming why we enter these events. Seeing so far and realising that Maritzburg is way bigger than we thought. The 2 team members in the cars had to do a number of tasks like count goldfish. “They would not stay still and as soon as you got them lined up, would swim merrily around the corner out if sight. We must have come up with 3 different (final) totals.”

At the first transition point we swop, drivers now onto their bikes with the others to meet again at the Midmar Dam. 2 Not-so-fresh drivers to collect points from Peel’s Honey, Hi-Fly Kites... all great places to visit again when in the Meander! Cars were allowed GPS, but the local tourist map also had these clearly marked.

So we meet at the dam for the paddling leg. Waited a while and saw some other teams come and go. The seconds at that time, thought it best to take the K2 as far as possible down to the dam to give the tired legs a head-start. Only 2 needed for the paddle. Weather balmy... good strong man in the boat... with a strong lady paddler and a fairly easy distance with collecting checkpoints on the surf.

The other 4 now to drive around the dam and meet them on the other side… only to get onto the wrong side of the dam… a bit of flapping and circling and then we meet up with about 3 other teams transitioning at the same time. Now around 14h00 and the net leg is cycling of, according to George’s estimates, shortest distance 17km and longest 35km to transition again at the Everglade Hotel. Experience is really valuable as it was here that the old AR-racers warned us to dress up warm at 2 in the afternoon, coz once the sun is down, it is still winter – no matter if we are absolutely boiling at this point. Slowly climbing up a dirt road, passing farmers, local cyclist giving us a go on our bikes… we are heading for the hills. Next checkpoint is in the Mondi plantations. So we go up and up and the sun is going down on the other side. Thank you to our more “senior” members in the team, because here we started taking the warmer gear out. On the top: beautiful plantations with lots of new & old gravel roads used by forestry… So we head down… nice down hills. Not knowing at this point yet that we were not suppose to go down, but rather go left and travel on the top all the way up to Everglades (East). Anyway, so we go down… which was North and then we go left at the stream. At this point matched the markings on our maps. Unfortunately topographical maps don’t help you much at night!?! Admitting, here we were pretty much just following the road to the next road marking to place ourselves on the map. Clocking over 30kms here already. At its getting colder, later, less snacks, less water… not looking good. We make some more turns up and down the plantations and eventually we stop… We’re lost. Officially lost. Unfortunately at this point one of the girls faced the consequences of racing with underwear (bottoms). Consulting the rest of the team, they all unanimously confirmed that you never race with underwear… male or female. Pen knife did the trick here.
We get cellphone signal, phone our team mates at Everglades and share our lost-status. They are now bragging about log-fires and beer. So we take out the GPS phone (which was warning us about the battery power) and after a few attempts, we get the coordinates, and send them back to Everglades where George is also trying to locate us.

George’s account of this was: “Back at the JOC, (Joint Operations Centre) which is what Everglade hotel was becoming, we had out laptops, Google Earth and numerous GPS's trying to find and recover the three lost teams. The air was crackling with ozone and sulphur as cell phones and satellite and radio waves flew.”

With renewed hope, we head off and reach some more prominent roads and a sawmill: Dargle. Up the road and we get a no-entry sign. So we go down again to the sawmill and make the last call… They’re coming to get us. We find ourselves a newly-built guard’s house where we are going to stay put. The dog next door reminded us for the next half hour that we are not suppose to be there.

Status: 22h00 and zero degrees.

One taillight on outside and we’re inside on cold concrete.. sharing the last crumbs of the day’s snacks, taking out emergency blankets, coz we didn’t know how long this wait was going to be. About 30 minutes, George and our 2 vehicles reach us and we head off.

George’s version again: “Comment of the race award must go to Lickety Split. "We know where we are, We are at the Dargle". For the Out of Towners the Dargle is an are of about 4 000 000 km square excluding Durban and stopping just short of Barbeton, I think. Upper Dargelites speak in posh English accents and wear tweeds, whilst lower Dargle is a seething mass of Voodoo and bongo drums. There are 45 000 Dargle signs spread over this area. A very honest mistake.”
In the cars we hear of another team already at the Nottingham Road hotel having warm food & beer and that is where we’re heading now. A rather long drive and we get to this:
…which is a checkpoint that one of the other team s already posted. But happy to be amongst civilisation, we get to Nottingham Road and see lots of cars. It is freezing cold outside and in our rugged gear we run for the door. Hearing loud music we are very positive about our hot meal and logfire. Get to the front door and waiting for the others, we spot someone’s dinner & drinks on the floor next to the front door. Open the door and it looks like a matric holiday party. Young, very young, very loud, very drunk. So we run for the open table at the back.

Status: 1 Log fire next to 2 rather drunk old men, NO hot food, outsiders.

Not much time needed for everyone to agree that we don’t belong here. No jewellery and aftershave left after our 15 hour excursion. So we leave after the second song. So this was our Nottingham Hotel Pub experience… Expectation and disappointment are closely linked.
Now heading to Highmoor Nature Reserve which is the finishing point, but also our camp site for the evening. What a great feeling when we drove past the leading team on their last run/hike leg towards Higmoor, looking strong. (Envy, envy…) It felt like the longest drive of our lives. Thinking every 10 minutes, it must be just around the corner. A very long private cement road rolling for at least 8kms is what the teams still had to finish with and we were knackered just driving it!

We reach campsite… meet George and his family and some other teams that were also fished out. Long awaited ablution and hot showers nowhere to be found.. as we found out the next morning that we were actually camping on the picnic site! Real campsite with facilites were about 300m away on the next hill.

With the tents up and water almost boiling, everyone huddles around a picnic table, waiting for the teams to come in. George confirmed that only 3 of the 7 teams were still in the race. Here we get the maps out and trace our steps back to where we lost the plot… but “die koeĆ«l is deur die kerk”.

With excitement and applause the first team finished in 18hours and 20 minutes – the cut off at 24hours.

Official Finishers were: 1. Team Olympus 2. Team Yoshimi 3. Team Xtreme

What we did not get to was the cozy Everglades Hotel, the top of the Ihlazane, the Umgeni Vlei (Source of the Umgeni River), Kamberg Bushmans art centre and the last rolling hills up to Highmoor.

What we did get to that was bigger than the race itself, is spending time with others. Getting to know them, what drives them, what slows them down, allergies, interesting hobbies & talents and the endless thankyou’s for biltong and last sweeties that still gets shared.

This is the blog of the racers who recorded their journey: