Monday, August 6, 2012

A bad weekend that felt good

This last weekend was the annual Capestorm Rogaine. Mike and I entered again to defend our title as best Veteran Mens Pair which we have won for the last 2 years. However it was to be a very busy weekend as my Daughter Loreley was coming back from 6 weeks exchange student program in Germany, and Con and I had been volunteered to arrange the Nag Mars for the local Voortrekker Kommando's Kommando Kamp. All my boys were also returning on Sunday form the Kamp so we did not enter the MTB rogaine.

So Friday afternoon Yolande picked me up from work and we rushed through to the Kamp terrein, and spent 2 hours setting up everything for the two nag mars routes. From 7:15 until 00:00 I was rushing around checking that everything was going well, that the kids were safe and having fun. Overall it seems it was a success. Yolande helped out and after everyone was on the route set up our mattress under the stars.

4:30 in the morning we were up and on our way to Lydenburg to meet Mike. All was on schedule until 30km outside Lydenburg something in the engine broke and a terrible noise at high revs forced us to crawl along at 40-60km/hr the rest of the way, making us late to pick up Mike. Yolande spent the day arranging to have the car towed back to Joburg and arranging a Hire car while Trish took Mike and I to the start. In the end we reached the start about 15minutes late.

I got a very quick briefing, nothing new in the briefing except being told that all cliffs on the route were considered dangerous and out of bounds. This seemed to limit the course to 2 sections, a long South and West section (out and back route) or a corcular route to the North of the start. A quick count of the high score points indicated the out and back route was the better option with the 3 50 pointers being our goal, as we were late the 60 pointers were considered a little too far for us.

Mike and I set out immediatly with a big uphill to the first point. We collected the first 3 points bang on schedule and reached the 4th point on the route about 30minutes ahead of expected time due to most of the route so far having been a gentle downhill. At one point we reached the edge of some of the cliffs and spent some time enjoying the view. As we were ahead of schedule we decided to head off and collect the 3 60 pointers on the far west section of the map. At this point we made a small error in route choice, choosing to drop down the side of the valley and walk on the road instead of going straight through the pine plantation and bee-lining for the point. Adri and George who were just behind us at this point got way ahead of us by taking the direct route. We had already taken a few short cuts through the forest and should have realised that the direct route was not that much more difficult than the route along the road.

Having learnt that lesson I started being more prepared to take the direct route, however its a lot more difficult to judge distance when under the trees than when on a road, and twice I thought we had gone further that we had, in both cases this meant the short cut only save half the expected distance saving as we continually had to recover the route on a road that we were originally trying to avoid.

Once we were done with the 60 pointers and had returned back to our original route we were slightly behind our expected time schedule. While the distances and terrain for the 60 pointers was not difficult it took us longer than expected. I quickly readjusted the route, missing a 50 pointer that originally was on my planned route and exchanged it for a 30 pointer. We had a short rest and a water stop at the hiking hut before heading up to the lookout tower and onto another point. On this section of the route the rock formations were amazing. It looked like an African version of Stonehenge, with massive slabs of rock standing haphazardly on end in a gigantic square.

A joint decision made us skip the second last point on the route as it included a 140m decent accross rough terrain, and we finished our route with a lowly 20 pointer before rushing to the finish and making the cutoff by about 4 minutes. We covered about 27km in 5 hours 40 minutes.

Overall we collected 540 points out of a total of 1050. If we had had the extra 15 minutes we would have added another 40 points. We did not find out where we finished as we immediatly rushed off back to the camp site to see if Yolande had got everything for the car sorted out. We found the whole camp site set up, a hire car ready to take us home, the tow of the car back home all sorted out.

Anyway on Sunday we rushed off home, Collected our Daughter from the Exchange organisers, collected my 2 sons and my exchange son from the Voortrekkers and finally settled down to some proper weekend peace and quiet, (with lots of stories about Loreley's six week visit to Germany)

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