Berg & Beach day 1 (Blog)
We all gathered together at the Fernkloof nature reserve for the race briefing. It was a bit gloomy with a threat of rain in the air.
Race organiser, Ugene Nel, requested that everyone take out their waterproof & hooded rain jackets. One of those proverbial “crick crick” moments followed as the realization dawned on a lot of runners that they did not have the required gear. Soon runners were scurrying around trying to find a suitable rain jacket. Luckily we had a pair of emergency poncho’s in the car (a lightweight and still suitable option), but some runners were forced to downgrade to the 9km. Fortunately, the runners accepted their fate with grace. Ugene was not being pedantic. The Cape weather is notoriously fickle, and there was a lot of dark cloud cover and a definite threat of rain. You can easily get injured in a remote part of the route and if it is raining and cold, you will get hypothermia if you don’t have waterproof gear.
Due to all the drama, the start was delayed by about 10 minutes.
We headed up the Hermanus mountains on a winding single track through the fynbos. This was nice for backmarkers like myself, as I had views of the whole race snaking ahead in front of me :-)
Soon the 9km and 27 km routes split and for once the 27km were the happier bunch as the 9km route went steeply up the mountain. If only the 27km runners knew what lay ahead…
Even though by this stage we still had a lot of elevation to gain, the views over Hermanus were already spectacular.
Next stop was one Hermanus’s three dams.
The route then took us on a contour path out of the Fernkloof reserve. We followed the edge of town all the way to the Kleinrivier lagoon.
After a short stretch next to the lagoon we turned left into the mountains and started climbing...
After what seemed like an eternity we finally got to a ridge and were rewarded with… more climbing :-|
At least the views made up for our aching muscles...
At 17km we were reached an unexpected (but very welcome!) water point (the race is self-supported, so no official waterpoints).
Of course, no water point was going to interrupt a good climb… and so up we went…
Eventually the end was in sight!
And then, there we were... on top of the world, or at least it seemed like it :-)
After savouring a couple of moments of well-earned rest we were soon heading down into the Hemel and Aarde Valley.
It was a technical downhill single track with lots of loose stones, some slippery due to the early morning rain. With my dodgy ankles, I wasn’t taking any chances.
I finally caught up with my lovely wife halfway down the single track :-)
The single track met up with a gentle jeep track.
The jeep track led us back to Fern kloof.
This was also the ideal place for a couple picture :-)
We went down a fast paced, winding single track towards the finish line.
Soon the end of the race was in sight!
And we could celebrate the end of another memorable day on the trails!