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RCS Sox 2018 day 2: Forests

RCS Sox 2018 day 2: Forests

We awoke to glorious sunshine :-) but it still seemed as if someone had forgotten to turn on the thermostat.

In order to warm everyone, up our very kind and considerate organisers put the stage's major climb right in the beginning...

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While the leaders, like Peter Tsawayo, who won the team category with team mate Imran Paya...

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And Melikhaya Misizi and Bernard Rukadza, 2nd and 1st in the individual category, took the climb in their stride...

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The rest of us lesser mortals didn't find the going quite so easy...

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Female individual race winner Margitta Wright was very happy to reach the summit.

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Luckily there was quite a bit of respite after that opening leg burner

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We were led down an undulating jeep track, first through a short stretch of forest...

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And then a gravel road rewarded us with our first view of the ocean!

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But soon we were back in the forests...

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This would eventually lead us all the way back down to about 250m lower than we started the day's race. Newton's law in action - What goes up...

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Luckily there was always time to enjoy the fine forest scenery.

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Eventually we reached the first water point at Krisjan-se-nek. This is the final resting place of Daleen Matthee and also the start of the Sox Sport race. The Sport and Full followed the same route from here.

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There was a short jeep track from the waterpoint...

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Before we entered the Circles in a Forest Trail.

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Formerly known as the Woodcutter's trail this was renamed after Dalene Matthee's first novel, "Circles in a forest", when her memorial was unveiled.

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It well and truly live up to its name, leading us through a pristine ancient forest...

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Along forest single tracks...

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Through mystical sections where one could easily imagine a Hobbit jumping out from behind any tree...

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But mostly through places where you could completely immerse yourself in the peace and serenity.

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Here's good friends Owen Mtetwa and Ben Wagner making their way across one of the little streams.

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In all honesty,  Southern Cross Trail run almost feels like a Planet Earth Reality TV Show. After the Mountains episode it was time for Episode 2 - Forests.

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Unfortunately there was no soothing David Attenborough voice to calm the nerves - well not yet anyway, but wouldn't put it past the SOX team to arrange something for next year ;-)

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But maybe there is a bit of Survivor here as well. Don't know what happens when the tribe speaks though :-)

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But I suppose one could also argue that we are simply part of... an "Amazing Race"... Drum roll, Drum roll, Dish

;-)

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But whatever reality TV show we were in... after an amazing never-ending single track through the forests, our organizers inserted a sneaky little steep climb that eventually led us out of the forest to a rare bit a sunshine...

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But it was soon time for some more forest single track, yay :-)

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Where we met up with short section of gravel road...

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Leading us to the second aid station.

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The next part was probably my favorite section of a very memorable day's run... A stunning single track next to a tranquil stream.

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But the route profile warned us of a nasty climb and it duly arrived... I would say its outstanding features were location, location, location - At 27km into the day's race my legs did not embrace it with joy. It was the gift that kept on giving though, not very steep but just very long.

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But all good things comes to an end, and after the summit there was only a short downhill remaining to the finish line at Millwood. Day 2 - done and dusted :-)

Super thanks to Emma Rorke of Elrorke Photography for the great image below. Do visit her Facebook page Elrorke Photography for more of her work and more great images of the SOX trail run.

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And now only Day 3 remained, Read it all about it here!

RCS Sox 2018 day 3: The Garden of Eden

RCS Sox 2018 day 3: The Garden of Eden

RCS Sox 2018 day 1: Mountains

RCS Sox 2018 day 1: Mountains