Amatola- some thoughts

The race briefing only really made sense to those who knew the route already. I had no idea what friendly Dave was talking about. Then suddenly we were jogging along the banks of the dam, then into the forest.

Almost as suddenly I was alone. This was the way that I would spend most of the event, running/walking at my own pace. A group did catch me at the first climb. Good thing too as we negotiated a detour. The idea was to avoid some wild bees. In the end we all seemed to disturb them. I got stung on my leg. It was everybody for themselves as the bees got real pissed with the disturbance.

A short time later we reached the first hut. A woman who’s name I did not know was sitting one side, head down. “How’s it going?” “Fine” she replied. I had seen this before and moved on down the trail. It was not my place to change her mind.

On and on up onto the plateau, more forests. Then came the wrong turn for me. I knew it was wrong as I took it but followed the yellow footprints anyway not wanting to believe it until it was too late. To make up for my sins I got lost for ½ h really close to the hut. My map reading skills were obviously not as good as I had hoped.

An event can always be judged on whether they serve tea at the finish and if there are hot showers. Two thumbs up here.

Day two started just before first light and we jogged a short distance until everybody walked up the first of three major hills for the day.

More and more forests until we got to the second last hut. Then suddenly 3 poachers with about 15 dogs were around me. They were harmless “looking for their cattle”. I smiled and went my own way. “Sorry I don’t have sweets, and no peanuts”. Then up onto the tops again and a long traverse.

The problem with romantic places is that it is such bloody hard work to get there, you are normally alone (or worse still your companion is not your romantic interest), you smell, are tired and do not feel like sex. Anyway I sucked in the view, had a Pinacolada (bar that is) and headed down towards the meadows where the 35 km route joins ours. Soo pretty.

Then back into forest and a steep climb, more and more up out of the forest and over the Hog. Past rock routes I have only heard of. The obvious lines unclimbed!!! A long descent and then the obligatory final uphill towards the finish.

A brilliant event, highly recommended. Don’t come here for trophies, medals or water tables every 3 km. But come for everything else.

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