About a year ago I did my first official trail race – the VWS Trail Challenge 2016 edition. It didn’t take me long to realize the “challenge” part of the title was fairly accurate. 25km on the slopes of Table Mountain (ok it ended up being closer to about 24km but who’s counting) on, what I thought at the time, was some fairly tough terrain. It was my first long run out after getting through Two Oceans and let’s just say I was suffering a bit towards the end.
Last Sunday I did my second official trail race – the VWS Trail Challenge 2017 edition. Seems I was wrong about the “challenge” part from last year. This year the race was only 20km (ok it ended up being closer to 19km but who’s counting) and to be frank…it wasn’t fucking around.
Two hours and thirty six minutes, nearly 1.5km of elevation gain and some hectic single track sections that are now etched into my memory (not to mention my quads and calves) later and I could barely find the strength to pick up my complimentary peanut Bar One at the finish.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom. I mean, I look way happier than the guy behind me in this picture…
I was reasonably strong on the climbs and even managed to pass a few people along the way (I finished a respectable 58th out of about 250) – but on the descents it must have been like watching an orange-shoed version of Driving Miss Daisy.
Despite my downhill challenges this remains a truly fantastic event to be a part of. The VWS volunteers are a brilliant bunch of people who do incredible work, and being able to support them while seeing the best that nature has to offer is a true privilege.
It’s three weeks until The Beast. A route that is two and a half times as long and with more than double the climbing.
How hard can it be?
Meh. There’s a few mountain miles to cover over the next two weekends so best get them out of the way first.
Besides, if it takes me forever I get to look at views like these for just a little longer.
I should probably point out that Mr Ross Dold who kindly donated those pictures had time to take photos and still beat me by over half an hour.
Oh and he finished seventh.
The man is a machine (check him out on instagram – @rosstherambler)