Friday, January 22, 2010

Delta Marsh

The week started with a lazy coffee-ride with my friend Karen. As we approached the parking at the botanical gardens after a loop to zoo lake, we were thinking about cycling a loop through Delta Park. But when we reached her car a few minutes later, it was already pouring. She offered to take me home, but I declined - i'd be ok in rain, it's hail that i'm scared of.

It's about 10 kays back to my house - I managed to outcycle the storm and i was dry (bar the mud from all the puddles everywhere) until I had to turn up in Delta Park. When the first drops fell, i heard them clank on my helmet. A few tiny hailstones, and then clank clank *clank*. I had to find shelter, and quickly. I wasn't going to make it to the playpark, so opted for a tiny little tree - the only one i could find - while watching the singletrack turning into a river.

A line from the pina-colada song kept ringing in my ears:
"Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
I'm not much into health food, I'm more into champagne."

getting caught in the rain ... maybe ... but i'm not into hailstorms!

When the storm calmed down, i continued up Delta park. It was deserted. When I came down it about 2 hours ago, there were cars and kids and dogs all over .... not a soul, just a white layer of hail and raging singletrack-rivers. I had the park all to myself. It was about 4 in the afternoon, almost dark but lots of daylight left.

The park was exceptionally muddy, but the wet grass was like a wash&go - by the time I reached the tar on the other side of the park, my bike had no sign of mud.

Getting caught in the rain? maybe .... hailstorms? exhilirating!

on a bike to cape town

(picture from the hatman's site)

There are different ways of getting to Cape Town on a bicycle.

You can load your rigid with panniers, buy an air ticket back, and take 2 weeks to solo-tour from Joburg to Cape Town, visiting friends and family along the way.

Or you can ride from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town on the freedom challenge, cycling in snow storms over mountains to experience the best of South Africa's singletrack and the best of its hospitality.

If you like the idea of having a backup vehicle to transport your luxuries for you, or just want to experience a little more then just South Africa, you can maybe join Tour d'Afrique on their ride from Cairo.

If you have enough time you can, like Riaan Manser, start out from Cape Town and circumnavigate the continent before returning a few years later.

Or you can cycle from Durban to Cape Town on a unicycle.

One unicyclist and one blogger left Durban on 28 December - 3 weeks later, and they're in the Eastern Cape somewhere.

They're raising awareness of the horribleness of landmines. The tour was almost off due to lack of funds, but Rotary Umhlanga donated R5000 towards fuel, food and blogging expenses. They'll need more - their banking details is on their website - go have a look at the pics and if you've got change lying around, here's one way of spending it.

1 100 kms to go - good luck guys!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Alaskan version of Freedom Challenge

Up till a few days ago I thought Freedom Challenge was the most extreme physical anything any person can put himself through - possibly (only maybe) with the exception of climbing Mt Everest.

The heroes and heroines drag their bicycles over mountains for endless kilometers. Unsupported. They face gale-force winds, snow, mud, hail, killer-proteas, mechanical failures, map-reading-disabilities, map-maker-disabilities, injuries, sleeping in stables or outside - all so that they can earn the title of blanket-wearer.

I thought this was the most extreme event ever.

Then I stumbled accross the Alaskan version of the Freedom Challenge

(map from their website)

Advertised as the world's longest Winter Ultra Race Across Frozen Alaska, this is 1 100 miles of unsupported cycling across ... welll ... ice. In winter.

Like with Freedom Challenge, there are support stations where riders can get food and shelter. Outside of these, you're on your own.
Like Freedom challenge, there is a 'lighter' version of 'only' 350 miles. Equally unsupported. Equally cold.

Like freedom challenge, there is a higher_grade version if the cycling alone is not hard enough for you: you can do the whole distance on foot!

The event for 2010 is sold out.

So who's got some leave for early 2011??

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Extreme Dinner 2010

Off-bike adventures with the slightly-crazy Mummy

Entrance fee on the Mnweni side is R25, and then it's R35 per day. Times 2 people, made the total amount R260. Agrippa couldn't use credit cards, and by the time we counted all our change, we had exactly 20c to spare. So we packed the chocolates and glasses and wine and bottled peppers and cheese and chocolates and off we went. Weather turned nasty, and we opted to stay in a cave that we found at the bottom of Rockeries, in stead of going up the pass.

There were lots of lovely green plants growing all around the cave. Wondered if i would be able to make one grow in a pot at home - such a healthy green colour.

Here's the Mummy ironing his clothes before the dinner party. These dinners are quite formal affairs, can't be seen with wrinkled clothes.

... and here he is in the jacuzzi, getting ready for the party. Can't be dirty either.

The best view that any jacuzzi possibly can have

Here he is baking pancakes .... pancakes just won't be the same if they're not baked in the Jamie Oliver pan.

.. and some after-dinner chess and wine - and some chocolates - the perfect end to a perfect evening.

Someone told the Mummy that milk is good for that morning-after-ness.

A lovely weekend :)