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Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Camera writing!

So my blogging has been pretty sporadic (or not at all) for the last few months. The reasons are multi-fold. My camera was stolen a few months back, which was quite unfortunate. And I've been really busy with sporting events (ha!) ... actually not so much.

However, my insurance recently replaced my camera with a newer model with more fancy bits and it's nice to be out photographing again!! I am also almost caught up with the pictures from the last few months. It's been quite an adventure, and quite full of action.

But, like always, I'd not swap anything! And I'll try to keep better uptodate.

With Love.

Training (!) for the Two Oceans Half Marathon!!

Next, and last, on the list of athletic endeavours was the half-marathon. Andrea and I decided to run the half-marathon for charity and raise money for the Vineyard House - a children's home that I volunteer at. Thanks to all of you who donated - much appreciated. Here we are on one of our runs ... we are photoshopped to be running together. The grand total of about 3 weeks was my training after a week to recover from the Argus (and random physio/doctor who banned me from cycling for a week!). We also recruited Erin for the race - her training was about up to speed with mine!!


I was without camera for most of February and March (thanks to those that lent me cameras and took pictures on my behalf!). Mid-march I spent the weekend in Stillbaai with Helena and we had a wonderful time. Lots of chilling, chatting, laughing, some swimming and hiking and lots of being Still. We stayed at their family home which has been in the family for decades. I loved the following tile ...

The most obsurd Argus Cycle Race EVER!

When in the Western Cape ... one must do the Cape Town Argus Cycle Race!! I decided with Helena (my cycling buddy!) that we'd do the Argus ... slowly ... and stop for a picnic and a swim. It all sounded quite chilled. Helena got injured and couldn't do the race but how difficult can 110km around the most beautiful coast line in the world be?!?!?

... quite difficult!!

I hadn't ever cycled more than 65km but figured I'd give it a go. That was more than most people when they saw the weather! It was rainy and gale force winds. The race pictures below I took from a picture forum and they show a little of the outrageous conditions!! But I enjoyed it immensely (and laughed a lot - outloud sometimes - during the race!!).

My bike ...

So for starters I was doing a road race on a mountain bike. While we were waiting before our group set off one old guy looked at my bike and said "You're going to cycle on that?" to which I smiled and nodded wondering whether he thought I had another bike to get before starting!

My timing chip. This times me, and makes sure I do the whole race (so I couldn't take a shortcut and end up at the end of the race - I did think about it!!)

The conditions at the start were hilarious. There were port-a-loo's (port-a-potty's) flying around in the wind and people were blowing all over the place. Here are a few pictures ... with a starting speed of a few km/hr!!

It was a long way around to the end! My goal soon became just to finish the race and not to be blown off the road and cliffs!! Since I hadn't cycled it before I didn't realise until much later just how bad it was!! The good advise that I was given from my dad included the fact that for all the uphills there must be downhills ... I was looking forward to free wheeling down Chapman's Peak but when I got to the top (no probs cycling up it) we had to pedal downhill because the wind was so strong. And the final stretch - down Victoria Street towards Camps Bay - is normally a beautiful stretch. But, people were blowing off their bikes and all over the road and we had to get off and push our bikes. That was difficult enough, let alone cycling!!

When I reached the end of the race there was no great banners or "Finish" sign. It was quite peculiar to me that there wasn't more than something that looked like a bedsheet hanging above two poles. The next day I was talking to some people who said the finish line had blown away into the sea ... obviously long before I arrived!!

The original finish line fanfare ...

The beginnings of it flying away ...

Clinging onto the finish line!

But, finish line or no finish line, I completed my first (and possibly last!) Argus Cycle Race. And here's the medal to prove it ...

Happy Birthday Picnic ...

Because I've never been able to, I wanted to have a picnic for my birthday this year! So here we are in the park in February ... sun and blue sky galore! Here are a few pics ...

Days until the World Cup ...

As has become my tradition, the days until the World Cup were counted down! I spent the night in Joburg airport ... actually sleeping ontop of my stuff in the Mugg & Bean cafe. Not the greatest night's sleep but after a week in the mountains it wasn't too bad!!

Proof that I did it!!

My certificate!! What a wonderful experience. Of course, the people (fellow hikers, guides and porters) definitely made the trip memorable, fun, adventurous, exciting and successful! Thanks people :-)

Charlie, me, Rachael, Tina, Carl, Chris, Randy, Beulah, Liz, Mel & Elspeth

Day 7 - All done!

After a long time in the shower we emerged clean and tidy, with some serious sunburn and enjoyed dinner together and some Kilimanjaro beer.

Tina & Rachael

Mel & Elspeth

Carl & Charlie

Beulah & I

Dinner together: Randy, Charlie, Rachael, Tina, Elspeth, Liz, Mel, Chris, Beulah & Carl

Charlie & I

Amongst one of the things that I took to basecamp (but not in the 15kg bag that we were allowed to take up the mountain) was my duct tape .... I had read (!) that it's good for anything and a must for trecking up Kilimanjaro!! But, that and the other 10kg of useful nonsense that I'd read about was left at the basecamp! Turned out it would have been useful ... so I told Chris :o)

Leaving from Kilimanjaro Airport ... it was a bit more like a bus station!

Day 6 - On the way down!

After our quick descent back to the Kibo Huts, Lastie explaining to the other random guides waiting at the huts (a little anxious about the poor girl on the mountain!) that indeed we were fine, I was just very very slow! The others had rested for a few hours, I had about 30 mins which was long enough to find Charlie and tell him about the hat burial, and catch up with those who were awake!!

We continued to descend for acclimatization purposes and slept at the site of the huts of the Marangu Route. But we were in our tents.

The next morning Charlie (our spokesman, and a fine one!) thanked the guides and porters and they danced and sang for us!!
We had about another 6 hours of hiking back to the park gate ... the weather was nicer and the landscape a bit greener!! We chatted with the 4 other travelers who all appeared much happier and much friendlier after their summit.

Tina, Elspeth & Rachael

Me, sporting some rather serious sunburn!!

The top of Kilimanjaro!

I had greeted everyone on their way down from Uhuru Point and when I got there it was just me, the famous sign and our guide, Lastie. I had wanted to do a handstand at the top and talked about it all week, but thought that I might die at the top undertaking such a physically challenging task! As it turned out I felt absolutely fine and did two handstands! Evidently ascending very slowly takes forever but helps with the symptoms!

It was beautiful to sit at the top and ponder ... and recover from the exertion of 2 handstands!! And 5 days of hiking at high altitude!

The Sunderland hat hanging on the top belonged to Charlie's Mum. His dream was to have it buried at the top of Kilimanjaro so when he didn't come further than Gilman's Point I took the mantle to finish the task and fulfil the dream!

Lasty and I buried the Sunderland Cap and put some rocks on it.

God Bless li'l Peg, and God Bless Charlie.

Beautiful views as we returned to Gilman's Point - slightly quicker than leaving it!

Lastie and I on the way down, as the clouds came in! MUCH faster ... skree-ing?!? Using ones bottom helped!!