Monday, 30 January 2012

Sharing the trail

I always rave about Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve because it really is a jewel. For me it is 35mins from home over the weekends and always fabulous no matter what the weather.

My buddy Fred moved up to Jo'burg about a year ago now and he had never been to Suikerbos - so we went through on Sunday afternoon. With weather settling into its old patterns with afternoon showers, chances were actually quite good that we'd get drenched. It was raining when we arrived so we sheltered at the hotel reception until the hard downpour and lightening had passed and then set off in post-rain brightness.

Were we lucky! Glorious conditions - cool but not cold - with the view clearing with every minute. Yes, muddy and sloshy and slippery, but that just made it more fun.

We did the longer route - the first time that I've done it for ages. The signboard always read 17km but I've been convinced that there is no way it is longer than 14km - max. This time I ran with a tracker and logged 11.8km. On the signboard at the split someone has erased the old number; they've written 11.5km. I'm with them. The longer route is actually a much nicer trail underfoot and we also were on the lower 'plain' and so were surrounded by a herd of zebra and bontebok.

Part of my mission for this run was to take my Vibrams (Bikila model) for a spin. I haven't worn them for ages and I've never worn them on anything other than nice grass. I didn't want to overdo it so I probably only ran in them for a bit over a kay. Great news is that my feet felt fine and, more importantly, no sore feet or calves today. Luckily my natural strike is forefoot, which minimises the transition.

As we got back to the parking lot, some people were pulling in with bikes to go for a ride. I tried to get a photo of Fred's legs and the heavens opened. Pouring! We really did have the best of luck to start and finish in a rain-free window.

A lovely outing made even more fabulous by being able to introduce a fellow trail appreciator to this wonderful highveld gem.

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