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ADVENTURE | SPORT | LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

VOL 5•9 2013 #29

New-look website

www.doitnow.co.za

Ridingthe

Dragon’s

Spine Away they go

for cerebral palsy

SURF’s UP in SaintLeu

to a racing lifestyle!

plus

Harley on safari Competition p. 5 facebook & twitter www.doitnow.co.za


On the Cover - Surfing in Reunion. Photo by - Greg Ewing

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS

DO IT NOW Team CEO / FOUNDER Francois Flamengo

Alan Hobson Fly Fishing

Andrea Kellerman Sport Psychologist

Deon Breytenbach Paddling

Francois Steyn Vehicle Reviews

André Troost Various

Jacques Marais Photography

Xen & Adri Ludick Travel

Hannele Steyn MTB / Nutrition

Sheldon Reddy Various

Neil Ross Recipes

Peter Fairbanks Insurance

Kobus Bresler Mountaineering

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Disclaimer

While every effort is made by the DIN Team to ensure that the content of the DO IT NOW website and magazine is accurate, DO IT NOW Magazine (PTY) Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any errors that may appear, or for any consequence of utilising the information contained herein. Statements by contributors and media submissions are not always representative of DO IT NOW Magazine (PTY) Ltd opinion. Copyright 2009 DO IT NOW Magazine (Pty) Ltd. No part of this website and magazine may be reproduced in any form or stored on a retrieval system without the prior permission of DO IT NOW Magazine (PTY) Ltd. DO IT NOW Magazine (PTY) Ltd supports and encourages responsible practices with regards to all Adventure, Sport and Lifestyle activities. We also believe in the conservation and protection of our environment.

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Digital Advertising

Opportunities For more information on advertising opportunities and customised campaigns, please email sales@doitnow.co.za or call Morné Labuschagne on +27 (0) 71 292 9953.


CALENDAR SEPTEMBER 2013 S

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dinFO Here are some fantastic activities and events to look out for this month: Running // The Colour Run - Port Elizabeth (EC): 1 September Caving // Wild Cave Adventures - Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng) MTB // Tip Trans Cederberg MTB Xperience - Citrusdal (WC): 7 September Show // Mass Hysteria 2013 The Boardwalk - Port Elizabeth (EC): 7 September Hiking // Drakensberg hiking trails - Drakensberg (EC) Festival // Northern Night One - Johannesburg (Gauteng): 7 September Show // Darling Wildflower Show - Darling (WP): 13-16 September MTB // Trailseeker #3 Van Gaalen Cheese Farm - Skeerpoort (Gauteng): 14 September Walking // Klein Karoo Eco Ultra Walk - Prince Albert (EC): 14-25 September Festival // Desert Knights (Namibia): 15-21 September Wind Surfing // Super Slalom Challenge (KZN): 20-24 September Festival // Two Oceans Whale Festival - Hermanus (WC): 20-24 September Event // Colour Me Crazy - Riversands Farm, Fourways (Gauteng): 21 September Scuba Diving // Knysna Lagoon - Knysna (WC) Trail Running // The Otter African Trailrun - Nature’s Valley (WC): 21-24 September MTB // The Lesotho Sky (Lesotho): 22-27 September

FIND OUT MORE For a more comprehensive list of events and activities taking place throughout the year, refer to the Calendar on www.doitnow. co.za/calendar

www.doitnow.co.za • 3


inDEX

Vol 5•9 2013 #29 | www.doitnow.co.za

Base

//  Team & Contributors: p. 2 DO IT NOW Magazine’s team and regular contributors. //  Calendar: p. 3 Calendar featuring Adventure, Sport & Lifestyle events. //  inDEX: p. 4 Contents for DO IT NOW Magazine #29. //  Enter & Win: p. 5 Enter our new website competition and stand to win great prizes. //  #readityourway: p. 202

Articles RUNNING

7 SOX - the ultimate mountain, forest and coastal challenge 19 Away they go - to a racing lifestyle!

OBSTACLE SPORTS

26 IMPI Challenge taking the country by storm

BICYCLING

35 41 55 67

Riding the Dragon's Spine for cerebral palsy SHOOT! A big five MTB tour - #nedbankTdT2013 The Red Island Ride - calling all adventurous spirits Trans alpine perfection

MULTI SPORTS

74 Impressive haul for South Africans at World Transplant Games

MOTORBIKING

79 Harley on safari

MOTORING

87 Extreme sideways action at SupaDrift Series 99 Review: The new Volvo V40s T4 petrol vs. D2 diesel

WATER SPORTS

105 117 129 135

Surf's up in Saint-Leu Mauritius Freeride Challenge Canoe polo makes waves Diving free - freediving in South Africa

87 151

WINTER SPORTS

143 Snowboarding in Les Deux Alps 151 Quiksnow 2013

HEALTH & FITNESS

163 Perform better by reducing stress levels 169 Enhance your food naturally

NATURE

175 Okavango Odyssey 181 Timeless Nieuwoudtville 184 A river runs through the Karoo

ENTERTAINMENT

194 Recipes: Food, glorious food 197 Movie and Game reviews Key: Adventure

Sport

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Lifestyle

INVOLVED


ENTER & WIN Visit www.doitnow.co.za during SEPTEMBER and enter your details in the Enter & Win Competition to stand a chance to WIN one of two pairs of

WIN

INOV-8 F-LITE™ 195 worth R1,095 each! This shoe is designed for running on hard pack trails and tarmac surfaces. It's lightweight, fast, and grippy. GO ALL OUT!

41

Congratulations to Carien Soldatos and Zwelakhe Makgalemele, the winners of our August 2013 competition. Carien and Zwelakhe each win a Scuba-Licious Open Water course, worth R2,200 each.

New look

DO IT NOW Magazine is pleased to announce that it has launched a new and improved website.

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The website has been designed to provide the ultimate visual and user-friendly experience, with action-packed content, stunning photographs, videos and improved navigation and functionality throughout. Compatible with today's browsers and mobile devices, users can share content with others across Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Visit www.doitnow.co.za where South Africa’s #1 Adventure, Sport and Lifestyle Magazine takes publishing to the next level: • Latest news • Fascinating and informative articles • Up-to-date calendar, events, and feedback • Stunning photo galleries • Action-packed videos • 20 different adventure, sport and lifestyle categories

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Adventure, sport & lifestyle news, articles and events never looked this good! www.doitnow.co.za • 5


Northside Motorcycles

www. bmwmotorrad.co.za

The Ultimate Riding Machine


RUNNING

Words: Pietré Smit ǀ Photos: Pietré Smit & Christi Pienaar

A few months ago my superfit, adrenaline-junky sister, Christi, approached me with the idea of doing some trail running. "It is so much more exciting than road running," she said. "Think about the spectacular scenery along the way," she said. "And what a good excuse to get outside into the bush," she said.

SOX The ultimate mountain, forest and coastal challenge

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What she failed to mention was the is the 5 a.m. morning runs, the one toe and two fingers that I was sure I would lose to frostbite, or the fact that I would need help sitting down or getting up! To motivate me to get me started (she knows me well!), she suggested we take part in this race near Wilderness. In my ignorance I agreed, and before I had a chance to read the fine print we were entered and the plane tickets bought. All I needed to do now was start running! Half the fun of starting a new venture is, of course, acquiring the necessary kit. So, off we went to buy the most beautiful purple trail running shoes (I hesitate to call them shoes because they are more like luxury SUVs for your feet) and a streamlined backpack that will put any black ops kit bag to shame. I had every intention of training my heart out for this event, but as it does, life happens: work, social engagements, sickness, and general laziness resulted in much enthusiasm, but very little actual time spent on the road or trails. Time stealthily slipped by and before I was mentally or physically prepared for it, the day arrived for us to jump on a plane to George, for the second edition of the Southern Cross Trail Run, or SOX as it is affectionately referred to. The event took place over the long weekend of 9 -11 August, 2013, with the race village located at the Ebb and Flow Rest Camp, in the Garden Route National Park just outside Wilderness. We had a choice of either booking into one of the chalets or guesthouses in or near the park or sleeping in the race village tents erected on the embankment of the Touws River. We decided to rough it and slept in the tent village because it was simply beautiful out there. Unfortunately, we never thought to take the weather into account. When we arrived, it had been raining non-stop for a few days and the little tents flapped miserably in the wind. After a (not very long) debate, we decided to book our nervous bodies into a nearby guesthouse. There really was no sense in suffering unnecessarily … Registration took place at the race village, set up in the Wilderness Nature Reserve for the duration of the event. Despite the rain, the atmosphere was electric and nervousexcited athletes could be seen huddling around fires and clutching cups of steaming coffee. Many chose the warmth of the marquee, which was stocked with your choice of refreshments and provided a welcome escape from the drizzle and chilly breeze. As the weekend progressed, the marquee transformed into the heart of the event, where we enjoyed many a tasty meal, hearty conversations, and shared war stories as well as slideshows of each day’s events.

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Day 1 Morning came a little too soon, but after a warm night’s sleep I felt ready to tackle the first day: a challenging 30 km route into the Outeniqua Mountains. With my pretty purple shoes and my black-ops pack filled with emergency rations, a space blanket, and some water I hopped on the bus with my sister and off we went to the start of the first stage. The rain seemed to have dissipated as approximately 250 athletes took their places underneath the yellow SOX arch at Karatara. With a blow of our emergency whistles we were off and straight into the first hill. This set the trend for the day’s run. Clearly the race co-ordinators, Sonja and Hano Otto, are no great believers in easing into things. The first hill turned into a mountain, which turned into three mountains that felt like ten. As one runner after another trudged by, I realised my 'training' (which I knew to be a little sketchy) was grossly insufficient. This was when I realised how privileged I was to be able to share such an event with my sister. She patiently kept pace behind me and every time it felt like l was going to lose a lung or need a hip replacement, she reminded me to stop and take in where we were and what we were doing: experiencing pure trail running in the unspoilt beauty of the Outeniqua Mountains and areas that are usually not accessible to runners. Spectacular! Conditions were wet and very technical, but we soon found that we may be slow uphill, but our downhill skills were quite impressive – if we might say so ourselves. Sore, tired, and dirty, we made our way down the last hill to the finish line. We had survived the monstrous mountains of day one! Buses took us back to the race village and our warm, comfy B&B. Even though the rain had stopped and the temperature had climbed, so happy about a warm bath and soft bed! Only to repack our gear, ready for day two.

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Day 2 Very sore and stiff, we woke early Saturday morning. I had no idea how I was going to survive another gruelling 30 km of running, but I put on a brave face and limped my way to the bus that was waiting to take us to our second starting point, Millwood Museum and Tea Garden. Day two promised to be something

completely different - 30 km of spectacular trails through beautiful indigenous forests. No more mountains - I can do this! With our now brown running shoes we set off, maybe not quite at a run, but we soon warmed up on the massive hill start that kept going up and up. We cursed Sonja and Hano every step of the first 3 km uphill, with not a tree in sight (that’s NOT what the brochure said!), until we topped out and turned the corner. This was the start of the most spectacular (downhill) jeep and single tracks that seemed to go on forever. The trails snaked past streams, up hills and down slippery paths that wound through the quiet forest, the backdrop for Dalene Matthee’s Circles in the Forest. Once again we could not help but be overwhelmed and awed by the majestic tree giants that towered above the forest canopy. After the initial beauty of the scenery had worn off, our aches and pains crept back into our consciousness and a few new ones also made themselves known. By now my legs were jelly and my mental acuity had diminished to the point where Christi only received monosyllabic responses to her cheerful remarks about the scenery. At around 24 km, we hit the last water point and I was reaching the end of my endurance. The last 6 km wound steadily uphill until we broke through the cover of the forest and treaded wearily upwards, under the midday sun. By this point, I had run out of water and the last stream had been left behind an hour ago, in the cool forest shade. Pure stubbornness and my sister’s helpful remarks kept me placing one aching foot in front of the other. I was only communicating through grunts and hand gestures, but at last the top was in sight! A small jeep track took us downhill and around the next bend, where the yellow SOX arch unexpectedly greeted us. Great food and friendly company awaited us at the finish, even though it took me a while to appreciate the hospitality of Millwood Tea Garden. Back at our B&B, I passed out on my bed in all my dirty glory and was incapable of moving for several hours. I was just glad to see that despite her fitness even Christi was having difficulty negotiating the giant step down to the bathroom and beckoning shower. How are we going to manage one more day?

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Day 3 The morning of day three was tough. Two spectacularly beautiful but gruelling days had taken their toll. I’m ashamed to

say that only with the help of a few painkillers did we manage to drag our worn out bodies out of bed, stick our blistered feet (Christi) and blue nails (me) back into our now black and slightly soggy torture traps some call running shoes, and strap on our (medieval corset like) packs for one last day on the trails. Day three concluded the Southern Cross Trail Run with a surprisingly gentle and flat(ish) 20 km trail along our magnificent coastline. It started off with a magnificent sunrise over the Indian Ocean, at Victoria Bay, which painted the skies a fiery orange. A steep descent on winding single track (which we were experts at by this time) spat out onto the railway tracks, which wound its way lazily along the coast, over bridges and through tunnels until we reached Wilderness Beach. A short, sandy run led us onto the wooden boardwalk that weaved prettily through the reeds along the lake and length of the village. We were happily running along when FH (F&$#@ Hano, as he is also not so affectionately referred to, especially on steep uphills) decided to introduce one last mountain! Ok, maybe it was more of a hill, but let’s not split hairs. We took our time up the steep and winding trail, all the way to the top and where a magnificent view over the Ebb and Flow Rest Camp and Touws River greeted our sore eyes and legs. A steep and technical descent, with a couple of river crossings thrown in, brought us to a gentle scenic trail along the riverbanks. That was where FH had one more surprise for us; a freezing, but exhilarating swim across the black waters of the Touws River! A short, flat, easy, and squelching run led us to the beloved yellow SOX finish arch right in the heart of Ebb and Flow Rest Camp. We had made it! That concluded the excitement of three days running through the most spectacular and unspoilt landscape our country has to offer. I never felt stronger than when I crossed underneath the yellow arch after having survived three days on the trails! I felt truly blessed to have been able to share such an extraordinary experience with my sister. Next year will definitely see us again and maybe, just maybe I’ll train a little harder. • For more information on the Southern Cross Trail Run, visit www.trisport.co.za

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Swap the red tape for the red carpet

“NAC’s VIP Charter service always makes me feel like a rock star! They think of everything I could possibly need and pay special attention to detail, when it comes to my safety, security, privacy and comfort. Wherever I’m headed, NAC’s fleet of long and medium range jets and twin turbine aircraft get me there on time, without the added aggravation of having to deal with check-in queues, waiting for baggage or having to wade through red tape at airport terminals.” So if you’re considering chartering a flight, speak to NAC, and they’ll make you feel like an A-lister on the red carpet!” – Gabby van Staden, frequent charter client.

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Find us on facebook

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A t g


RUNNING

Words: Catherine Hartley | Photos: Liesl King

Away they go

Horse racing in South Africa has long been seen as the enclave of English aristocracy and business tycoons; however, the face of racing is set for change.

to a racing lifestyle!

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A new era

Ignited by the recent win of S'manga Khumalo in the Vodacom Durban July, making him the first black jockey to win this prestigious race, horse racing is heralding a new era! As poster boy for many young, ambitious people, seeking the thrills, glamour and fun associated with this exciting lifestyle experience, S’manga embodies a new, proudly South African image for racing. Young, hip, successful, and charming, but from humble beginnings and no background in horses, his sheer grit and hard work have brought him to this pinnacle in his career, paving the way for a new order! His milestone victory has placed horse racing in the spotlight, also highlighting the fact that it does not necessarily require a family history, privileged upbringing or massive investment to, to participate and be successful in an incredible lifestyle experience.

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Special attraction

No other sport blends the power of Formula 1 and the strength, grace, and beauty of ballet, while combining the athleticism of a human with that of an animal. A thoroughbred racehorse is a fine combination of genetic potential, physical conformation and a touch of mystery (that X factor that makes one stand out above others), but one can never forget that inside that great creature beats a heart, not a machine! I challenge anyone to stand at the rail near the finish of a race and not be moved by the strength and majesty of the horses, while the earth shakes beneath your feet and the thunder of their hooves pounds in your heart! Many die-hard, regular racing fans have been brought to tears by less and when the first horse across the line is yours, there is simply no way to describe it. A recent comment from one of racing’s leading lights almost sums it up: “Race horses can turn big men into little boys!”


Gold Cup field.

Huge potential

Emotional, exciting, and a sport it may be, but South African horse racing is a multibillion Rand industry with great potential for international trade. This is highlighted by the successes of many of our horses racing in Dubai, Hong Kong, the UK, and US, and going on to compete and breed across the globe. Not only have our horses competed with great success internationally but our trainers and jockeys have also excelled. The South African Jockey Academy has produced some top riders who have and do compete internationally. These include former champion jockey in SA and the UK, Michael (Muis) Roberts and Dougie Whyte, who rides in Hong Kong and has just won his 13th Hong Kong Jockey’s Championship!

Durban July Winner S'manga Khumalo was a product of the SA Jockey Academy, having been approached at his school in Durban because he was short, but with no prior knowledge of horses or riding! www.doitnow.co.za • 21


World stage Champion trainer Mike De Kock has built a successful campaign base overseas, with a focus on the Dubai Racing Carnival, which culminates in the 10 Million US Dollar Dubai World Cup. While there are a number of South African trainers permanently based in Hong Kong and Australia and competing successfully on the world stage, Mike de Kock has been a flag bearer for South African horse racing due to the number of successes at, what is, the world’s richest race day. Over the years, he has won many of the races on the night, but the main one (the Dubai World Cup) has eluded him thus far, although he came nail-bitingly close with Lizard’s Desire, a South African bred horse that was beaten by the narrowest of margins in 2010. They then did go on to win the 2010 Singapore Airlines Cup in Kranji later that year.

Mike de Kock now offers an opportunity for local trainers and owners to send horses to race with him in Newmarket, in the UK, from where they can more easily campaign across the globe. Just this year, they have runners in the UK, and The Apache ran in the Arlington Million, in Chicago, on 17 August. He won the race, but was disqualified due to bumping into the second placed horse, whose trainer and jockey objected to the interference. Notable South African-bred horses currently campaigning abroad are Soft Falling Rain, The Apache, and Shea Shea. Shea Shea won the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night and as Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon came into the winner’s enclosure, it was a very moving moment for all South African fans as he carried the SA flag high above his head!

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Challenges faced

Frustratingly, these great moments do not come easily! The biggest challenge faced by South Africans racing in international competition and the trade and export of horses is the African Horse Sickness virus. This life-threatening virus is carried by the Culicoides midge and is endemic to most parts of Africa, where the midge moves with the seasons, moving south as temperatures and rainfall increase and retreating when it is dryer and colder. The Culicoides midge becomes, becomes a vector for the virus when it feeds on an infected equid (zebra, donkey, horse). It can then transmit the virus when it subsequently bites another horse. South Africa has a locally produced vaccination that horses are required to have annually, but they can still be susceptible, depending on their susceptibility and the serotype involved. There is also a great fear internationally of the virus being transmitted to unvaccinated horse populations in other countries, despite the fact that an individual can only be a carrier of the virus while incubating the disease or actually sick. Thus, severe restrictions have been placed on us for export, with horses usually being quarantined in Cape Town for six weeks in what is known as the ‘free-zone’. This area is denoted free of the virus and movement of horses into this zone from the rest of the country is strictly monitored by the State Vet, with full health and vaccination records required. However, any suspected virus activity in the area can result in a movement ban being placed for up to two years or when the European Union is satisfied that the SA Veterinary Services has met the guarantees described in the protocol. We are subjected to this throttling movement restriction despite the fact that South Africa has never exported the African Horse Sickness virus and the 100% safety record of the Kenilworth Quarantine Station, with more than 1,000 horses having been exported since 1997. This means that the current champions waiting to travel to Dubai for the January to March 2014 Dubai Racing Carnival, have to spend three months in quarantine in Mauritius and another month in the UK before arriving in Dubai. These horses include Durban July winner Heavy Metal, L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner and twice Horse of the Year, Variety Club, and upcoming star Vercingetorix, who was sold at the National Yearling Sales by one of the Western Cape Grooms co-operatives, an initiative supported by the Department of Trade and Industry for encouraging co-operative enterprises in all of the country’s industries as a means of economic empowerment Despite the arduous journey for our local horses, they still compete and win against some of the best in the world, a tribute to South Africa’s talents.

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A lifestyle experience

There are no guarantees in racing and a horse that no one expects to do well can become a champion. Owning a racehorse should probably not be seen as an investment, but rather as a lifestyle experience that combines pure athletic power with incredible grace and nobility, along with elegance, fun, and a great networking opportunity with like-minded people. There really is no thrill quite like it!

Sometimes one can be incredibly lucky to be involved in a horse like JJ the Jet Plane, bought for R75,000 and who went on to win over R12 million in stakes locally and abroad. He was brought home to South Africa and has retired in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. If you just take Heavy Metal as an example, he cost R200,000 and his total training for the past three years is around R360,000 and more. He has made over R3.5 million. Who knows what lies in store for him and his connections, as he embarks on his international campaign early next year.

A bright future

What we do know is that the South African horse racing industry may be relatively small compared to the UK, USA, and Australia, but it packs a huge punch in terms of talent and the ability of our horsemen and horses! From the breeding farms, to racetracks and training facilities, the contribution to employment, education, the GDP, and foreign investment and trade is great and with improved export protocols, the growth potential is vast.

Sharing the passion

Many people may have dreamt of owning a racehorse, but either do not know how to get started or have the necessary capital to own a horse independently. As a multi-faceted business focusing on promoting and marketing all aspects of the sport of horse racing, Imagine Racing aims to encourage awareness and share the passion of racehorse ownership. Imagine Racing’s role is to guide each owner’s racing experience every step of the way and ensures that all the administration is taken care of, while providing a personal service, regular communication, and inclusion in all aspects of the horses’ careers. • For more information on horse racing in South Africa, vist www.racingsouthafrica.co.za. Alternatively, visit Imagine Racing on www.imagineracing.co.za


S’manga Khumalo and Heavy Metal.

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OBSTACLE SPORTS

Words: Jacky McClean / Newsport Media | Photos: The IMPI Challenge

New Balance Lilly Pads.

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IMPI Challenge taking the country by storm!

Starting out as the brain child of three young pioneers in search of an innovative adventure that could be tailor made for the South African market.

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Five years down the line the New Balance IMPI Challenge continues to set the pace as the original and most progressive obstacle course trail run in the country. According to Pieter du Plessis, race director, participant experience will always be at the forefront of this event. "The New Balance IMPI Challenge is a national event that has attracted over 10,000 participants within the three regions this year. Although challenging, all obstacles are safe and a fun, social, and relaxed environment is maintained at all times, it’s the IMPI gees that attracts people. "Venues are specifically chosen for their exclusivity and ability to accommodate innovative obstacles that will challenge participants both physically and mentally in the ultimate adventure challenge. A New Balance IMPI Challenge course will always feature loads of fun in the mud, with a good variety of terrain, from jungle sections, to sugar cane fields, awesome scenery and a good measure of hills. Basically we’ll make good use of whatever is on offer at the selected venue. On completion of the course, competitors are left with a sense of achievement and pride after earning the right to be called a New Balance IMPI," says du Plessis. A huge draw card of the New Balance IMPI Challenge is that all events are spectator friendly. Family and friends are encouraged to show support on the day, while soaking up the vibe in the Festival Village that includes live entertainment, a food village, and beer tent.

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Getting down and dirty in the mud.


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IMPI Challengers SUCCESS!

Community support After each event, IMPIs are encouraged to donate their slightly worn running shoes to the New Balance IMPI Shoe Power project. A local beneficiary will be identified in each region and the shoes washed and handed out to under-privileged individuals, who cannot afford their own.

The New Balance IMPI Challenge also supports the Woodside Special Care Centre, a private residential home for intellectually and physically disabled children and young adults.

Established in 1976, the Woodside Special Care Centre offers a wide range of services designed to promote the development of each of its children. • For more information on the New Balance IMPI Challenge, visit www.impichallenge.co.za. Like their Facebook page: Impi Challenge or follow them on Twitter: @impichallenge

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Upcoming events Participants can enter individually or as part of a team (teams vary in size from two to ten people).

Gauteng:

1

Venue: Van Gaalens Cheese Farm (Hartbeespoort / North West Province)

New Balance IMPI Elite Race Date: Start: Format:

Saturday, 28 September 2013 07h00/ 100 competitors 18 km trail run featuring around 25 challenging obstacles

New Balance IMPI Challenge Date: Start: Format:

Saturday, 28 September 2013 09h00 onwards / 1,500 competitors 12 km trail run featuring around 18 fun obstacles

Date: Start: Format:

Sunday, 29 September 2013 07h00 onwards / 1,500 competitors 12 km trail run featuring around 18 fun obstacles

Cape Town: Venue: Lievland Wine Estate and Wiesenhof Legacy Park, Stellenbosch

New Balance IMPI Elite Race Date: Start:

Saturday, 19 October 2013 08h00 / 100 competitors

New Balance IMPI Challenge Date: Start:

Saturday, 19 October 2013 09h15 onwards / 1,500 competitors

Date: Start:

Sunday, 20 October 2013 08h15

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3

2


4 FROM LEFT TO RIGHT 1. Dressed to kill! 2. Crazy costumes - Smurfs dressed up! 3. Rawson’s Wall. 4. Mr lacy sewer.

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Bicycling

Words: Misty Weyer | Photos: Various photographers

Riding the

Dragon’s Spine for cerebral palsy

My husband, Dylan, and I are two very different people who hardly ever see things the same way, but our one true meeting place is on the bike. With the diverse surrounds of Grahamstown as our playground and Dylan’s passion for maps and navigation, opportunities to discover new cycling treasures in the big backyard of the Eastern Cape often stir in our hearts.

Dylan cycling at Kaba Farm in Alenxandria, Photo credit: Sophie Smith

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So it was only business as usual when I bought Dylan a book called Riding the Dragon’s Spine, written by David Thomas and Steven Bristow. The book is an account of their efforts to establish a mountain biking route across South Africa and Lesotho, from Beit Bridge to Cape Point, which avoids tarmac as much as possible. I knew that Dylan would love the book, but had no idea that we’d be cycling a similar route, with absolutely no support crew, from 1 September this year. I have always considered myself a big dreamer and before I was married I decided that I would only marry a man who dreamed bigger than me. Dylan and I are destined to become adventurers, as he constantly dreams about exciting exploits and I refuse to hear them unless we’re actually going to do them. So he knew that when he started talking about how awesome it would be to embark on such a cycle that I would relentlessly push for it to become a reality. So our adventure was born, but a strong conviction against wasting two months on an adventure for our enjoyment only led to the decision to do it for a cause.

The beneficiaries I am an occupational therapist specialising in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy (CP), and currently work as a field therapist and project manager for a Johannesburg-based NPO called Malamulele Onward (MO). The organisation provides specialised therapy services, equipment, and caregiver training to 11 poorly-resourced rural areas in South Africa and Lesotho, where children severely disabled by CP have little or no access to rehabilitation therapy and equipment. MO also focuses on supporting and enriching the existing local rehabilitation services in the different sites through practical therapy, formal training, and collaborative problem solving. CP is the most complex disability that affects children and these children go on to become adults with CP - a group of people very sadly left out of our health system. There were three main reasons for choosing MO as our cause to cycle for. First, we know the organisation well enough to know that their funds are well spent and decisions are guided and monitored by a reliable board of directors. Second, the quality of their services are far beyond most other CP or childhood services in South Africa. Lastly, their sites are situated in the two countries that we are cycling through.

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Ten percent of the funds we raise will go to a smaller NPO in East London, our home town, called Greensleeves Place of Safety, which aims to provide holistic residential care for abandoned and abused children. It is another organisation that we know very well and one of the few NPOs of its nature that achieves a high quality of life for their children, despite the challenges they face.

The route The Dragon’s Spine route follows the edge of the escarpment as it extends through the two countries, resulting in just less than 4,000 km of off-road riding. It is broken up into nine main sections: • Baobab Trail (Beit Bridge to Modjadjiskloof) • Berg & Bush Trail (Modjadjiskloof to Pilgrim’s Rest) • Timberlands Trail (Pilgrim’s Rest to Paulpietersburg) • Battlefields Trail (Paulpietersburg to Phuthaditjhaba) • Roof of Africa Trail (Phuthaditjhaba to Holy Cross Mission near Alwyn’s Kop) •  War Trail (Holy Cross Mission to Hofmeyer) • Great Karoo Trail (Hofmeyer to Prince Albert) • Folded Mountains Trail (Prince Albert to Tulbagh) • Fairest Cape Trail (Tulbagh to Cape Point) As a result of South Africa and Lesotho’s unique and diverse landscape, the route is a mix of easy yet long days of riding and shorter days of what’s considered to be severe to extreme riding. According to the plan, our longest day is 157 km and the shortest is 26 km, but one can’t be fooled by the kilometres.


Dylan at Expedition Africa 2012. Photo credit: Zelda Coetzee

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The route involves many 'hike your bike' sections (especially in Lesotho), river crossings, and deadly technical descents that are sure to test our minds and bodies. That 26 km day, according to authors Steven and David, involves a steep ascent of 920 m in 9.5 km on narrow animal tracks, difficult navigation, and some vicious village dogs. One of the biggest days on the route involves a very technical downhill portage, descending 840 m in only 5.3 km. Thus our training has not only been about covering big mileage on a bike, but lots of pushing and portaging practise as well. Although we have followed the guidelines of the book to plan our 65 days of riding, 7 of which are predicted rest days, we do aim to complete the route in as little time as possible, according to what our abilities and prior training allow.

The preparation In preparation for our ride, we have not modified our bikes in anyway, but are making sure that the brakes and suspension have been serviced and all necessary parts replaced before we get going. In the greater scheme of things, a cycle across South Africa and Lesotho is a relatively small achievement, but choosing to do the route completely unsupported, as we have, turns it into a completely different challenge. First, we have to learn more about bike maintenance and how to troubleshoot and fix possible problems along the way, as well as take on a ‘boer maak 'n plan’ mentality for that which can’t be fixed. Planning what we need to carry and how to do it most efficiently is an intimidating challenge for people who have never done anything like this before. As such, our preparations have involved many conversations with those who have completed such endeavours and there is much to learn from both their successes and mistakes. We don’t have a sponsor for the event and to make sure that we do not arrive home in debt, we have had to be quite strategic in our preparations. To help keep our costs low, I have been sewing the necessary bags for our bikes so that we can transport all we need with us, including a tent that will give us the freedom to not have to stick to the planned daily kilometres. No support also means that we need to plan for when there is no access to electricity, water, and shops, as well as the event of severe weather conditions. Bush Power were kind enough to sell us a PowerMonkey Explorer solar charger at cost price – a gadget that seems very suited to our ride and one that we will be reporting about along the way as we tweet on the phones that it will charge.

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On hearing about our ride, some people have given us suggestions of easier routes to take along the way, but an easy ride from A to B is not what we’re looking for. Rather, we seek a character-developing adventure that is bound to break us over and over again, and then spew us out at the end, only to have made us better people for it. This event is by far the largest challenge we have ever embarked on together. However, even though it is hard for us two ordinary people to believe we can actually survive the Dragon’s Spine, we have absolutely no doubt that our next adventure will make this one seem quite miniscule in comparison. What that adventure will be, we don’t know yet, but we do have two months worth of cycling to dream and contemplate our next personal challenge.

Get involved Our website has all the information one needs to get involved and support this event, as well as a detailed layout of our planned route. There is also information and links to the two NPOs we are supporting. Once-off donations towards the cause can be made via our donate page, which is operated by PayPal. If an EFT is the preferred choice of payment, our banking details are available on request. Other ways one can support the event is to: • Raise R1,000 towards the cause and ride a section of the route with us. • Host us for a night (if you live or know somebody who lives near one of our overnight stops). • Pledge an amount per day of the ride that is completed. • Share this event with the people you know. • Contribute to our route (there are still a few little sections where tar cannot be avoided and we would like to contribute to improving the current Dragon’s Spine route). • For more information visit, www.groupspaces. com/DragonsSpine4CP/ Twitter Account: @wildweyers


Dylan and Misty Weyer.

What a view.

Cycle to Bushman's River.

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BICYCLING

Words & Photos: Jacques Marais

SHOOT! HOW TO SHOOT … A Big 5 MTB Tour

#nedbankTdT2013 Three hundred km of elephant trails. Five species (at the very least) of potentially dangerous wild beasts. Four days of undiluted

riding through an uncharted African landscape. Three arid countries to crank through. Two Zambezi Lagers per day. And one bag full of superb Sony cameras. (Ok, so I lied about the two beers …).

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The annual NEDBANK Tour de Tuli is not a race: it is a unique mountain biking adventure based on a dream ride traversing 300 km of near-pristine wilderness. Untouched elephant foot paths, game tracks, and gravel roads – networking through the region where Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa rub shoulders in a rough and tumble of rocky hills, sandy rivers and arid plains – make up an incredible route that tests riders every year as they face off against truly epic African conditions.

As one of the team of photographers tasked to shoot #nedbankTdT2013, I had to come up with a cunning strategy to (a) not become part of the food chain, and (b) to stay in touch with the whole field along a route mostly only accessible on mountain bike.

That meant lots of time in the saddle, but on my Silverback Slider 275 that is but a pleasure.

The 650b wheels and full-sus frame proved perfect for the sandy conditions, and despite the heavy camera pack, it was relatively easy to navigate the trails up in the Tuli Block. This year, us shooters fortunately had back-up in the form of our own wilderness guides, so Wiam Haddad had my back to keep the ellies and roaming carnivores at bay. But it is still nice to know there’s some pedal power in the bank, just in case …

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With individual groups – there were 19 bunches in total – setting off 10 minutes apart from around 6 a.m. every morning, our initial

forays were very much a hit-and-miss affair into the murky predawn. And with the best time for photos just on halfan-hour later, we had to mission to get into a good spot to milk that magic hour. Epic sunrises are part of the deal up in this neck of the woods, with the baobabs and flat-top acacias of Mashatu providing a spectacular backdrop upon which to position your subjects, and my new SONY set-up fired faultlessly. I was quite worried that the A99SLT full-frames would not take the knock, but they handled beautifully despite the dust, grit, and heat (not to mention the occasional light thundershower). On some of the sections where I wanted to lighten the load, the option of packing the NEX-7 bridge camera was an absolute bonus. This DX-Format baby kicks in with a super-sized sensor to guarantee quality, while the body plus two lenses (spanning a 10 mm to 300 mm equivalent) weighs in at just on a kilogramme. Unbelievable! With around 60-80 km to cover per day, the individual days promised to be relatively tough once the sand and heat kicked in. That means there was the usual pain and suffering, with a general smattering of severe kakking off at the back of the field. Group 19 took eight-and-a-half hours to make it to Amphitheatre Bush Camp, and looked like they had just returned from a pitched battle in Iraq.

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Faces covered in dust and grime, arms and legs raked by sickle thorn, sweat-soaked kit and on their last legs … in other words, nothing an ice-cold St Louis Lager could not sort out in 30 seconds flat. By the end of #nedbankTdT2013, they had become the group having the most fun by far on tour. Highlights of the ride this year? Too many to even begin to count … Group 2 bumped into lion; an elephant just about ate off the tables at one of the tea stops; endless zigzag game tracks through bristling croton forest; superb sandstone riding in a region reminiscent of a Moab-ish Karoo ... In truth, you had to be there.

Because it is not a race, everyone taking part in the Nedbank Tour de Tuli ends up being a winner, but none more so than the beneficiaries of the official charity, CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS.

Between the riders and sponsors, around R1.5-2 million is raised for the children of the region every year, which adds a huge bunch of feelgood to go with the endorphin rush of the ride itself. • For more information on #nedbankTdT2013, go check out www. childreninthewilderness.com

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BICYCLING

Words: Kelly Fraser | Photos: Andrew King & Jacques van den Bergh

RedIslandRide calling all adventurous spirits Madagascar, known as the Red Island due to its distinctly coloured soil, is a continent of contrasts; from the unique

culture of Malagasy people, with touches of Asiatic and African heritage, to the most exotic flora and fauna on earth. This is a traveller's - and now mountain biker's - ultimate destination.

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Madagascar has a small but thriving bicycle culture and the locals are always ready to lend a hand when it comes to a little bike trouble. Photo credit: Andrew King

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In 2014, this unique landscape will play host to one of the most adventurous mountain bike races yet – the inaugural Red Island Ride, a sevenday, expedition-style cycle race from 31 May to 7 June 2014. Far from the tourist destinations, the group of 50 will explore Madagascar’s winding trails and untouched beauty. Limitless single track and beautiful, ever-changing scenery will form the backbone of this race. Not for the novice, the Red Island Ride is for riders with technical skill and a high-level of fitness and stamina. But they won't be without a little encouragement from the Malagasy people, who will be ready with a smile, point riders in the right direction, and offer a buffet of local treats: sweet and savoury fritter, fruits, and fine rums. "Madagascar offers so much for the riders; the unknown, the unforeseen. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone," explains Fiona Coward, event organiser. "When you arrive in Madagascar, you’ll need to be prepared for an expeditionstyle race. If you come with the attitude of a pioneer, the true adventurer in you will go away with memories of a lifetime," said Coward.

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Red Island

reconnaissance diary If you would like to find out more about what the route offers, there's a diary available that was written by Fiona Coward and Glenn Harrison, the route director, on their recce. But these extracts will give you an idea of what you can look forward too.

Fuel filters and rum Day one through three - we are on our recce to finalise the routes for Red Island Ride. By now, the route from Tana to Ambositra is disturbingly familiar. What’s not so familiar are the tourists – especially those laden with panniers and propelling themselves along on all sorts of bicycles. At least our riders will have the luxury of their bags being transported for them! A quick coffee and pastry stop to thaw out and we were on our way to Ambositra and the quaint Sous le Soleil Lodge. Slight problems with the fuel filter on Glenn’s motorbike ate into commute time as we struggled to fix it and find replacement parts. Eventually, we managed a half fix on the bike and arrived at the lodge as it grew dark. Guitars and singing heralded our approach and the place was packed full of French tourists enjoying their holidays. Conversation was interesting, despite my French being only slightly better than their English, which is saying something! There was much interest in our project, and our host Marc was in his element dishing out quantities of home-made rum. Today it is back to Ambositra for more spare parts, a repair on the garage forecourt, followed by cheese omelettes and coffee for the princely sum of R40 for two. The drifts of rain, unusual for August, sent us back to the lodge instead of the track and this afternoon we’ll make another attempt to find the best single track possible.

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Glenn Harrison (Route Director) and Clark (Local Guide) take on the trails through the dry seasons rolling rice paddies. Photo credit: Jacques van den Bergh

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Stubborn secrets The Sous le Soleil loop has been stubborn in giving up its secrets. Hours of exploring yesterday and this morning have finally resulted in amazing sections of single and jeep track. This was not without some pain, with a tumble off the motorbike and a blue hip. Swampy areas made it a no-go for the motorbikes. The locals were baffled by our antics as we decided to leave the bikes behind and hoofed it on foot. There is a real possibility that the riders will experience the Malagasy way with a hike-a-bike section – this will, however, be more than made up for by the track afterwards. It’s not over yet. It will take hours of pouring over maps and tracks and Google Earth before this section is finalised. It will be spectacular no matter what.

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Guided by Google Earth Stage three finally started to take shape with a late afternoon recce that included the beginning of stage four. Thwarted at a rice paddy, we turned back onto some routes we had chosen for stage three. A big single track climb put us on top of a ridge, with views across the valley. Taking pity on the riders, we decided to rather descend down this fine piece of track and so the route suddenly came together for that stage. Stage four to date had been tracks on Google Earth, and this morning was an early start to a village called Camp Robin (yes, English and not a multisyllabic name like most other villages in Madagascar). This is where riders will pop out before the final section to the Lemur Camp. So the backtrack began with a roller coaster of dongas and 1,5 m deep ruts wide enough for the motorbike and me. Finally, the route climbed out and followed an old road, which wound through forests of pine and eucalyptus. It eventually narrowed to well-worn single track, which twisted and turned, but stayed high on the ridge until eventually reaching a well-used jeep track. For tracks that are not hand built, manicured and blow dried, they flowed unbelievably well. Unsure of exactly where on the map I was going to pop out, it was with great surprise that I found I had covered more than 20 km of the total stage’s distance in a very quick time. What a high! I can’t wait until October when I ride this on my mountain bike. It is still going to be hard riding, with lots of concentration required for the more technical single track, but if this doesn’t blow you away – nothing will.

Adventures with Jean Marc When we first arrived in Antsirabe many months ago, we were introduced to Jean Marc, a local guide and cyclist. Over time, we’ve learnt much more about this exceptional adventurer. Born in France, he had the wanderlust early. Twenty years ago, Jean Marc travelled Africa by train and bus passing through 24 countries. From Africa, he made his first sortie into Madagascar before moving on to Réunion. But the island had him. He returned shortly thereafter, bought two horses and rode around the island. You need to understand that horses are rare in Madagascar, and many people had never seen one. At one point, the police had to use batons to clear a path through thousands of people thronging to see this unusual sight. Not satisfied, he then bought a motorbike and continued his exploration of this magnificent place.

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Amazing scenery overlooking Ambositra. Photo credit: Andrew King

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Malagasy children smiling and having fun for the camera. No matter where you go, you will run into hoards of curious smiling children. Photo credit: Andrew King

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For the last ten or so years, he’s been running Rando Raid, an adventure business offering mountain biking, canoeing, motorbike trails, microlighting, trekking, and just about any outdoor activity that appeals to like-minded souls. We rode an alternative section for the start of stage one with him today and the man sure knows his way around the zillions of paths that criss-cross the hills around Antsirabe. Jean Marc is a good friend to the Red Island Ride and we look forward to working more with this remarkable man. The adventure continues, so leave all your expectations behind as the Red Island Ride goes beyond what you can conceive and you’ll come away with experiences that you will remember forever.

Only 50 spaces are available, so do it now and sign up. • For more information or to enter, visit www.redislandride.com. Stay in the loop on Facebook.com/RedislandRide and Twitter @RedIslandRide.

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BICYCLING

Words & Photos: Gareth Barns

The best way to think of the Trans Alps, an eight-day stage race, would be as a European equivalent of the Cape Epic.

I was actually coming back for more, having done it last year, which says a lot about how quickly the memory of the pain fades and all that remains is the sense of accomplishment that fuels the desire to do it again.

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Trans alpine perfection

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The Trans Alps is an incredible experience, purposely designed to be challenging with this year’s race - although less technical and slightly less climbing than the last - still boasting bigger mileage, steeper gradients, and much hotter weather. It is contested by teams of two in the Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed categories. I raced it with my wife, Alexis, and our challenges started before the race even began. About eight weeks out, Alexis was diagnosed with Rabdo Mylosis, a muscle wasting condition that can only be resolved with at least a month’s rest. This pretty much put an end to her training programme and set her fitness back to square one, so there were some hard decisions to be made as to whether we would still compete. In the end, we decided to go for it and before we knew it, we were in the van and on our way to the start with Drew, our Scotsman mechanic.

This year's race, held from 13 to 20 July,

covered 680 km through Germany, Austria, and Italy, with more than 20,000 m of climbing (that’s twice as high as airliners fly). The scenery was spectacular, from the quaint German alpine villages with folk dressed in their lederhosen, to the traversing of the sheer spires of the Italian dolomites, and finishing up in the picturesque Italian resort town of Riva del Garda. Most of my focus was on racing, although when I did remind myself to look up, the scenery I found myself in was unbelievable. The race also had a few firsts in its history, with its longest-ever stage (120 km, Stage 7), its shortest-ever stage (39 km, Stage 8) and biggest-ever single climb (1,800 m). This race messes with your view of the world, it makes that which is big seem small and that which is small seem big. You know your concepts of the world have gone crazy when you hear yourself saying, “Oh, tomorrow it’s only a 1,000 m climb, that’s nothing!” On the flip side, it makes anything that is only slightly wrong, such as a slight niggle or wrong bike set-up, into something major. It was after the 1,800 m climb on Stage 3, having sat for two hours in the same position on the bike that my butt told me that I needed to change what I initially thought was a good saddle. Another example that was not so easy to fix was my handlebar grips. They were new for the race, which in hindsight was a bad idea, and by Stage 3, I had developed very painful blisters on my hands. By then it was too late, the damage was already done and I just had to get on with it.

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This is where the difference is made between the good cyclists and the great cyclists. Any

decent cyclist with a bit of fitness can go out and have a good showing at a two-hour race, but the Trans Alps is won by the team that is best prepared, who can perform day after day, and are able to foresee and resolve issues.

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Part of that preparedness was planning race nutrition and hydration. We figured we should be consuming some sort of energy every 20 to 30 minutes, which equated to around 80 gels and 40 bars over the length of the race, and we used them all. And let’s not forget all the recovery drinks at the end of each stage, and all the calories we were trying to get in at breakfast and dinner. An example of not getting it right was Stage 6. We could see in the profile that there was a big gap between water points, so to compensate we took extra water, but even this turned out not to be enough. We ended up riding for two hours without water. This miscalculation not only cost us performance on that particular stage, I also suffered for it the next day, posting our worst stage result for the whole race. When planning for this race, you have the option of organising your own accommodation or staying in the race camp, which we did to try save on costs. This in itself is an experience, with everyone camping on the floor of the local village’s Sports Hall. It’s a good chance to meet many of the competitors and experience the ‘European way’, but all I can say is remember to bring earplugs!


One of the nice things about this race is that no matter where you stand in the placings, you develop friendly rivalries with the teams at a similar ability. We met some amazing people, in fact, I think it would be pretty hard to find another place that has so many amazing people in one place. I suppose that anyone who decides to do an event like this has to be someone pretty special. One particular team we met was from Spain, and even though we couldn’t understand Spanish, we still developed a healthy rivalry with them to the point that we swapped jerseys at the end.

Our results varied quite widely from day to day, with our worst and best results interestingly coming on the penultimate and final stages respectively. As mentioned, we posted our worst stage result of 28th on the longest stage when I was still suffering from the effects of dehydration on the previous day, but then on the final stage into Riva del Garda, we had a blinder and managed to place 12th. When it was all said and done, we heartily celebrated a category result of 19th. It was then the party started with champagne flowing, followed by a dip in the lake.

What we found about our performance at this year's event was that despite our lack of fitness, we were still fairly average on the climbs, strong on the flats, and very strong on the descents. There’s no denying it, this is a race for the climbers, with climbs going on for over two hours. However, it was quite satisfying after being overtaken on the long climbs, to regain those positions on the technical descents. It was especially entertaining to watch the reaction of the guys as Alexis bombed past them on the technical descents.

“Why do we do this to ourselves?” Well, I think the answer is for that sense of accomplishment in that moment when it’s all over. And as a gauge to how powerful that feeling is, this was the second time I had put myself through it and it will probably not be my last. •

Anyone who has done a race like this would have asked themselves the question,

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MULTI SPORTS

Words & Photos: Stuart Pickering

Impressive Haul for South Africans at

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The 19th World Transplant Games, held in Durban, came to a close on Sunday, 4 August 2013, and has been hailed as a resounding success by the athletes and organisers.

Final numbers showed that more than 2,000 athletes from 50 countries attended. Teams from Great Britain, Argentina, Hong Kong, Sweden, Australia, and Holland, to name just a few, travelled to South Africa.

A lavish and moving opening ceremony was held in a full and lively ICC Durban arena, attended by all the athletes, friends, family members, and a lot of local school children, who thoroughly enjoyed themselves watching their SA idols winner perform on stage. To be able to participate, athletes must have had one of five life-saving transplants, namely heart, lung, liver kidney or bone marrow. The event was very well organised, with a massive medical backup for these athletes, as you would expect. As with all the Games' events, participants are categorised by age, with seven different groups for both the men and women. To detail all the winners would be too much, but more than 500 athletes took part in the 13 different sports codes, which included track and field events, as well as long and high jump, shot putt, javelin, and the full mix of running races.

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Overall, the standard was very high and also, as we saw in last year’s Paralympics, what some of the athletes’ lacked in ability was more than made up for with pure grit and determination to do their absolute best. Over 50 Transplant Games records were broken at the two-day athletics. South Africa’s Hellie Uys was awarded for being the 'The Most Outstanding Female Athlete', and Team South Africa finished in third position in the final medal count. The overall winners were Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who competed as one team.

Top five teams:

Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

MEDAL COUNT: 114 gold, 74 silver, 47 bronze

USA:

MEDAL COUNT: 42 gold, 32 silver, 27 bronze

South Africa:

MEDAL COUNT: 37 gold, 32 silver, 27 bronze

Hungary:

MEDAL COUNT: 37 gold, 19 silver, 21 bronze

Australia:

MEDAL COUNT: 25 gold, 15 silver, 12 bronze It is incredibly sad that this event received so little coverage, except for a few local papers and websites, and this is a great shame as the effort put in by these athletes and their love of life is overwhelming and truly inspirational. Roll on 2015, where the next World Transplant Games will take place in Mar del Plata, Argentina!

Fast fact:

At the 2011 competition in Gothenburg, Sweden, 47 South Africans participated, winning 17 gold, 17 silver, and 14 bronze medals. Four South Africans currently hold World Transplant Games world records. • The World Transplant Games are a celebration of the human spirit, giving individuals with previously life-threatening illnesses, the chance to compete in a high-level sports event and prove that they can not only lead normal, fulfilling lives, but push the boundaries of their physical endurance. For more information on the World Transplant Games, visit www.wtg2013.com. And remember to think about becoming an organ donor yourself. Each donor can save up to another seven people’s lives! For more information on becoming an organ donor, visit odf.org.za

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Do not imitate the riding scenes shown, wear protective clothing and observe the traffic regulations! The illustrated vehicles may vary in minor details from the series model and some show optional equipment at additional cost.

Photos: R. Schedl, H. Mitterbauer

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MOTORBIKING

Morne Labuschagne | Photos & Video: DO IT NOW Media

On Thursday, 15 August 2013, more than 150 Harley Davidsons roared out of Harley Pretoria’s Menlyn store for the annual Harley on Safari ride to Sun City. This year’s ride also

coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Harley Owners Group, so it was going to be an extra special weekend for the hogs. I was privileged to be a part of this group, riding a sweet Harley Davidson Street Bob that was on loan from Johan, the Menlyn store’s owner.

Harleysafari ON

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As this was my first experience with the group, I had no idea of what to expect. However, I have to admit that flashbacks from movies depicting the hard-core, freeliving lifestyle of the Hells Angels did cross my mind. But I was so far off it was scary. These riders were probably the friendliest group of people I’ve ever met, all with a deep and common love for the open road and living life! My kind of people. Leaving Pretoria on Thursday morning, I never once felt like I had to chase down the rider in front of me or ride out of my comfort zone. Everyone was just enjoying the freedom of being on the open road and eating up the black top with friends. Riding such a beautiful stead just made the whole experience that much more memorable. This was my introduction to the Harley lifestyle – and I liked it, a lot! The only problem was that because the ride was so awesome, I was almost disappointed when we reached our destination. What a magnificent sight (and sound) it was as the 'Thunder Parade' entered the gates of Sun City en mass; it was pure eye candy heaven! With models ranging from ‘couches’ to custom street rods surrounding me, I felt, and for the lack of a better word, like a real ‘bad ass’.

It was now time to get the weekend’s activities underway,

and what an amazing weekend it turned out to be! You’ll understand why when I tell you that we were treated to a Custom Bike Show and Riders Zone Exhibition, demo rides, a music concert, a themed beach party with both international and local bands, golf, and outrides into the local communities. The festivities kicked off off that evening with a Buddha Bar welcome party held in the Hall of Treasures and great fun was had by all.

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Harle


eysafari ON

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On the Friday, HOG Rustenburg hosted the group and took them on an outride to the Royal Bafokeng and Paul Kruger Farm. The day ended off with a fantastic beach party at the Valley of the Waves, where 'The Blackbyrds' and the fantastic Scottish band 'The Bogus Brothers' kept everyone entertained well into the night.

Saturday saw a Flag Parade make its way through the Sun City grounds,

and this was made all the more momentous as it was the first time something like this has been done by the HOGS in South Africa. Thereafter, I eagerly headed off to the Custom Bike Show. Here, I caught up with Dave Kriel, who explained to me how he had customised his bike and the challenges that went with it, and his experience with custom bike legends, Paul Junior Designs, from the hit TV series American Choppers. And as he spoke, he made me realise just how passionate a person can be about something as insignificant as a motorcycle. But then it dawned on me that it’s not the bike; it’s the lifestyle and freedom that this motorcycle represents, and the appreciation and respect his fellow enthusiasts give him that drives this man, who says he says he’s never ridden a bike in his life before this one!

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Harle


eysafari ON

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That night we celebrated the HOGÂŽ's

30th birthday and cheered on all those who were recognised at the Custom Bike prize-giving,

which all took place in the Superbowl Arena. The winners, in the various categories, were as follows: Free Style Custom: 1. Leonard Myburg 2. Bob Bartholomew

H-D Big Twin: 1. Faan du Toit 2. Dave Kriel

H-D Sportster: Johan Botha

Modified Harley-Davidson: 1. Peter Schmitt 2. Brian Wood

Lady of Harley Big Twin: 1. Bettie Kloppers 2. Caroline Farmer

Trike:

1. Faan Botha 2. Don Conceicao

Antique:

1. Martin Smith 2. Phill Beckett

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Harle


eysafari ON

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Harleysafari ON

The evening's entertainment was kicked off with the Bogus Brothers, with their offcentre way of performing cover songs and entertaining the crowds with dance moves from a bye-gone era. Next up was the international band Mike and the Mechanics, who belted out old favourites like ‘The Living Years’. We were fortunate to be in the Golden Circle and it was fantastic to be so close to these legendary musicians, as opposed to having to watch them from a distance and on a big screen. The band put on a great show, so if you ever get the opportunity to watch them, don’t turn it down. But the night was not over yet and the after party was calling. It was great fun and for anyone who thinks that Harley riders are a bunch of old men and women who cruise around and drink coffee on breakfast runs, think again! Take a page out of my book and don’t try to take them on when it comes to partying, because they are sure to show you a trick or two!

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At breakfast on Sunday morning, new friends were greeted, war stories exchanged, and trips planned. Then it was time to head back to our normal lives. But for me, life will never be the same again because of the impact this weekend had on me and I couldn’t resist stopping at Harley Davidson Menlyn to buy and customise my very own Harley Davidson.

Thank you to the Harley Owners Group for the most amazing weekend,

to Johan for loaning me the Street Bob, and to Mishka Moller and her team for pulling off an event that entertained and sold the lifestyle and brand to me and I believe many more! •


MOTORING

Words & Photos: Sheldon Reddy | Video: Mikeyxspromotions

Extreme sidewayS action at SupaDrift Series

South Africa’s premier drifting championship, the Auto Trader SupaDrift Series, recently touched down in Port Shepstone for a crack at the hillside Dezzi Raceway, attracting the largest crowd the raceway has seen. More than 5,000 eager petrol heads converged at Dezzi Raceway to witness the best drivers in South Africa dial in some serious angle at extreme speeds.

Mikey Skelton in his Rockford Fosgate Powered Nissan 350z

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The raceway, affectionately nicknamed the ' Rollercoaster', is fast becoming a favourite stop for the National Series.

Dezzi is famous for its elevated, ripping, blind turns and downward dipping corners, a challenge for some of the best high-speed, precision drifters South Africa has to offer. The track’s versatile design allowed organisers to orchestrate a twist in format that forced drivers to a slow entry speed of just 85 kph, before manoeuvring around a five-switch course. The presence of the SupaDrift Series in KwaZulu-Natal has done wonders to develop and promote motor sport in the province. KZN has gained a lot of momentum in the racing world over the recent years and is fast becoming a top contender for the title of 'the home of motorsport'. KZN may lack the infrastructure that Gauteng has, but when it comes down to passion and pure skill, KZN comes out ahead. The province is abuzz with motor sport activity throughout the year, from inland spinning and gymkhana events, held by the Sidewayz Club, to coastal drag racing events, the Total Rally and Top Gear festivals. There's no doubt that KZN is finally taking motor sport seriously!

Alcohol Killer's Jim Mcfarlane holding it flat out.

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The SupaDrift Series, South Africa's first National Championship

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Wade van Zummerren dialling in some serious angle.

The series held its sixth installment at Oslo Beach on Saturday, 17 August 2013. The event expected to showcase the skills of 47 drivers, however the fast-paced, vicious nature of the course and high-speed entry resulted in many failing to qualify. The event saw only 27 drivers going head-to-head for points towards the championship title. Shortly after the morning sun rose gracefully above the horizon and showered the hillside track with beautiful golden rays of sunshine, the practice session got underway. The practice session saw drivers hit some serious angles at very high speeds, expelling plumes of smoke from the rear wheels, which immediately gave spectators a taste of the high-octane, adrenalin-pumping, and action-filled day ahead.

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A few of the drivers and their teams fought hard to get their cars ready for the event. KZN Morné Venter suffered a blow to his turbo and after sourcing bearings and other parts to repair the damaged turbo, he made it into the qualifying round by the skin of his teeth. This setback didn’t seem to faze 'The Hooligan', as he tore up the tarmac in a rage indicative of his Skyline’s raw power and aggression. A similar fate was experienced by that of SnS Army’s Sean February and Gianni Crowster.


The qualifying round was an intense as ever and drivers drove hard to clinch the pole position. Michael Radloff, in his TFMpowered Nissan 200sx, fought hard to tie against Jason Webb, in his monster-clad Nissan 200sx, who had entered the event on the flipside of three consecutive wins. Ultimately, in these qualifying rounds, the current championship leader, Webb, took top points, while Clare Vale secured her maiden SupaDrift Series qualifying entry for the season.

Gianni Crowster took top spot in the Silver Cup, followed by Tony Jardine and Joey Govender. The Silver Cup gives those drivers who fail to make the qualifying round, another crack at the circuit. The top 16 round saw drivers battle it out in tandem drifts, which kept the crowd screaming for more. This round also saw quite a few OMT (One-More-Time), which resulted in a re-run between the respective drivers. Some of the most intense battles were those of Jim McFarlane against Jean Mare, Paulo Gaouveia against Dezzi Racing’s Shane Gutzeit, as well as SnS Army’s Wade van Zummeren against Falken Tyres’ Rudi van den Berg, and not forgetting the extreme dual between Sean February and Morné Venter, which saw Venter progress to the next round.

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After an extreme top 16 round, the top eight drivers advanced to the next round. This round started off with a bang, with Jason Webb against Max My Ride’s Tim Stephens, and Wade van Zummeren against Jim McFarlane. Jason Webb showed why he is number one in the series by taking the win in his battle. Wade and Jim had an OMT called and after a door-to-door run, Wade van Zummeren clinched the win. These runs were followed by the next grouping of Morné Venter against Mike Radloff, and Rockford Fosgate’s Mikey Skelton against Shane Gutzeit. These duals both saw OMTs called and they were forced to battle it out again. After an intense battle between the duos, both Radloff and Gutzeit took the wins to enter the semi-finals. The first semi-final played host to Jason Webb against Wade Zummeren, with Webb ultimately taking the win after one of the closest battles of the day! The second semi final witnessed Mike Radloff and Shane Gutzeit go head-tohead for a spot in the final. There were some aggressive angles and lines dialed in from both drivers, but ultimately the win went to Shane Gutzeit!

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As the winter’s sun kissed the day goodbye and began dipping over the Marburg hills, the finals kicked in. The atmosphere was electric, as the fans anticipated the most extreme battle of the day. An announcement was made early in the final leg that Wade van Zummeren had unfortunately retired with turbo issues, handing third place to Radloff, who had performed a solid solo run to officially claim the third spot. The finals saw Jason Webb taking on Shane Gutzeit, however Shane spun out midway through the first run, handing over victory to a calm, yet aggressive Jason Webb, who clinched the number one spot for the fourth consecutive time in this year’s championship! "With just two events left in the series, it looks like Jason Webb is a strong contender as SA’s first National Drift Champion, with more than a 100 point's lead. We’re incredibly proud to be the title sponsor of this inaugural National Championship, which is becoming increasingly popular with each event," said series sponsor George Mienie, Auto Trader’s managing director. Points going in to the second-to-last round of the series are as follows: 1) Jason Webb – 555; 2) Mike Radloff – 427; 3) Shane Gutzeit - 412; 4) Wade van Zummeren – 409. The second-to-last round of the Auto Trader SupaDrift Series is set to take place on 28 September, in Mafikeng at the Mmabatho Stadium parking lot. So diarise this date now and enjoy all the fun and action that is the SupaDrift Series. •


SupaDrift fast facts • The SupaDrift Series was founded in 2009 by XS Promotions, organisers and commercial rights holders of the national championship franchise.

• The Auto Trader SupaDrift Series is the only Motorsport South African endorsed national championship in the country. This is the first year that a national champion will be crowned. • Drifting involves the intentional oversteering of cars, which causes a loss of traction in the rear wheels. Drivers must maintain control from entry to exit of a corner, with the intention of gaining style points from judges and spectators. Points are determined by style, drift angle, tyre smoke, and noise maintained around a fixed course. • Autotrader.co.za is the presenting sponsor of the 2013 SupaDrift Series, and has been for the past four years. Other sponsors include Chevrolet, Achilles Tyres, Turn 1 Wheels, Speed and Sound Magazine, Liqui Moly, Red Bull Energy Drink, and We All Ride Clothing. For results and more information on the SupaDrift Series, visit www.supadrift.co.za

Jim McFarlane going sidewayz in his Nissan 350z.

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Limited Stock Available


MOTORING

Words: Francois Steyn | Photos: Francois Steyn & Volvo SA

REVIEW

The new Volvo V40 T4 petrol versus D2 diesel Early in 2012, the Scandinavian carmaker represented by its ‘male sign’ trademark, launched a new competitor in the middle of nowhere. I’m not saying Geneva (where the press first saw the new Volvo V40) is in the middle of nowhere. I mean this ‘premium hatchback’ was launched into a segment of the market that is hard to define.

It seems much longer than the old C30, so at first glance it looks like something between a hatch and a station wagon. But it has almost the same wheelbase length as the VW Golf and is only 10 cm longer. It also has four doors, so five adults will fit in, but due to the slanting rear roofline, my expanding hairdo kept getting messed up against the roof lining. The overall shape of the V40 hints at ample boot space, but our fold-up pram only just made it inside (with some clever Tetris skills needed at that). Where it does work well is from any angle, as a spectator and even more so as a driver behind the wheel of the T4 Powershift turbo-petrol.

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The new Volvo V40 T4 petrol versus D2 diesel

Performance With 132 kW at a racy 5,700 r/min from only 1,596 cc and 240 Nm torque in a super-wide range (1,600 – 5,000 r/min), you never feel left behind. When I last compared a petrol Volvo with a diesel Volvo (the V60 T3 vs. D3), the petrol version made for a relaxed drive compared to the heaps of torque from the manual diesel. This time round, the contest was hardly fair because after a week in the ‘drive-me-hard-please’ T4, I got into the lazy D2. Not exactly D for Donkey, it still delivers 84 kW at 3,600 r/min and a T4 beating 270 Nm between 1,750 and 2,500 r/min, but you cannot compare the experience. In the T4, I felt like auditing the claimed 8.5 seconds 0 – 100 km/h acceleration time at every opportunity and, as a result, did not get close to the claimed, mixed-driving fuel consumption figure of 6.1 l/100 km. The lower specified D2 (Essential), on the other hand, did everything I asked of it, but no more. The claimed acceleration time of 11.9 seconds seems fair, but you’d have to blow ever so softly on the ‘go’ pedal to achieve the claimed mixed-fuel consumption figure of 3.4 l/100 km.

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REVIEW

Design your own I cannot fault the V40 on looks and, judged by the amount of stares I received, so can’t a lot of others. Inside, the amount of customisation is limited only by your sense of style and health of your bank balance. I don’t know the proper name of the colour, but the interior of the T4 was a mix between blue leather and light brown.

There is more than a dozen different wheel sets and you can choose your gear knob, steering wheel, and a range of fancy safety features. The fully graphic instrument panel has three selectable themes: ECO shows a blue analogue-type speedo, with a bar-type rev-counter to the right and an eco-guide that shows how frugal you’re driving to the left. The ELEGANCE theme shows a brown speedo in the middle, with the same bar tacho to the right and the engine temperature to the left. The one I liked most was the all red PERFORMANCE, with a large rev-counter and its yellow needle in the middle, temperature to the left, and a power indicator to the right. The latter shows current power available (depending on the gear and engine speed) and current power being applied. You can also see the average and current fuel consumption, as well as range left and trip data, in all three themes.

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The new Volvo V40 T4 petrol versus D2 diesel

Custom interior On the display above the centre air vents, you can further adjust a plethora of important and less important stuff. For instance, you can deactivate certain safety features, such as traction control (called DSTC) and City Safety, or you can select the colour and intensity of the ambient lighting inside. On the menu are around ten hues to choose from, from porno purple to dentist chair white (please note: they do have better-sounding official names). A nice feature is the sensitivity of the audio system’s volume compensation that can be set at either low, medium or high. This function adjusts the radio automatically when you accelerate to compensate for the increased road and wind noise. Apart from being able to set the sound’s bass and treble, there’s a five-band equaliser to fine tune John Mathem’s voice on the afternoon drive.

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REVIEW

Yes, but is it safe? Volvo is synonymous with safety, so yes, it is a safe car. Rather than explaining what each one of the standard features does, I’ll list the acronyms and explain a friend’s findings of the City Safety feature, which is standard on all V40, as follows: •  DTSC with ASC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) with (Advanced Stability Control) •  CTC (Corner Traction Control) •  EDC (Engine Drag Control) •  ABS with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist) •  RAB (Ready Alert Brakes) • AHB (Active High Beam) •  ABL (Active Bending Lights) Then there’s a bunch of airbags, an inflatable curtain, Whiplash Protection System, Side Impact Protection System, and collapsible steering column. “So,” I hear you say, “if you must collide with a Volvo V40, make sure you’re inside?” Not quite. If a V40, with an optional pedestrian airbag, runs you over, the shock will be absorbed in part by the bonnet that is disconnected at the rear end and lifted along with the outside airbag itself.

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REVIEW

City Safety test

Conclusion

This system is supposed to detect when the car in front of you suddenly slows down or unexpectedly comes to a halt. If you do not brake in time, it will do so automatically when you’re travelling below 50 km/h. I was scratching my head, thinking of a way to test this feature without annoying Volvo by damaging the test car, when a friend of mine told me how his wife tested the system in their car. She was driving in peak traffic, looking every which way except at the road in front of her, when the car suddenly screeched to a complete stop. When she had caught her breath and looked ahead of her, she saw the two cars in front of her had suddenly stopped without warning. Right at that moment, the decision to purchase a Volvo instead of a VW Vivo (which they also considered) was ratified.

If you want a safe car that will turn heads in traffic (and protect you when you turn yours), the V40 is right in the money. But, if you have kids and want a car to go on holiday with, go for something bigger. The prices are

hard to compare due to the different specification levels, but it can be compared to the upper end of the VW Golf range and lower end of the BMW 1-series range. •

Volvo V40 T4 Powershift

Volvo V40 D2

Engine

1,596

1,560

Power

132 (5,700 r/min)

84 (3,600 r/min)

Torque

240 (1,600 – 5,000 r/min)

270 (1,750 – 2,500 r/min)

Claimed fuel consumption (l/100 km)

6,1

3,4

Claimed acceleration (0 - 100 km/h)

8.5 sec

11.9 sec

Fuel tank capacity (litres)

62.0

52

Standard service plan (years / km)

5 / 100,000

5 / 100,000

Price (Essential)

N/a

R288,800

Price (Excel)

R339,600

R307,300

Price (Elite)

R353,700

R321,500

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WATER SPORTS

Words: Andy Davis ǀ Photos: Greg Ewing

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It’s funny that many South African surfers don’t know much about the island of Réunion. This volcanic outcropping collects most of the swell that pushes up into the Indian Ocean from the Antarctic. The waves are incredible, the water is clean, warm, and tropical, the women are both attractive and friendly, and it’s the closest first-world country to South Africa in the sense that the island is a French 'department', much like Tahiti. It also offers some of the finest tropical surf real estate on the planet. Hossegor is nice, but it’s not Saint-Leu or Teahupo’o; the French know what’s important.

Thing is, despite its proximity to us, you don’t bump into a lot of South Africans on Réunion. But everyone on the island knows at least one Saffa, and his name is Davy Stolk. We were staying at a place called the Big Bird Lodge, which is directly opposite the hallowed curl of Saint-Leu, the epicentre of Réunion’s surfing universe. It’s surfing quality in the same mould as G-Land and Uluwatu. The wave dominates the town. There’s a whole network of legends, kooks (novice surfers), and freaks orbiting this perfectly shaped reef. Their sole purpose, it would seem, is just to ride it and live out the rest of their laid-back lives on its fringes. It’s that good. The village has distinctive Catholic and Creole influences and plods along at a chilled island pace, but you can get whatever you want on the main drag, from chemists to supermarkets and an assortment of restaurants and cafes. Most importantly, you can drink coffee and eat fresh croissants each morning as you check the surf.

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Surf's up in SaintLeu

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Out of the water everyone is friendly and accommodating, sharing knowledge and retelling tales of glory and misfortune. They buy you drinks, invite you to parties, and introduce you to their sisters. But the water washes all that away. There’s a strict hierarchy in the Saint-Leu line-up: legends, locals, almost-locals, actual hard men, pseudo-hard men, wahines (the gals), travellers, groms (young surfers), and kooks. When it’s firing, it can have 50 people paddling all over it. Other times it will be cranking with only a handful. The crowd ebbs and flows like the tide. You have to pick your moment, watch, and strike when you see it’s on.

At the moment, the whole island is on a bit of a surfing lockdown because of a few shark attacks. Well, five fatalities in two years are enough to put everyone on edge. It's done wonders for thinning out the crowd, but has added a few heaped spoonfuls of paranoia and fear to the idea of surfing on the island. But really, as I said before, you just need to pick your moments. Because surfing Saint-Leu is such an incredible experience, you take off at the top and it’s a racy left. You can get two, maybe three turns in before it suddenly starts to bend around the reef and jack at the same time. Suddenly you do a turn and it’s like dropping in on a wave twice the size as the one you’ve been surfing, as it swings and bowls around a 90-degree corner and just unloads over lurking coral. There are good barrels, but it’s not a tube machine. Saint-Leu is about smashing the lip, as hard as you can, and its unique bowl actually pushes you from one turn into the next, going faster each time. Tube or turn, it’ll make you scream. You’ll also scream a little every time you have to clean your wounds.

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After a few weeks in this place I can’t remember how long I’ve been here. All my clothes are dirty, so I just wear the same boardies I surf in. At least they get washed once, maybe twice a day in the sea. You can’t fathom wearing jeans or closed shoes ever again.

The daily ritual of waking up and looking at the surf and walking down to the café for coffee and croissants has become habitual. Waves and sessions meld into one long tropical memory. As do meals, beers, and the people you share them with. You begin to feel at home. Accustomed. You look forward to the post-surf baguette and café lunchtime ritual. The things that were once new and strange have become comfortable. And then it's time to go home. •

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Travel tips If you are considering a surfing trip to Réunion, here are some tips: • No vaccinations are needed to enter Réunion.

• SA passport holders no longer need to apply for a visa, making things a lot easier. • Recommended accommodation is the Dodo Spot in Saint-Leu. • If you want to eat and drink in restaurants, compared to South Africa, prices vary from average too expensive, but it’s really up to you on how much and how fancy you want to go. • The best wave is Saint-Leu, but there are many other surfing spots on the island to explore. Just remember to respect the locals when surfing and you won't have any issues getting waves. The best board is the regular shortboard. • The local currency is Euros, so it’s not cheap, but I also wouldn’t say it's expensive. • The easiest way to get around is by hiring a car. • When the surf is small, consider a day trip to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano and spectacular waterfall of Trou de Fer. • The best time of year to go surfing is from May to August. • When in the water, keep an eye out for sharks, as there have been a few shark attacks recently. Use your common sense and don’t surf early in the morning or in the evening, and judge if it is safe by the local surfers.

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F e atu r i n g

T e chn o b u t ter

N O W L I G H T E R , W A R M E R AND M O R E F L E X I B L E T HAN EVER

HOW DO YOU MAKE THE world’s leading wetsuit even better ?


WATER SPORTS

Words: Steven Rhodes | Photos: Natasha Smith

Mauritius Freeride Challenge The 2013 Mauritius Freeride Challenge, from 3 to 11 August, brought back an old concept of mixing up professional and amateur windsurfers in a team racing format. 

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As South Africa currently had no professionals competing on the PWA World Tour,we weren’t terribly familiar or confident with this type of racing. The Freeride Challenge also featured just one week before the World Cup event in Turkey, so current SA National Champion, Mitch Wagstaff, thought he’d use the time to prepare himself for his first appearance in a World Cup event. So, on Thursday, 1 August, 2013, a team of four from Cape Town left the rain and flooding behind and departed for Mauritius’ first international windsurfing contest in many years.

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Taking the 2 p.m. flight, we arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner, drinks, and a toast to the weekend. Friday morning we hit the buffet breakfast and fuelled up for the day. We were staying in the southeast corner of the island at Le Preskil Beach Resort, near the town of Mahebourg. The hotel manager came round to introduce himself and welcome us to what was looking to be a fantastic week of windsurfing. We took a quick tour of the hotel, but with the wind already blowing a solid 15-20 knots, we were all thinking the same thing … The Pointe d’Esny Yacht Club is just 100 m up the road from Le Preskil. It is normally closed to the public, but the contest organisers had made arrangements for us to sail there all week. At high tide, you can sail all around the hotel, while at low tide, the best place was from the club. Being winter back home and the day before the event, we sailed all day to break our bodies in. That night at the ‘meet and greet’, the hotel treated us tourist windsurfers to some cocktails and snacks. We discovered we’d be sailing against Australian and French riders from the Pro World Tour, not to mention a Mauritian fleet of more than 30 riders. Later that night, three more of our mates from Johannesburg finally landed, but the night was cut short due to the first day's racing starting early the next day.


Malibu Classic 1

On Saturday morning we hit breakfast as soon as it opened and by 7.30 a.m. we were already on the road for the hour-long trip to Le Morne. Situated in the south-west corner, this world famous wave spot gets the most wind on the island. At registration and the skippers' briefing, the structure of the event was explained to us in a mix of French and English. Basically, we would race in four big challenges over the course of the week. Today we would race the Malibu Classic in the narrow lagoon of Le Morne.

With the wind a cracking 28-32 knots, competitors pulled out their smallest sails. Mauritius doesn’t usually blow that strong, but with contest rules limiting the arms race to two boards/ two sails, none of us had brought small kit. Things were further complicated by a running Le Mans start off the narrow beach, a tight figure-eight course, and waves breaking over the reef around the outside buoy. We knew this was going to be a tough day, but at least everyone had the same problem. There was more than 40 riders taking part this year, the organisers knocked out two full eliminations over eight races in total. The Mauritians quickly showed how strong they were this year, with local champ Julien Maurel ousting SA’s National Champion, Mitch Wagstaff, and pro-rider Sean O’Brien from Australia. This had the locals all hyped up for the final race of the day, but ultimately French pro-rider Antoine Questel demonstrated his power and control in the testing conditions to claim victory.

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Phoenix Crossing The second event of the Mauritius Freeride Challenge was the Phoenix Crossing; a gruelling 40 km race from Le Preskil Beach Resort to Île aux Cerfs, 20 km to the north. Crossing the vast lagoon was thought to be the toughest challenge of the contest; navigating the unknown number of coral banks and channels, big changes in wind pressure, standing on one leg for 20 minutes, and then turning around and coming back on the other leg. But as we discovered, this was definitely the gem of the contest. Forty-plus windsurfers and kitesurfers lined up as a motor boat screamed down the start line to signal the start of the race. Riders tore down the course in teams of two, heading for the first and only gybe buoy at Île aux Cerfs. Near tragedy struck the Australian team as O’Brien broke his universal joint 10 km into the race. Fortunately, the design of the joint prevented the mast from punching a hole through his board and allowed him to continue the race without sustaining any damage. At this stage, the wind had picked up to around 20-25 knots, putting a lot of stress on the guys who gambled on a bigger sail … pretty much the whole fleet.

At the halfway mark, Questel led the way, followed by Maurel and SA’s Mitch Wagstaff. But as the reach had become broader on the way down, the real challenge now was the long beat back home. A smarter selection of fin size allowed SA’s Pete Lumley and the two Australians to catch up to the front runners. After an hour's sailing, the top ten riders were all within a minute of each other, but as the team result was determined by the second rider, all eyes were on the 'slower' teammate, to see who pulled in first. In a nail-biting finish, local knowledge seemed to win the day as the Mauritian A and B teams poached the top two spots. A relieved Australian team finished third, followed closely by the South Africans.

2

With a good wind forecast for the rest of the week, the organisers gave us the Monday off to explore the island.

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EKIP Speed Challenge Tuesday saw everyone return to Le Preskil for the EKIP Speed Challenge. This was basically a ten-minute version of the Phoenix Crossing, with a giant downwind slalom course finishing at the hotel. The race took us on a course around Île aux Aigrettes, the island just off the coast and home to giant tortoises.

3

This should have been a fairly easy day for most people, but with the wind varying between 15-25 knots and the course set very broad, this proved to be a game-changing point in the contest. In the difficult conditions, local champ Maurel struggled to find speed in the lighter patches. This allowed variable-condition specialists like Lumley and O’Brien to storm to the front of the fleet. Both looked very dangerous on the day, but Questel and Leclézio just managed to keep them from line honours. The current world women number two, Delphine Cousin, also showed her strength by cracking a top-ten position.

With moderate wind conditions for Wednesday and Thursday, the organisers gave us another two days off to explore the island, but most of us just used the time to repair ourselves, enjoy the sun, and the rum.

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the Oxygen Cup 4

Friday kicked off the two-day Oxygen Cup and final challenge for the week. Another grand slalom course was set, starting at the shipwreck out on the reef, then navigating five gybes between Île aux Aigrettes and the beach, and finally finishing at Le Preskil. With the wind at just 15-18 knots, it looked like there could be a repeat of the previous day's racing. Questel’s challenge was also hampered as he broke his mast in race one. This left the door open for O’Brien to storm to victory in the first race. Despite being forced to use his smaller sail for the rest of the event, Questel demonstrated supreme skill and managed to pull off a win in race two. O’Brien made another solid race to finish second, while Leclézio and Maurel traded blows to see who would finish the top Mauritian.

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The racing continued on Saturday, with a change of venue and all riders heading to the Yacht Club. For the final day, the race director set a long, figure-eight course and five races to maximise the light but great conditions. The big performance of the day has to be the young Australian, Luke Baillie, for pulling off a win in the final race. However, a bad result on the previous day kept him at 6th. Fellow Australian Sean O’Brien finished 2nd in every race, in a great demonstration of consistency. SA’s Pete Lumley pushed the leaders in every race, but never quiet managed to crack a top-three position. This battle was mostly fought between the two Mauritians; Leclézio and Maurel. But unbelievably, the 100 kg French beast, Questel, again dominated all but the last race, despite being stuck on his smallest sail. That night, at the prize-giving, the hotel treated us to a fantastic buffet dinner, live music, and cocktails at their Tapas Beach Bar. Despite all the broken and sunburnt bodies, everyone was super anxious to find out the final team and individual classifications.


Final results Young Delphine Cousin, from France, did an excellent job to keep herself inside the top ten, but couldn’t quite take out the 21-year-old boys from SA and Australia. Luke got one over our local champ Mitch, but missed jumping the two veteran Mauritians, Tyack and Ulcoq, by one point. Just ahead of that pair was SA Master Pete Lumley and Aussie Sean O’Brien, with the wallaby again getting the better of the springbok. In a very close finish, Leclézio got the edge over the young Maurel. However, the class of the field went to France’s Antoine Questel, who dominated the fleet from the first to the last day.

5 6

In the team classification, the Maurel Leclézio proved unbeatable. However, the remaining teams were very closely matched, with just one point separating each of them, which I think highlights the fantastic nature of Pro-Am team racing.

With the sun set and smiles all round,we already can’t wait to come back next year and do it all again.And as Julien prepares to enter professional racing next season, and Mitch joins Sean, Luke, and Antoine in Turkey, we wish them all good luck when they next do battle.  For more information, visit www.windsurfingafrica.org

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1 Malibu Classic results: 1

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

2

MRU-1

Julien Maurel

3

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

4

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

5

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

6

RSA-1111

Mitch Wagstaff

7

RSA-1

Peter Lumley

8

MRU-4

Jean Francois Ulcoq

9

MRU-13

Loic Tostee

10

RSA-90

Nikolai Germann

1

Team Mauritius A

2

Team Mauritius B

3

Team Australia

4

Team South Africa A

5

Team France

results

2 The Phoenix Classic Results: MRU-1

Julien Maurel

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

MRU-4

Jean Francois Ulcoq

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

AUS-833

Luke Baillie

RSA-1111

Mitch Wagstaff

RSA-1

Peter Lumley

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

FRA-775

Delphine Cousin

3 AFTER TWO RACES, EPIK RESULTS: 1

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

2

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

3

RSA-1

Peter Lumley

4

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

5

MRU-4

Jean Francois Ulcoq

6

AUS-833

Luke Baillie

7

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

8

RSA-411

Steven Rhodes

9

RSA-1111

Mitch Wagstaff

10

FRA-775

Delphine Cousin

11

MRU-1

Julien Maurel

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4 Oxygen Cup Results: 1

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

2

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

3

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

4

MRU-1

Julien Maurel

5

RSA-1

Peter Lumley

6

AUS-833

Luke Baillie

7

FRA-775

Delphine Cousin

8

RSA-411

Steven Rhodes

9

RSA-1111

Mitch Wagstaff

10

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

5 Individual classification: 1

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

2

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

3

MRU-1

Julien Maurel

4

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

5

RSA-1

Peter Lumley

6

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

7

MRU-4

Jean Francois Ulcoq

8

AUS-833

Luke Baillie

9

RSA-1111

Mitch Wagstaff

10

FRA-775

Delphine Cousin

6 Team classification: 1

Team Mauritius A

2

Team France

3

Team Australia

4

Team Mauritius B

5

Team South Africa A

MRU-1

Julien Maurel

MRU-2

Fabrice Leclézio

FRA-99

Antoine Questel

FRA-775

Delphine Cousin

AUS-120

Sean O'Brien

AUS-833

Luke Baillie

MRU-3

Christopher Tyack

MRU-4

Jean Francois Ulcoq

RSA-1111 RSA-1

Mitch Wagstaff Peter Lumley

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WATER SPORTS

Words: Nelson Das Fontes | Photos: Frans Fourie | Video: Ico Schutte

Canoe polo

makes waves

When it comes to having fun on the water, few sports, in my humble opinion, match canoe polo.

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Canoe polo is a highly competitive water sport,

which sees players making a range of spectacular moves, rolling and wrestling for the ball, from their short, specially made kayaks. The result is a spray of action that is said to resemble super rugby on water.

A sport for all Canoe polo is a water sport that anyone can take up, as you compete according to your skill. So, if you are a novice wanting to acquire paddling skills or a frantic white-water paddler wanting to enhance your skills, then canoe polo will do all that and more. It’s also a great sport for self-confidence because the more skilled you become, the more confident you will be to battle for the ball and you’ll also start to take more risks. Moves such as the Eskimo roll won’t seem so difficult or scary as you become more accustomed to being under water and more composed when you realise just how much time you actually have. And if you weren’t fit before taking up this sport, you’ll be amazed at how fit you become and how much your upper-body strength improves. Self-confidence and fitness aside, what you ultimately learn from playing this sport is the skills to paddle virtually anything. And the superb social scene that goes with it is an added bonus.

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Global appeal Although little known in South Africa, canoe polo is played at an international level by more than 30 countries and draws a fanatical following across Europe. The first-ever Canoe Polo World Championship took place in 1994 and is now played every two years.

Game format It’s played between two teams, with five players in each team. The game is made up of two halves of ten minutes. Teams try to score as many goals as possible in their opponent’s goal, which is suspended 2 m above the water. Although the field is not very big, at 23 m wide by 35 m in length, the work out you get is phenomenal.

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D f Player safety Canoe polo is a full contact sport, so player’s safety is a high priority. To protect players from getting hurt, they wear protective gear, life jackets, and helmets. The game is also strictly controlled by the rules, and here are few of the basic rules: 1.  Players may only have the ball in their possession for a maximum of five seconds. 2.  A player in possession of the ball can be hand tackled, by being pushed over on the shoulder or back, and/or kayak tackled by an opposition member. 3.  There are many illegal uses of using the paddle, including any contact with an opponent. 4.  Any hard tackle that results in significant contact to the side of the kayak, at an angle between 80- and 100 degrees, is penalised.

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Come play Being a relatively new sport in South Africa, there are only a few venues where you can play. However, if there is a venue near you, I encourage you to go and have a look at what this exciting game is all about. •

For more information about canoe polo, visit www.canoeicf.com. Venues and contact details are as follows: Cape Town: Samantha Braid - sam.braid.22@gmail.com Knysna: Nelson Das Fontes - ndf@adept.co.za Durban: Kade Burnett - Kade.Burnett@derivco.com Pietermaritzburg: Kevin Meier - kevin.meier@umgeni.co.za Gauteng: Chad Andrews - chad@canoeconcepts.co.za


WATER SPORTS

Words: Paul Winter | Photos: Mark van Coller, Betty Nandi & Pure Apnea

Diving free Freediving in South Africa

Sophia van Coller.

Paul Winter takes a look at freediving in South Africa at the moment, and

chats to two divers who are going deeper and further underwater than ever before.

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Right now, the sport of freediving in South Africa is alive and kicking. Freediving, as you might know, involves diving and swimming underwater while holding your breath. The sport combines a love for being in the ocean (and swimming pools, freshwater lakes, and the like), with the physical and mental challenge of learning how to hold your breath for an extended period of time. Similar to swimming, freediving also involves learning how to move fluidly and efficiently in the water. With only one breath of air, freedivers need to be as economical as possible underwater. South Africans do tend to be a competitive bunch, and we tend to thrive on personal progress and success. If you combine this with the idea that freediving is also a competitive sport (Who can dive deeper under water? Further in a pool? Hold their breath for the longer?), then it’s obvious why more and more South African freedivers are pushing the limits of the sport and setting records.

Two of these divers are Sophia van Coller and John Daines. Sophia has just broken the SA women’s record in the ‘free immersion’ deep diving event, and John recently set a new SA record in the pool-based ‘dynamic with fins’ event. Both divers are from Cape Town. I chatted to them about their love of freediving, and what went into each of their records.

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Q & A with Sophia van Coller In the deep diving ‘free immersion’ category of freediving, the diver descends hand-over-hand down a dive line, collects a small depth tag on a bottom plate, and then pulls themselves back to the surface. Diving at the Red Sea’s ‘Blue Hole’, on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Sophia van Coller dove down to an incredible 53 metres for the record and returned to the surface, all on one breath of air. Q: Sophia, 53 metres is a long way down under the water! What goes through your mind during a dive like this? I find on this dive, my mind is very task orientated and it sticks to pretty much exactly what my body is doing at that moment. So I break my dive up into several steps and just stay in the moment and try not to worry about several steps ahead. That works really well for me. Q: Obviously, being able to hold your breath for a long time is critical to being a successful freediver, but what are the other challenges that freedivers face when diving deep like this? Yes, a good breath-hold goes a long way. But the two big challenges faced the deeper you go is firstly, to being able to equalise the increasing air pressure in your ear spaces, and secondly, allowing your body to adapt to the increased pressure. You also have to be in complete control of your mind, as stress and fear can derail even the best of freedivers. Q: The diving equipment required for your record is quite unique. You use a slick-skin wetsuit for efficient movement through the water. You also use a nose clip and specialised ‘fluid goggles’ that maximise equalising efficiency. Could you explain these a bit more? I dive mostly in my OrcaBreathe freedive suit, which is great for both depth and pool training. It’s very streamlined and its flexibility allows me to move easily.


Sophia van Coller.

Regular diving masks have an air space that is squeezed smaller and smaller by the pressure as you descend deeper underwater, and this needs to be equalised with air pressure, by blowing through your nose. In scuba diving, you have an unlimited supply of air for this, but you only have a little bit of air to work with while freediving. Fluid goggles are designed to be filled with water just before your dive, which means you don’t have to waste precious amounts of air equalising them. Special lenses fitted to the inside of the goggles enable you to ‘see’ underwater. I also wear a nose clip, which allows me to equalise without having to use my hands, which are needed to pull myself down the dive line. When you can trust your equipment 100%, it allows you to be much more relaxed and you can just focus on the dive. Q: Dahab’s ‘Blue Hole’ (Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt) is one of the finest places in the world to freedive. It’s deep, sheltered from currents and waves, and the water is always very clear. What makes the place so special for you? The Blue Hole is quite sheltered from the open sea by the coral and rarely has rough surface conditions. This makes it quite pleasant to do your preparation breatheups on the surface. It is surrounded by harsh desert landscape and everything seems lifeless until you enter the water, where you are greeted by brightly coloured fish and corals. The visibility is very good on most days and you get a real sense of freedom underwater.

Q: Where to from here? You can hold your breath for a lot longer and you have loads of ‘bottom time’. You can go deeper right? Yes, sure I feel this is just the beginning. I have plenty of bottom time, so I would like to explore depth a bit more. I will focus the rest of the year on pool training, fitness, and my family, and then next year I’ll continue further down this road. Q: Besides diving safely, which of course plays a huge part in all kinds of freediving and breath-hold activity (see below), what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start freediving? Try to team up with a group of experienced freedivers, who can be your safety buddies if you want to do pleasure dives. Try it out, and if you like it, do at least your Level 1 course, so that you can be confident in the water and also be someone else’s safety buddy. Make sure you have reliable equipment because a leaky mask or ill-fitting wetsuit can spoil any dive. Q: Dream freediving trip/destination? I would absolutely love to go dive Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas and if I’m lucky enough, do a course with World Champion Freediver William Trubridge. I would actually love to explore other parts in the Bahamas too, such as the deep walls of Eleuthera. I worked there years ago as a scuba instructor and would give anything to go back as a freediver. That is my ultimate dream.

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Q&A with John Daines In the pool-based freediving events, competitors set out to swim as far as possible underwater on one breath. At the 2013 SA Freediving Championships, held at Strand’s indoor pool in the Western Cape, John Daines set a new South African freediving record in the ‘dynamic with fins’ discipline. Using his monofin and a dolphin-kick swimming style, John ended up swimming an amazing 175 metres on one breath. Q: John, 175 metres on one breath is a long way! How long did this dive take you? This was my first competition in two years, so I was quite nervous and ended up almost sprinting through my performance. This isn't ideal, as slower, more relaxed dives usually result in better performances.I covered the 175 metres in 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Q: Obviously, freedivers try to relax and conserve as much oxygen as possible during their dives. But you also have to expend energy to swim for this length of time. What kind of training do you do to be able to swim distances like these? For me freediving is 80% mental and 20% physical. When I first started freediving, most of my training involved overcoming mental obstacles to relax and conserve energy. Through the years, my training has shifted from the mental to the physical and I now focus on technique and my ability to withstand hypoxia (low oxygen).

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Q: Freediving is often about staying very relaxed underwater, but you also have to focus on correct technique, dive times, and so on. What goes through your mind on a dive like this? During the actual dive, very little goes through my mind. I try to go into 'autopilot' mode. Thinking uses oxygen! Q: You had a carbon-fibre monofin, purpose-built freediving wetsuit, and a neck weight instead of a traditional weight belt? Please tell us a bit more about the equipment you used for this ‘dynamic’ dive? I used a fibreglass monofin, which is used by many competitive freedivers. Monofins are far more efficient that traditional bi-fins, but require good dolphin-kick technique. I had Coral Wetsuits in Cape Town make me a custom, very thin, smooth-skin wetsuit specifically designed for pool freediving. The streamlining achieved using this type of wetsuit helps considerably. Lastly, I wore a 6.5 kg neck weight, which levels out and streamlines my body position in the water, thereby reducing drag. Q: Apparently, you’ve actually dived even further (over 190 metres!) in training. Freediving wise, what are you going to be up to in the next few months and are we going to see more records? The next thing on my list is taking a shot at the South African DNF 'dynamic without fins' record. Q: What about the depth events? Does deep diving play a big part in your freediving? I love deep freediving, but unfortunately, we are limited in South Africa as far as depth training facilities go. The sea in South Africa is too rough and unpredictable for decent depth training. As a result, most South African freedivers are limited to training in freshwater quarries, the deepest being just over 40 m. At R115 per entry, the 40 m quarry is also extremely expensive! I have been lucky enough to be able to afford a few trips overseas to the Red Sea and Philippines where I have gained good depth freediving experience, but I still need a lot more to break the South African CWT depth record of 85 m held by Bevan Dewar. A couple of SA freedivers have managed to market themselves well enough to get sponsorship and train overseas. I guess I will need to do the same. Q: Besides diving safely, which of course plays a huge part in all kinds of freediving and breath-hold activity (see below), what advice would you give to anyone getting involved in freediving? Can anyone learn to hold their breath for an extended period of time? I recommend that they find a good freediving instructor and complete a beginner’s course. Almost anyone can freedive as long as they are in good health. The women's freediving world record holder is over 50 years old, so age is clearly not a hindrance.


Q: What do you think is going to be happening on the South African freediving scene in the next year or two? The South African freediving scene has been stagnant for over a decade, but the people who are currently involved are extremely passionate. I can only see freediving as a sport and recreational activity growing exponentially.

When Sophia and John aren’t breaking records, both divers look forward to spending time in the ocean and interacting with the Cape’s marine life and sea creatures.

John Daines.

“Cape Town is a recreational freediver's dream!”says John. “We

have seals, sharks, dolphins, fish, reefs, kelp forests, and funky swim throughs. At the moment, my favourite dive site is in the Oudekraal MPA, which has a small, friendly colony of seals that you can freedive with.” Sophia says her favourite fun freediving is playing with the seals (she says they make amazing dive buddies!) at Partridge Point, which is just south of Simon's Town. She also mentions the Venus Pools at Cape Point as a very special place to dive, due to the fish life and the fact that it’s a fantastic place for a day outing.

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Sophia van Coller.

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Freediving competition categories

There are two broad categories of competition freediving – the depth events and pool-based disciplines. Depth events:

• Free immersion (FIM): The athlete descends to depth and back up by pulling hand over hand on a vertical diving rope. • Constant weight (CWT): Constant weight involves diving to depth and back up with the aid of diving fins, but without pulling on the diving rope. • Constant weight no-fins (CNF): In this discipline, the athlete dives to depth and back up without the aid of diving fins and without pulling on the diving rope.

Pool events:

• Dynamic with fins (DYN): In this discipline, the athlete swims as far as possible underwater on one breath, with the aid of diving fins. These days, most athletes use a ‘monofin’ and dolphin-kick style. • Dynamic without fins (DNF): Here, the athlete swims as far as possible underwater, typically using a modified breaststroke swimming style, on one breath and without the aid of diving fins. • Static apnea (STA): This involves athletes holding their breath and lying face down in water for as long as possible. This discipline tests a freediver's breath-holding ability and is regarded as one of the most mentally challenging.

Safety first

Anyone can learn to freedive. But just like many ‘alternative’ adventure sports, freediving can be a deadly activity if done in the wrong way. The golden rules are to always dive with qualified and experienced freedivers (never freedive alone!) and from the beginning, seek out certified and experienced supervision and instruction. •

Find out more

There are a number of freediving instructors in South Africa who offer qualified tuition from Beginner to Advanced and Instructor level. Currently, the Pure Apnea freediving organisation is doing a lot to promote competitions and other freediving events around the country and abroad. To find out more about these events, visit www.pureapnea.com.

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WINTER SPORTS

Words: Dirk van den Berg ǀ Photos: Various Photographers Video: Albert van der Wat & Dirk van den Berg

Meriek back on the slopes after injuring her knee ligaments!

Snowboarding

in Les Deux

Alps

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Don't you just love that liberating feeling you get when you activate your ‘out of office’ reply: "…. I will be out of the office with no access to my cell or email …" Nod if you can relate? If you are like me, it really doesn’t matter where you are going or what you plan to do, as long as you can get out of the house, suburb, province, and heck, even out of the country! I had the pleasure of activating my out of office to go snowboarding in France with some friends - and there was no way my boss was getting hold of me there! Months of anticipation saw our once sporadic communication grow ever more frequent. Formal emails filled with mundane travel arrangements, visa applications, and payment details suddenly started to give way to excited WhatsApp chatter and Facebook comments. We were more psyched up than the blue-faced Scotsman in Braveheart! Before I knew what hit me, I was ordering champagne on a ridiculously large Airbus A380 and heading for Les Deux Alps, in France, for a week of snowboarding and fun! Our group consisted of an amusing mix of people. There were complete novices to the more advanced snowboarders and skiers, with the inevitable jokes and arguments from both sides regarding which discipline is best. I think we settled on the following: skiers go faster and snowboarders have more fun. We also had engineers, some young corporates, teenagers, and grandmothers, and then there was an ex-Tequila rep and Café Mexico's owner, who sold the most tequila in South Africa last year … hence a party really was unavoidable. We had heaps of snow, which meant excellent conditions, specifically deep, soft powder and the ability to have some serious off piste action. So, for the next week, we hit the slopes daily and partied nightly.

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Amazing view from the top might as well pose for a quick foto.


About the resort The name Les Deux Alpes translates to 'the two Alps' and refers to two glaciers on the mountain range in which the ski town resides. At 3,600 metres above sea level, the two glaciers are high enough and cold enough to support snow throughout the year. This makes the resort unique in that it is possible to ski all year round. The town itself is much lower, at a more manageable height of 1,300 metres above sea level, roughly the altitude of Pretoria. Well known as having an exceptionally good après-ski (after ski party), there's an abundance of bars, clubs, and lively restaurants scattered all over the resort.

PJ cruising down a nice long slope.

The resort has quite a few interesting accolades to its name. It offers 100 runs, which convert to approximately 220 km of marked pistes, a 2,300 metre height differential from top to bottom, 51 ski lifts of various shapes and sizes, and 214 snow cannons to add a bit of snow in the lower sections when the temperature starts to creep up at the end of the season. It also has one of the most modern lift systems in Europe, the highest funicular (underground train) in the world, and the fastest gondola in the world. The views are spectacular, especially from the glaciers, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it will blow your mind! So do take your camera with you. Just remember to keep it warm, as lithium ion batteries have a tendency to freeze rather easily when exposed to those cold temperatures. Then there is the snow park. This truly is the playground on the slopes and the best thing is that there are two of them. On the one side you have your normal small to medium jumps, fun boxes, rails, and a half-pipe for novice to intermediate riders who just want to have fun or practise their jumps. The second snow park is for the really advanced guys and gals. It has jawdropping jumps that give those who attempt it a ridiculous amount of air time and are the type of jumps you see at the X Games. It's all inspiring to see people land those insane jumps and going down those jumps can only result in either indescribable glory or pain.

One thing worth mentioning is the fact that the resort is really well run. www.doitnow.co.za • 145


3 4

5

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1 2 FROM LEFT TO RIGHT 1. Cloud cover spoiling your view? No problem, just go higher. 2. Epic Go Pro shot from Albert’s home-made helmet bracket. 3. Local attractions. 4. Breathtaking view from the top of one of the glaciers. 5. The Polar Bear Pup – one of many, and the perfect places, to celebrate a full day on the slopes.

They have thought of everything and even offer a world-class app for your smartphone that will locate you on the slopes and provide you with all the relevant information on piste layouts, restaurants, bars, ski lifts, weather, webcams, and more. Lastly, the resort offers a giant inflatable stunt cushion at the end of a steep ramp that enables you to practise those big-air tricks. It provided us with our fair share of exhilaration and laughter, as we watched each other attempt the big jumps. There were some funny screams and utterances that I can’t mention here, but then again we can always just replay the video evidence J. Perhaps the funniest scene was the ramp operator who walked up to a member of our groups, who had just wiped out in spectacular fashion on the ramp itself, and gave him his money back after stating that that was the most remarkable fail of the season. He was asked not to try again. So if you have an insatiable affliction for the white stuff, this would be a brilliant destination to visit. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, check out the video from last year when Dirk and friends went to another resort in France called Tignes. If this video does not convince you to go, then nothing will. If you feel it’s time to tick a ski holiday off your bucket list, Dirk recommends visiting the following websites: www.ctheworld.co.za/ski, www.winter.les2alpes.com/webcams-2-alps.html

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Useful tips • Never been on a skiing/snowboarding holiday before? Here are a few things to consider.

• It’s really not that expensive. Just save a bit every month throughout the year and choose a good value-for-money travel agent like Ctheworld.co.za. I have been on two trips with them and can really recommend them from a price and service level point of view. • You need to be fit! I know this is probably stating the obvious, but trust me on this one. Train in advance, but know that you will still be sore, stiff, and tired because there is no real training that can simulate your exact movements when skiing or snowboarding. Being fit will, however, help speed up your recovery time, increase your stamina, and ultimately add to your experience as a whole. • Attend a ski school at the resort if you have never been on the snow before. You will learn the correct techniques and how to shorten your learning curve, so that by the end of the week you will be able to ski or snowboard with confidence. You could attend one or two classes in South Africa before going, but that is rather expensive compared to the instruction time you can receive for the same amount of money at the resort’s ski school. • Go with a fun crowd and bring the best positive attitude that you can muster! Know that you are going to fall numerous times a day, guaranteed, but that laughter is the best medicine. Just get up and do it again. So get your mind-set right from the beginning. • Ensure that you have proper travel and ski insurance! My girlfriend injured her knee on the slopes and was it not for the insurance, my credit card would have taken a serious beating. Plus we got to upgrade her ticket to business class on the return flight, to enable her to keep her leg straight. Insurance is a must. • Remember the medical aid kit. Start with the basics: vitamins, pain killers, anti-inflammatory, generic antibiotics, flu medication, something for a runny tummy, and of course the essentials to help with those post-party hangovers. You paid a lot for this trip, so you don’t want to waste one single day feeling sick or sore. • Capture every possible moment on film. If you can, get a robust action camera, like a GoPro camera, so that you don’t have to worry about keeping it dry. You also get added peace of mind that it can take the beating of a hard fall. And of course there is nothing better than capturing the moment when someone wipes out on the slope! Replay it in slow motion and laugh out loud. • Sunscreen. In the immortal words of Baz Luhrmann, "Trusts me on the sunscreen." Unless you want to end up with a distinctive racoon tan? You will definitely need a good product for your lips as well. • Consider planning your trip at the end of a ski season. The advantages are that it will be cheaper and less crowded, you will have more sunlight during the day, and the weather will be more forgiving. Plus you will find that there are always worthwhile end-of-season sales at the ski shops. • Lastly, remember to have fun! •

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Imagine being trapped in a snow globe‌ this is what it must look like.

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Q


WINTER SPORTS

Words & Photos: Kevin Sawyer | Video: DO IT NOW Media

Lions, elephants, and zebras are usually some of the first things you think of when thinking of Africa, but now you can add snow skiing to the list that makes this continent so incredible and diverse.

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Afriski Mountain Resort, in Lesotho, is yet another of Africa’s hidden secrets and gems and boasts a slope that’s over a kilometre long and an aprÉs ski environment that will give many international snow-skiing destinations a run for their money. And the

journey to the resort, with its breathtaking scenery, makes the drive through the passes an experience in itself.

I had the opportunity to visit this winter wonderland over the weekend of 4 August 2013, to take in the action at the 10th edition of the Quiksnow SA National Snowboard Champs. Although conditions were dry and the landscape baron with very little snow fall for the season, visitors were pleasantly surprised by the great work the guys from the resort had done with the slopes. Arriving at the resort, we were warmly welcomed by Afriski's friendly staff and shown to our chalet, which was fully equipped to help keep out the cold that accompanies the high altitude of the Maluti Mountain. The view of the mountains was magnificent and you couldn't find a more perfect destination for adventures and thrillseekers alike, as they offer a number of diverse activities such as skiing, snowboarding, bumboarding, ski and snowboard training, off-road riding, and off-road 4x4 trails. The peace and solitude also make it ideal for anyone wanting a break from the rat race.

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Held at Afriski’s Kapoko Snow Park, which runs parallel to the internationally-acclaimed Afriski Mountain Resort’s snow slope, there were more than 60 competitors participating in the four categories. These included the Men's Slopestyle, Ladies Slopestyle, Junior Slopestyle, and Freestyle Skiing. Slopestyle is the newest and most popular of the snowboarding disciplines and sees freestyle snowboarders performing tricks in the air, as well as on rails and boxes. There is no clock and competitors are awarded points for style and the difficulty of their run. This snowboard discipline is set to make its first Olympic debut at the Sochi Winter Games in Russia early in 2014.

Top South African and international freestyle snowboarders and skiers were duly put to the test with intimidating rails, boxes, kickers, and ‘big air’ jumps.

And although the challenging course lent itself to an entertaining event, competitors did not disappoint with huge air and gnarly tricks, wowing the captivated crowds.

Head Judge, Iztok Summatic, was thoroughly impressed with the calibre of this year’s athletic performances, saying, "The competitors at this year’s Quiksnow seriously brought the heat. We saw some epic air tricks and manoeuvre that provided some rad entertainment for the crowds over the weekend. A big thanks to all the competitors and sponsors for making this event possible."

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Hillcrest-based Luke Dutton nailed a double whammy when he secured the top podium spot in the Men’s Pro division and Junior Boy’s division, while Dean

Stephenson took home the Amateur Men’s crown.

The Women’s Open division was won by the favourite, Marta Jeckot, while fourteen-yearold Abi O’Donnel impressed the judges with skills far beyond her age to earn herself the top spot in the Junior Girl’s division.   This year's event saw the inclusion of the Nixon Winner Takes All competition, South African skier Bradley Stephenson, with his boned out maneuver, took home an R11,000 watch. The freestyle skiing competition also drew a lot of action amongst an impressive mix of South African and international skiers, but in the end it was fourteen-year-old USA skier, Alex Hall, who claimed first place.   A new dimension of entertainment was also added to the mix, with Jack Parrow and Durban-based band, City Bowl Mizers, keeping competitors and spectators in the Gondola Café and rocking out until all hours of the morning.   Quiksilver Marketing Manager, Dane Patterson, was extremely impressed with the event, "As always, Afriski has put on an awesome competition. We couldn’t have asked for a better final Quiksnow."   Quiksnow SA National Snowboard Champs is proudly sponsored by Quiksilver and hosted by Afriski in association with SnowSports SA, the Winter Sports Federation responsible for competitive snowboarding in South Africa. Other sponsors include Red Bull, Skullcandy, and Nixon. • More information on the resort can be found at www.afriski.net.

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HEALTH & FITNESS

Words: Andrea Kellerman, Educational and Sport Psychologist

Perform

better by reducing stress levels

Are you an athlete that has an 8-5 job, a family to take care of, and you still need to find time in your busy day to train?

If your answer is yes, chances are you're probably feeling stretched to the limits and guilty about not having enough time for everyone and everything. So how do you find a balance and fit everything in when there just never seems to be enough hours in a day? Here are some helpful hints and tips on how to reduce your stress levels, which will leave you feeling calmer, happier, and more positive.

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St r e s s c a u s e s

l increased cortiso one) (our 'stress' horm els and adrenalin lev ody. in the brain and b

'tunnelThis can result in atterns vision' thought p nd serves and reactions, a arning to hinder good le king. and decision-ma

Feeling stressed also decreases the production of serotonin (our 'happy' hormone), which together with high cortisol levels and depleted adrenal glands can lead to symptoms of burnout. When we are stressed and feel that everything is too much for us, we create negative thought patterns and self-talk. Negative thoughts tend to decrease our self-esteem and don’t allow us to feel that we are coping and able to succeed in achieving our goals. Therefore, it is very important to be in tune with our body and mind, and to achieve this, there are a number of factors to be aware of.

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Sleep

Nutrition

Ensure that you sleep enough. Western research shows that we need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Athletes, executives, and students need more than less sleep because their bodies and brains work hard every day. To get the most out of your sleep, make sure that your room is dark, there are no noises to disturb you, and the room temperature is not too warm. It is important to switch your cell phone and computer/laptop off after 8 p.m., so that your brain can cycle down and is ready to switch off when you go to sleep. Also, make sure that you don't watch violent or too exciting movies before going to bed, as the last pictures, feelings, and words we see and experience in the evening are the first that are worked through in our dreams. If a movie disturbs us, we generally will not have a restful and relaxing night’s sleep.

When we are stressed and feel that we need more energy, we usually tend to look for something that gives us a boost. Sugary and fatty foods give us that boost, but they also spike our insulin/ blood sugar levels. Highly sugary foods tend to pass quickly through our bloodstream, leaving us feeling low in energy after a short period. When our blood sugar is low, we feel irritated, have no energy, and tend to develop headaches easier. Therefore, it is important to eat small, low GI meals regularly to keep our energy levels up and running, and it will help you to work longer, study better, and concentrate more.

Hydration Being hydrated is so important. The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%, so it is imperative to replenish our water balance regularly.

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Time management The older we get, the less time we seem have. All too often, we are involved in too many things that we need to do every day and can't find the time to finish everything. So what you need to do here is only plan for 60% of the time in your day, as we need the other 40% for the unforeseen. Make a list of what you need to do every day, prioritise those activities, and try to stick to it. It is such an incredible feeling to be able to tick off what you have achieved in the day, thus boosting your self-esteem and ultimately allowing you to feel in control and calmer.

Combat anxiety Monitor your breathing techniques to stay calm and focus on positive thoughts and outcomes every day. We often tend to focus on negative events more than on positive events, which might stop us from breathing regularly and deeply. Be aware of what is positive in the day and think about it in the evening. You will be surprised at how many positive things you are able to think of.

Keep a good balance Keeping a good balance in life seems to be the most difficult thing to achieve. So make sure that you are motivated, know what your goals are, be aware of how much time you spend on everything during the day and or week, and allocate time accordingly, get sleep enough, eat and drink healthily, exercise regularly, and have some free/fun time. Being out of balance often means that we overindulge, self-medicate, get sick quicker, feel deprived, and can't stick to our plans.

To live a more balanced life, what it all comes down to is being realistic about what you can do in a day. Plan your day, prioritise the activities, and try not to deviate or get side tracked once you have set your plan of action. •

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If you need htehlpe with f inding e right balanc it in your life, vis n’s website Andrea Kellerma dge.co.za www.eq-advante out this to learn more ab topic.

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Meal-on-the-go: A ready to eat, full of goodness meal on-the-go. 75g of Passion4Wholeness muesli. Simply add your milk, yoghurt, water or even your energy drink. Conveniently comes with a spoon and the bag converts into a bowl.

Oats porridge with a twist: Ideal for winter and full of goodness and twists! Wheat-, preservative-, and trans fat free, diabetic friendly. Rich in protein, as well as cinnamon to give you a stable blood sugar level. You will never eat ordinary oats again.

Home-made muesli: Wheat-, preservative-, and trans fat free with omega 3 fats, diabetic friendly. Rich in protein, as well as cinnamon to give you a stable blood sugar level.

Developed by Hannele Steyn, BSc (Microbiology/ Genetics), Triathlon World Champion, winner of Cape Epic 2005 and Springbok colours in 5 sports

In selected stores and available online from

www.enduren.co.za

Packed by


HEALTH & FITNESS

Words: Hannele Steyn

www.shutterstock.com

If you are serious about your health and optimum sports’ performance, then nutrition is as important as following the correct training programme.

Enhance your food naturally Similarly, nutrition plays an equally essential role if you are an adventurer or someone who just wants to be healthy and have energy. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a great cook to make sure that your meals are nutritional and still tasty. When preparing healthy and delicious-tasting dishes, the first rule is to avoid man-made foods, such as foods that are baked and fried, and contain preservatives. You also need to use the correct cooking methods and fresh ingredients, as well as fresh herbs and spices for flavour.

However, when it comes to flavour, we seem to have lost the ability to enjoy food the way it was intended to taste. Enhancing food with all kinds of flavourants has contributed to various intolerances, heartburn, and even illnesses. For example, why do we eat cauliflower with cheese sauce? Is it because we love cheese sauce or because we love the taste of cauliflower? If you like cauliflower, then don’t spoil it with cheese sauce, and if you like cheese sauce, then don’t spoil it with cauliflower! The same goes for a baked sweet potato. Why do we smother it with sugar and butter? If you are looking for that butter-sugar-caramel taste, then rather make yourself caramel by frying sugar and butter in a pan. There's a lot less calories without the sweet potato, but it has a lot of things to kill you nice and slowly! See what I am trying to say?

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Enhance your food naturally Beware of quick 'fixes' to make your food taste better, such as shop-bought spices, sauces, flavour enhancers, and the like, because they contain high amounts of preservatives, trans fats, and an overload of sodium. If you use fresh herbs, you will not only enhance and complement the flavours of your foods but also do your health a big favour. Furthermore, herbs can help preserve food for longer periods and boast many health and medicinal qualities.

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There are numerous types of herbs that are easily available, but I'll just focus on some of the more common herbs that are found in most kitchens, and why you should be using them.

Most of this information comes from the 'herb lady' herself, Margaret Roberts, and the facts on vitamins and minerals are based on scientific proof from ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), which is used to estimate the antioxidant potential in fruit, vegetables, and herbs.


www.shutterstock.com

Rosemary goes well with just about anything, especially lamb. It is packed with calcium, Vitamin A, and potassium, and may help with anxiety, depression, and rheumatism. Thyme has an extraordinary fragrance and is a member of the mint family. It was used as a medicine and food preservative in ancient Greece and can assist with many ailments, such as soothing sore throats, coughs, hay fever, ringworm, athlete's foot, insomnia, blood circulation, and asthma. It can also be mixed with an oil to create a lovely massage rubbing oil.

Ginger: Known as the 'wonder spice', it's excellent to use in curries and Asian foods. It is a warming spice that has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to relax your intestinal tract. It can also relieve heartburn, morning sickness, menstrual pain, and migraines. You can infuse it in water and drink it as a delicious-tasting tea too. Oregano, ciao bella! This is the Italian Mama's spice and commonly used on pizzas and pasta. Studies have shown that when chewing on a piece of oregano, it can relieve toothache, bad breath, and helps to ease mouth infections and exhaustion. Its pungent smell is also an effective insect repellent. So you can go camping amongst the insects, eat your pasta, and perk yourself up all in one with this herb J. It is a great substitute for salt too.

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Try thiS recipe Here’s a great recipe when preparing fish the healthy way: • Use any type of fresh fish. • Mix a little water, soya sauce, fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger, chili, dill, garlic, and Bulgarian yoghurt. • Put the fish into this mixture skin side up so that just the skin sticks out, and brush the skin with a little grape seed oil. • Place the fish about 20 cm below the griller in the oven and grill until the skin is brown and crispy. • Sit back, relax and enjoy this delicious and healthy meal that has been prepared without deep-frying the fish and any preserved spices or shop-bought sauces.

Chilli: It is great to cook with, and it is also very good for blood circulation, and clearing nasal and chest congestion. But don't go and sniff it now, rather add it to hot milk and honey. Be careful if you have stomach related problems, such as ulcers. This spice has also been used for centuries as a stimulant, antibiotic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. According to Margaret Roberts, it is packed with antioxidants such as capsaicin and Vitamin C. I have even heard that it is nature’s own antioxidant.

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Basil: Commonly used in Italian-type foods (who doesn’t know pesto?). It can help with infections and skin ailments, and when mixed with aqueous cream, elderflower, and calendula petals, it can be used to soothe insect bites and itchy spots - another one to pack when you next go camping. I could go on and on about the many other beneficial cooking herbs and spices you can use, but I encourage you to convert from the unhealthy options to the wonderful culinary combinations that can be made with fresh herbs and spices. Cinnamon: It's rich in antioxidants and full of flavour. One teaspoon of cinnamon has the same amount of antioxidants as a teacup of blueberries, without the calories - but don’t stop eating your blueberries.


www.shutterstock.com

Studies have shown that it helps to stabilise blood sugar, which is very important for sports people, as it contains polyphenols (compounds that act in place of insulin in the body). Here I have to mention that Passion4Wholeness muesli contains heaps of cinnamon.

My own Passion4Wholeness muesli, ‘oats porridge with a twist’ and ‘mealon-the-go’, contain cinnamon to help stabilise your blood sugar levels for more sustained energy and, of course, to awaken the memory of ancake to stimulate the taste buds. • * References from an article by Samantha Parrish, from Longevity.

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EDUTOURS AFRICA

MAKE AFRICA YOUR CLASSROOM Our operations of educational tours reach across 13 African countries.

Edutours Africa facilitates customised educational tours with the main objective of expanding young minds outside the conventional classroom. study-abroad trips 路 service-learning programmes 路 subject, or faculty-specific tours school sports tours 路 sight-seeing and leisure activities 路 research tours www.edutoursafrica.com | info@edutoursafrica.com


NATURE

Words & Photos: Sam Bradley

I have always looked on tour guiding as a job straight from heaven. You get to

travel to exotic locations, meet interesting people, live in 5-star luxury - and get paid for it! So when I was recently asked to help out on a student trip to Botswana, I jumped at the chance. Finding out that we’d be

exploring the Okavango Delta (a place that I really wanted to see), and that the ratio was a rather favourable 26 girls to 2 guys only increased my excitement for the trip. But, as I was to find out, taking a bunch of girls camping for a week is easier said than done.

Okavango Odyssey The Delta.

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Lots of mokoros.

Our group met at OR Tambo Airport, in Johannesburg, where the other guide, chef, driver, and 28 excited American students all gathered. We boarded Big Annie, our

hefty two-ton overland truck, and set off for the border. Big Annie was even slower than she looked, but

sitting high up, with the canvas windows rolled up, a nice breeze blowing and a bird’s eye view of the surroundings gave the trip an immediate ‘safari in Africa’ sort of feel to it.

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The first two days were spent almost entirely on the road. Having so many people in such a confined space for two days could have been a disaster, but luckily everyone seemed to get on pretty well and it was a very merry safari truck. The salt pans were quite a sight, but we barely paused as Big Annie took a while to slow down and even longer to start up again, so it was best to keep moving. By the end of the second day, we had some very bored individuals on board (the only distraction we had was counting donkeys – Botswana seems to have way too many of these mules), so we were happy to finally arrive in Maun, a town on the shores of the Delta. Early the next morning, we loaded up light travel bags, piled into a truck, and were soon ready to board the mokoros.


We were a little delayed as one of the girls was very concerned about mice in the Delta and refused to get into her mokoro until we had convinced her that this was one of the animals she definitely didn’t need to worry about. The oarsmen are insanely skilful. The whole Delta is pretty shallow, so they stand on the back of the mokoro and steer it along by pushing a long wooden stick off the bottom. For the first half an hour, everyone was blown away by the beauty of it all: marshy swampland as far as the eye can see, beautiful plant life, and millions of little animals flying, crawling, and swimming all around us. However, it wasn’t long before the peaceful motion of being gently pushed along (and the warm sun on our faces) had most of us in a blissful snooze.

I was in a mokoro with our chef, Tichawena, who had become a little too acquainted with hippos on

a previous trip and was keeping a sharp eye out for what he referred to as 'those dangerous beasts'. Thankfully, we managed to avoid

hippos and crocs for the whole trip. After about two hours of gliding through this water wonderland, we landed at our little island and soon had camp set up. Tich prepared lunch while we explored our paradise, which would be home for the next three days.

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With so few possessions, we probably should have got bored during our time on the island, but somehow we never did. We spent hours trying to

learn to steer a mokoro in a straight line and ended up spending a lot of time falling off – and even by the end of the trip none of us had mastered this very tricky art! We also spent a lot of time playing the water version of American football – a game involving a tennis ball, a few mokoros, and an underwater camera, which kept us endlessly entertained.

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For some of the girls, the camping lifestyle took a while to get used to. Top of the complaints list were the mosquitoes at night and the idea of having to dig a hole for a toilet. The lack of internet and music also got a mention, but luckily, everyone soon adjusted to life in the bush. On one of the afternoons, we went for a sunset mokoro cruise, sticking to the shallower water to avoid hippos as most of us were swimming behind the mokoros. In the mornings, our local guides took us for long game walks, and even though we didn’t see an abundance of wildlife we did leave very impressed with their knowledge of the whole Delta area. The hot days were spent lazing in the shade and swimming in the Delta, and the evenings around the fire and sleeping under the stars all blended together, and pretty soon it was our last day.


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9 LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. Delta sunset. 2. One of the guides with a skull found out on a game walk. 3. Buffalo. 4. Two mokoros. 5. Elephants in the Delta. 6. Peaceful sunset over the Delta. 7. Water, sun, and a whole lot of fun. 8. Sam with a lillypad hat. 9. Hippo in the Delta.

7 On the final evening, the mokoro oarsmen and guides entertained us with a song and dance performance, which we tried to match with a few of our own songs, but definitely came off second best. The next morning we planned to be on the water at 8 a.m. to get back to meet our truck, but on our early morning game walk the guide found lion spoor tracks … Needless to say we got a bit ‘sidetracked’ and only returned to camp late morning. All was fine though as we met up with Big Annie again, said our sad goodbyes, and continued on our merry adventure. •

Travel tips Flights: Air Botswana flies directly from Johannesburg to Maun for about R1,500 per person, one way (including taxes). Accommodation: Accommodation options vary greatly, and can be found from R80 per person sharing (see Drifters Maun Camp) up to R3,320 per person sharing (Nxamaseri Island Lodge). Trips into the Delta: Camping trips in the Delta are priced between R1,000 and R2,000 per person, per day in the Delta, with boating safaris, private trips and tented safaris also available at a higher cost. Currency: 1 pula = R1. Must pack items: A camera, costume, hat, and sunscreen.

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NATURE

Words: André Troost | Photos: André & Carina Troost

Timeless Nieuwoudtville The golden lands lie ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see.” Jack Kerouac Adapted from “On the Road”

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The pride and joy of the Namaqualand; the yellow Namaqualand daisy.

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The world is a massive place. It causes you to feel small, and the smaller you feel, the more significant things become around you.

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Nou’s ons in die wilde wêreld,” my dad said as we crossed the Gemsbok River bedding in the Knersvlakte, on our way to Nieuwoudtville. It’s September, and that calls for one thing, our annual flower-sighting trip. We bend through the turns of the Van Rhyns Pass to reach the escarpment, from where Nieuwoudtville lies 3 km inland. The crisp air from the West Coast rises up against the escarpment to meet the warm skies of the Warm Bokkeveld region. From here, the eyes can see the entire Knersvlakte, over the Gemsbok River bedding towards the West Coast. The last 3 km takes us through new landscape and it soon becomes evident that this area is a biodiversity hotspot. In fact, this is where the Cape Fynbos, Boesmanland, Namaqualand, Hantam, and Warm Bokkeveld regions meet and has one of the highest concentrations of bulb plant species to be found. From the main road, the sole tar road in Nieuwoudtville, we turn left into the all familiar Neethling Street, past the most beautiful church one will ever find, and onwards to my home away from home. My dad bought our farmhouse in the early 2000s as a stopover on the road to Upington, where he used to work. The practical reasons for having the house fell away after a few years, as he stopped working in Upington, but we, as a family, fell so much in love with the house and the town that, until this day, we still come every now and again to wind down for a few days.

Being in Nieuwoudtville is truly like stepping back in time. The town is exactly how it was years ago and will probably stay the same for generations to come, a comforting and somewhat relaxing thought. Sunny afternoons spent in the purple hammock, lazy braais under the pepper tree next to the olive orchard, waking up to finches chirping away in the backyard, and brandy and coke in Oom Lenn Kennedy’s bar at the hotel are nostalgic memories that consume my thoughts when city life gets the best of me. The town is unique in so many ways. The sandstone architecture, biodiversity, and especially the people are like nowhere else. When you bring an ex-surfer from Cape Town, an ex-French Foreign Legion soldier, and a proud Paarl Boys’ High old boy with an intimidating moustache (who is also pretty proud of his golf handicap) together, the result is a group of dead normal, ordinary Nieuwoudtville citizens. During late winter and spring, fields and fields of Namaqualand daisies explode to life from out of the dry and hostile Namaqualand soil. It’s truly spectacular seeing how life arrives in abundance for a few weeks after the winter rains, only for the unforgiving elements to return when the summer months arrive. Walking through these fields of daisies, I can only imagine how Van Gogh spilled his palette over these seemingly lifeless fields.

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1.  A typical lazy scene in the olive orchard. 2.  New life arrives after the winter rain. There's so much that we can learn from nature's selfsustaining habits. 3.  Hiking through the beautiful, ever-changing landscapes of the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. 4. A succulent lamb potjie with locally sourced ingredients cooks slowly at the end of yet another blessed day. 5.  The Warm Bokkeveld sun peeks through the entrance to a ruin. If these ruins could tell us what they've seen during all these years, would we look at them differently? 5.  The roaring Doorn River Waterfall. After heavy rains, the waterfall is even more powerful.

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The beauty of the town itself is worth noting, however, it’s especially important for a visitor to see how the area lives up to its reputation as the ‘bulb capital’ of the world. It’s even proudly boasted on the welcoming board as one enters the town. These bulbs are dormant for most of the year, but between August and October they bloom in a way nothing short of spectacular. Together with the daisies, they convert the dry environment surrounding the town for most of the year into a picturesque setting. Even when driving in the town, you will find thousands of flowers around almost every corner. However, there are specific places where one should go to see the extraordinary. The Wildflower Reserve, on the road to Calvinia, and the Matjiesfontein Farm, just south of town, are prime locations to see nature in all its glory. Besides the appearance of flowers, rivers fill up and waterfalls come to life. A must see is the roaring Doorn River Waterfall, which is situated 7 km on the road to Loeriesfontein. The river plunges 90 m downwards into an enormous canyon. After visiting the waterfall, don’t turn around just yet because the quiver tree forest is just 20 km away on the same road. The raw and simple beauty of these desert trees is proof of the marvel of nature and adds to the diversity of the fauna and flora around Nieuwoudtville. Walking around these trees, I feel as if Terence Hill and Bud Spencer could race past with their horses at any given moment. Nieuwoudtville is all about hidden treasures and well-preserved heritage; a stigma that the Groenrivier Ruins on the outskirts of the town fills perfectly. These ruins are farmhouses of previous generations that were left to perish in the elements, but still stand proudly after all these years. Daisies and ‘katsterte’, a flower widely found in this area, pop up between the ruins to give rise to the insight that the ruins can, given the fact that they’ve been standing here for so long and in such peace, be seen as part of nature and not foreign to the environment.

Saying farewell to the sun at the Groenriver Ruins.

188 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

If you have a few days to spend in the area, walk the hiking trails through the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. Whether you feel like a day hike or hike for a few days, Oorlogskloof is a great way to experience the Warm Bokkeveld from a different perspective. In general, when travelling by foot, motorcycle or bicycle, there are fewer hurdles that distort Mother Nature’s voice, which gives rise to a more accurate and detailed experience of a specific place, allowing the traveller to get closer to his or her surroundings.

The simplicity of Nieuwoudtville is contagious and truly inspirational . Whether you’d like to see the flowers or just wind down in the countryside when flowers are not present, the uniqueness of Nieuwoudtville will surely leave something special , something simple in your heart. For now, dear reader, I can’t tell you what that is. Come and find it. •


NATURE

Words: Alan Hobson ǀ Photos & Video: Courtesy of Angler & Antelope

River Runs

a

Through the Karoo

The Karoo, the ‘place of thirst’, conjures up images of mirage-blistering, charcoal-smouldering veldt, with dark mountains silhouetted against a bright blue horizon.

Casting into the sunset.

www.doitnow.co.za • 189


Glenn Cuthbert and his son Scott.

The Karoo is not the sort of place one imagines pristine fountain-fed streams up in the mountains that are teeming with wild rainbow trout. Mother Nature can be very sympathetic and deceptive, hiding a small stream of crystal-clear, fountain-fed water from the harsh environment and soothing it with a snowmelt in winter. Rewards for surviving are hard earned, as every now and then Mother Nature succumbs and shows her maternal side bearing perfect conditions. Glenn, an active Bankberg Trout Fisher’s club member, had been hounding me to take him to my secret stretch of the Naudeshoek spruit, a tributary source of the Little Fish River up in the mountains of Somerset East. So when Glenn arrived with his son, Scott, it struck a very sentimental chord as I reflected back to when I was a youngster brimming with excitement and going fishing under the arm of my father.

190 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

Scott, totally unaware of the privilege bestowed upon him, will one day be able to tell the story of when he went wild fly fishing in the Karoo with his dad. In 1974, my father and I visited the same stretch of river and that fishing trip still lives vividly in my mind today. The excitement of our journey, as we wound our way through the valleys and up the mountains, echoed in the vehicle as we spotted kudu, nyala, impala, red lechwe, springbuck, and a seasoned pair of steenbuck. I was in a time warp, although back then we saw many more bird species than antelope.


River Runs

a

Through the Karoo

I explained that we would park the vehicle downstream and fish the accessible pools,

working our way up stream for as long as there was daylight and then walk back to the vehicle.

We alternated pools, taking turns to fish. Glenn, who was not expecting this opportunity, had left his waders back home; essentially this trip was about spending time with his son and teaching him respect for the environment and the essence of stalking wild trout in clear water. I slipped my gear on, concluding that I would take the pools that were more difficult to access because when standing in ice-cold water, at around six degrees and without waders, one loses your sense of humour rather quickly.

www.doitnow.co.za • 191


Alan Hobson with a nice Karoo river trout.

We bashed our way through the riverine thickets and looked on in awe as we stood at the top of the river bank. It was a

good few metres down the bank, but that wasn’t what took our breath away; the clear water was protected by reeds that had been bleached by the winter, thus presenting us some challenging prospects.

One needs to understand that fish which survive here are seasoned opponents, who use every undercut, overhanging bush, rock or crevice to be inconspicuous. Therein lies the challenge, as gin-clear water means the fish would spot us long before we saw them, and that is usually when they are already scurrying for deeper cover. One has to try and use the screen of reeds lining the water’s edge to break your silhouette and manoeuvre very carefully, as any loud clang sounds alarm bells for the fish. However, it is a little difficult to cast with towering reeds all around you, so one should move slowly into the tail of the pool, minimising the ripples that announce your arrival. Crocodile mode is easier said than done, as you try and move stealthily with rod, line, fly, and a net over uneven ground on a slippery bottom. Flashing your line over the mirrored water needs to be quick and precise, as the fish are not forgiving, remember they are often preyed upon by birds.

192 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

The moment of truth. Can you manoeuvre the fly line and present the fly between the water and overhanging branches having guided your line between the reeds and then twitched life into your fly, to make the fish believe it is a real insect? Feeling the water embrace you stirs deep into your soul and the tug of a fish pulses with your heartbeat. The reward of releasing the fish and the pure joy of watching it melt back into its environment is soulfully fulfilling. The smile on my face, as I watched father and son take turns to fish, and the feeling of contentment that washed over me was reflected in the change of colour upon the mountains as the sun set. I could feel that my father was still very much with me as Glenn put his guiding hand on Scott’s shoulder, helping him out of the river bed as we made our way happily back to the vehicle. •


www.wildflyfishinginthekaroo.co.za

Tel: 042 243 3440 Fax: 086 671 6146 Cell: 082 375 4720

WILD FLY FISHING IN THE KAROO SOMERSET EAST

www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle • 193


Words: Neil Ross, Executive Chef

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD If you are cooking to impress, then this amazing, yet easy to prepare three-course menu is sure to do the trick.

STARTER

Retro Prawn Cocktail Ingredients: • 2 small gem lettuces • 300 g cooked, peeled prawns • Lemon juice • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise • 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup • Worcestershire sauce • Tabasco sauce

194 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

Preparation: 1.  Roughly shred the lettuce and put into the bottom of four glasses. Divide the prawns between them and add a squeeze of lemon juice. 2.  Mix the mayo and tomato ketchup with two good splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a couple of splashes of Tabasco. Add more lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper, then spoon over the prawns.

www.shutterstock.com

ENTERTAINMENT


www.shutterstock.com

MAIN

Pan fried Hake with Lemon Herb Butter

Preparation: 1.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the seasoned hake fillets, skin side down.

Ingredients: • 4 x 175 g hake fillets, skin on and boned • 1 tablespoon olive oil • Salt and freshly ground pepper • 50 g butter • ½ lemon, pips removed • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed herbs (parsley, chives, and tarragon)

3.  Turn the hake fillets over and cook for another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. This will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer to warmed plates while you make the sauce.

2.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the skin is just beginning to crisp, then add little knobs of butter to the pan around each hake fillet and cook for another couple of minutes until the skin is crisp.

4.  Add the rest of the butter to the frying pan and allow it to melt gently over a moderate heat. When it has melted, add a squeeze of lemon juice and the herbs, swirling to combine. Season to taste. 5.  Spoon this sauce over the hake fillets and serve with steamed broccoli and some sautéed new potatoes.

www.doitnow.co.za • 195


www.shutterstock.com

DESSERT

Pear Rhubarb and Hazelnut Crumble Ingredients: • 25 g butter • 3 pears, cored and halved • 500 g rhubarb, cut into chunks • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon • ½ teaspoon ground cloves • Vanilla ice cream or double cream, to serve For the crumble topping: • 50 g roasted hazelnuts • 50 g cold butter, diced • 85 g self raising flour • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • 50g Demerara sugar

196 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

Preparation: 1.  Melt the butter in a pan, then add the pears, rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook over a low heat for 10-12 minutes or until just tender. Divide the rhubarb between four ovenproof dishes (or use one large dish) and set aside. 2.  Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. 3.  To make the crumble topping, tip all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse for crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit filling and then bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. 4.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream.

Bon appétite. •


ENTERTAINMENT

Reviews by www.fortressofsolitude.co.za

MOVIE TITLE

Pain & Gain Director: Michael Bay Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie

HIGHLIGHTS Funny moments

Recommended for Micheal Bay fans

VERDICT Director Michael Bay, who has become synonymous with loud, over-budget blockbusters, tries his hand at making a “small” budget passion project ($25 million), but manages to fill it with the same sledgehammer subtlety as his previous works. Based on an outrageous true story, the politically incorrect satire, Pain & Gain, sneers at jokes about sex, sexism, racism, death and religion. Granted its not easy to make a black comedy about murder, kidnapping and crime, but the notoriously slick Bay seems like the wrong guy for the material. Instead, he sneaks slow motion, explosions and a parade of woman into a film that should probably be a lot more believable. Even still, he knows his audience too well and manages to tap the laziest part of their brains to keep them entertained throughout. Michael Bay delivers on entertainment, but at a cost. That cost involves removing the functional and logical parts of your brain and forgetting your sense of morality. If you’re already missing these then you’re A for away with Pain & Gain. For some there will be more pain than gain.

www.doitnow.co.za • 197


MOVIE TITLE

Elysium

HIGHLIGHTS

Great action scenes

Director: Neill Blomkamp Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga and Sharlto Copley

Recommended for Sci-Fi fans

VERDICT

Elysium is the second film from visionary director Neill Blomkamp. After District 9’s success, both critically and financially, it is to be Blomkamp’s trial by fire. Not as daring as District 9, yet much more dazzling to look at, Elysium solidifies Blomkamp’s talent as a director who is willing to take risks and be different. We follow Max (Damon), an ex-con who has left his old ways behind and tries to make a living while working in a factory. An accident exposes Max to a lethal dose of radiation. He learns he has only five days to live, and this sets him off on his desperate struggle to get to Elysium to heal himself with their technology. The Secretary of Defence, Delacourt (Foster) learns of Max’s plans and initialises her own plans to stop him at all costs. These plans include eliciting the help of a brutal mercenary, Kruger (Copley), and his thugs to thwart Max’s plans. Although not perfect, Elysium is definitely worth a look. The effects are different and spectacular, the world created unique and watching Damon and Copley going at each other a treat.

198 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29


GAME TITLE

Pikmin 3

HIGHLIGHTS Amazing visuals

Director: Shigefumi Hino and Yuki Kando Developer: Nintendo Genre: Strategy

Recommended for Strategy fans

VERDICT

Any game that has literally invented and popularised its own niche genre is worthy of at least passing notice. In the case of Pikmin 3, the first new Pikmin game in nine years, it deserves far more than that. Pikmin 3 is a demonstration of the fact that while Nintendo may suck at bringing third party titles to their platform, and while Mario may play it far too safe with his releases, the remainder of their first party titles are produced with a great deal of love, affection and care for their franchises. The entire campaign takes around 10 hours for normal play, and much more for 100% completion. There are also additional challenge modes and co-op modes that extend game time even more. Pikmin 3 is a worthy successor to any previous game in the title, and for players who have never tried it before, it’s definitely worth it, adding one more significant title to the rather slowly expanding Wii-U library.

www.doitnow.co.za • 199


GAME TITLE

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Director: Kenji Saito Developer: Platinum Games / Konami Genre: Action, Adventure

HIGHLIGHTS Character design

Recommended for Fans of the series

VERDICT

It seems almost ridiculous how many terrible omens hung over Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance from conception to completion. A spin-off of a legendarily popular series. A spin-off with a different system of gameplay. A protracted development period, skipping between developers and restarting. A lack of normal commitment from the creative mind behind the series.

At the end of the day, it seems remarkable that it even made it to the shelves. But, Metal Gear is a series that has never usually been able to be pinned down, and maybe, just maybe, this game will continue that trend. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a game that is fun at its core, but is over too quickly and is weighed down with silliness of the bad kind. I don’t think it’s worth full price, but definitely buy it when it drops down a bit. •

200 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29


Movies to look out for

Kick-Ass 2

Genre: Action, Comedy Director: Jeff Wadlow Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey Date: 6 September

We’re the Millers

Genre: Comedy Director: Rawson Thurber Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis and Emma Roberts Date: 6 September

Red 2

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Director: Dean Parisot Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins Date: 4 October

games to look out for

Madden NFL 25 Genre: Sport, Football Developer: EA Sports Date: September

WWE 2K14

Genre: Action, Wrestling Developer: 2K Games Date: October

Battlefield 4

Genre: Action, Shooter Developer: EA / DICE Games Date: October

www.doitnow.co.za • 201


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202 • DO IT NOW Magazine | #29

The DO IT NOW team strives to provide the latest high-quality adventure, sport, and lifestyle information on an ongoing basis, while reducing our carbon footprint. What better way to achieve this goal than by offering dynamic, weekly web-based articles and a monthly application-based magazine, constantly evolving website, weekly media report, dedicated YouTube channel, and vibey social media platforms.

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inGEAR:

AFRICAN CYCLISTS TAKE ON Tour de France Words: Morne Labuschagne | Photos: Zoon Cronje

IT’S THE 100TH EDITION OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE (TDF) AND AFRICA’S HOPES AT THIS YEAR’S RACE ARE PINNED ON DARRYL IMPEY (TEAM ORICA-GREENEDGE), ROBERT HUNTER (TEAM GARMIN-SHARP) AND CHRIS FROOME (TEAM SKY). FOR US AFRICANS, THIS OCCASION IS EVEN MORE MOMENTOUS BECAUSE ONE OF THESE RIDERS HAS A VERY REAL CHANCE OF WINNING THE TOUR. HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?

From humble beginnings in 1903, the TDF has become the largest annual sporting event in the world. The race is broadcast to 3,5 billion people and an average of 12 million spectators come out to support their favorite riders and heroes along the route. This year's event starts on Saturday, 29 June and finishes on Sunday, 21 July. Covering a total distance of 3,479 km, there are 21 stages to be completed with just two rest days. Stage profiles include seven flat stages, five hilly stages, six mountain stages with four summit finishes, two individual time trials and one team time trial. The first stage is from Porto to Vecchio and these two towns, as well as eight others, will be seeing and experiencing the TDF for the very first time.

There are 19 pro tour teams taking part in the event, so this only leaves three wild card entries to make up the total of 22 teams participating. Those three wild card entries have been allocated to three French teams, but this doesn't come as a surprise as this is, after all, the Tour de France.

CONTROVERSY

Over the last couple of years, the tour has received its fair share of media attention, with doping being at the centre of it all. The Lance Armstrong doping saga shook the sport to its core, with stories and rumors of hired couriers on motorbikes delivering performance-enhancing substances to hotel rooms, blood transfusions being done on rest days and the UCI (international controlling body for the sport) accepting payments to cover up positive tests. Armstrong, who was stripped of all his TDF victories and later admitted that he did use performance-enhancing drugs, left cycling under a huge shadow of doubt - a hero had fallen. Since then, there has been more shocking stories implicating some of the world’s best cyclists and as a result, the sport has lost a lot of its credibility. However, all is not lost, as the last two years' victories at the TDF were drug free! Let's hope that in 2013, we will build on the legacy of our 'clean' winners; Cadel Evens (2011) and Bradley Wiggins (2012).

inGEAR:

AFRICAN CYCLISTS TAKE ON Tour de France Words: Morne Labuschagne | Photos: Zoon Cronje

IT’S THE 100TH EDITION OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE (TDF) AND AFRICA’S HOPES AT THIS YEAR’S RACE ARE PINNED ON DARRYL IMPEY (TEAM ORICA-GREENEDGE), ROBERT HUNTER (TEAM GARMIN-SHARP) AND CHRIS FROOME (TEAM SKY). FOR US AFRICANS, THIS OCCASION IS EVEN MORE MOMENTOUS BECAUSE ONE OF THESE RIDERS HAS A VERY REAL CHANCE OF WINNING THE TOUR. HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE?

From humble beginnings in 1903, the TDF has become the largest annual sporting event in the world. The race is broadcast to 3,5 billion people and an average of 12 million spectators come out to support their favorite riders and heroes along the route. This year's event starts on Saturday, 29 June and finishes on Sunday, 21 July. Covering a total distance of 3,479 km, there are 21 stages to be completed with just two rest days. Stage profiles include seven flat stages, five hilly stages, six mountain stages with four summit finishes, two individual time trials and one team time trial. The first stage is from Porto to Vecchio and these two towns, as well as eight others, will be seeing and experiencing the TDF for the very first time.

There are 19 pro tour teams taking part in the event, so this only leaves three wild card entries to make up the total of 22 teams participating. Those three wild card entries have been allocated to three French teams, but this doesn't come as a surprise as this is, after all, the Tour de France.

CONTROVERSY

Over the last couple of years, the tour has received its fair share of media attention, with doping being at the centre of it all. The Lance Armstrong doping saga shook the sport to its core, with stories and rumors of hired couriers on motorbikes delivering performance-enhancing substances to hotel rooms, blood transfusions being done on rest days and the UCI (international controlling body for the sport) accepting payments to cover up positive tests. Armstrong, who was stripped of all his TDF victories and later admitted that he did use performance-enhancing drugs, left cycling under a huge shadow of doubt - a hero had fallen. Since then, there has been more shocking stories implicating some of the world’s best cyclists and as a result, the sport has lost a lot of its credibility. However, all is not lost, as the last two years' victories at the TDF were drug free! Let's hope that in 2013, we will build on the legacy of our 'clean' winners; Cadel Evens (2011) and Bradley Wiggins (2012).

50 • DO IT NOW Magazine | June 2013

50 • DO IT NOW Magazine | June 2013

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DO IT NOW Magazine #29 - Adventure, Sport & Lifestyle  

DO IT NOW Magazine, DO IT NOW Magazine #29 is now available and there's something for everyone. Cover stories include surfing in Reunion, wi...