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On the Cover - World’s most beautiful Triathlon, swim in the lagoon, Le Morne, Mauritius. Photo by - Jacques Fabien | uk.indianoceantriathlon.com

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Alan Hobson

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inTRO

FOUNDER’S LETTER

It's the month of romance and I hope you all have special plans for Valentine's Day on the 14th. With the year starting to gain momentum, so too is our magazine and I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy our trail running article on traversing the Drakensberg, which starts at the Sentinel, finishes at Bushman’s Nek and summits six designated peaks along the way, on page 28. For our mountain bike enthusiasts, don't miss the story on page 44 about the first organised mountain bike trip across the 12,000 km² Makgadikgadi Pans, over three days and a distance of 150 km. And if you are looking to try out something new, then don't miss the article on page 66 on the Flyboard, an ingenious device that allows the rider to zoom through water and leap into the air like a human dolphin.

All the best to the riders competing in the Epic next month, and fingers crossed for Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser, who are competing in their third consecutive Epic this year! Until next time ... DON'T HESITATE, DON'T PROCRASTINATE, DO IT NOW! DIN regards, Francois

Please remember to forward any comments and suggestions you may have about our online application to us (info@doitnow.co.za), as this will help us to improve and grow the magazine, as well as ensure your continued reading pleasure. Thank you once again to everyone who has supported us by downloading our app, we are reaching new download records daily! Congratulations to all the 70.3 Ironman athletes that recently competed in East London. The day was very entertaining and exciting to watch, and hats off to the winners. Now it's only a couple of months before the full Ironman gets underway in Port Elizabeth in April, and I can't wait to see how that pans out.

dinLIST

CALENDAR

FEBRUARY 2013 S

3

M 4

T

5

W 6

T

7

F

S

1

2

8

9

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Here are some fantastic activities and events to look out for this month: Hiking // Dwarsberg (Free State) Horse Racing // J&B Met - Kennilworth (WC): 2 Feb Arts & Culture // Chinese New Year - Randburg (JHB): 2 Feb Quad Biking // North Coast (KZN) Festival // Berry Fest - Haenertsburg (Limpopo): 9 Feb Obstacle Course // Warrior #1 - Stoke City (Gauteng): 9-10 Feb Sandboarding // Betty's Bay (WC) Paddling // Duzi Canoe Marathon - Pietermaritzburg (KZN): 14-16 Feb Charity Event // Can-Sir Valentine Dance - Montana (WC): 16 Feb Food & Wine // Hands on Harvest - Robertson (WC): 22-24 Feb

SCAN U

S

Camping // Kirkwood (EC) MTB // MTN National Marathon #2 - Sabie (Mpumalanga): 23 Feb For a more comprehensive list of events and activities taking place throughout the year, check out the dinLIST Calendar on www.doitnow.co.za/calendar.

www.doitnow.co.za • 7


inDEX

Vol. 5 • 2 • 2013 #22 | www.doitnow.co.za

Base

//  Team & Contributors: p. 6 DO IT NOW Magazine’s team and regular contributors. //  inTRO: p. 7 Letter from DO IT NOW Magazine's founder. //  dinLIST Calendar: p. 7 Calendar featuring Adventure-Sport-Lifestyle activities. Subscriptions: p. 9 //  Subscription form and New Subscriber competition. //  inFOCUS Quarterly Reader Competition: p. 92 Stand a chance to WIN big prizes by entering the reader photo competition. //  inCLOSING: p. 98 A sneak preview of upcoming articles.

Articles inACTION

12 Tri Something Exotic 16 Become a Warrior

inALTITUDE

20 World Parachuting Championships, Dubai Mondial 2012 24 Getting Ready for your Everest Base Camp Trek

inTRAIL

28 Ambling with Dragons 34 The Competitiveness of Orienteering

inGEAR

40 Riding the Dream in Central America 44 Pantastic! 50 A Glimpse into Ethiopia

inH2O

56 62 66 70

Taking on the World’s Longest Ocean Race Blunting and Boofing Basics The Flyboard: A Water-powered Jet Pack for your Feet Shark Diving … No Cage Required

inSHAPE

74 Being Competitive Without Eating Meat

inCREDIBLE PLACES

34

76 Turkey, a Traveller’s Treat

inTRANSIT

80 Around the World on Public Transport - Africa, Asia and the Final Leg of the European Continent

inNATURE

84 Jo'burg's Biggest and Best Parks

inFOCUS

88 SHOOT! The Night Fantastic

inREVIEW

94 In the Spotlight: BMW 125i and Harley-Davidson’s 110th Birthday Ride Key:

Adventure

Sport

Lifestyle

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inACTION:

Words: Caroline Koll | Photos: Courtesy of Caroline Koll

Tri

Something

Exotic

12 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


The number of people taking part in triathlons on a global level is increasing and this has resulted in the number of events increasing too, often in lesser-known triathlon countries. With local events being quite

limited, there has been an increasing awareness that foreign races are no longer just the domain of Pro athletes, but also provide an exciting travel and adventure opportunity for regular triathletes wanting to enjoy their sport and take an interesting vacation at the same time. A perfect example of this is the Indian Ocean Triathlon.

Indian Ocean Triathlon Race distances: 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike ride and a 12 km run Country: Mauritius Just a mere four-hour flight away, this island paradise is relatively close to South Africa and offers great value for the Rand-wielding triathlete. The Indian Ocean Triathlon is one of the most beautiful triathlons in the world, starting on the magnificent, white sandy beach of Emba Filao, and is surrounded by breathtaking views of Le Morne. Now in its fifth year, the race attracts participants from around the world and although challenging in terms of terrain, the reasonable race distances allow you to enjoy the environment both before and after the race. The swim takes place in the exceptionally warm, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, and although there may be some current, the area is conveniently sheltered from any waves by the natural coral reef. The bike course incorporates coastal roads, as well as passages through the mountains and villages, which require good bike-handling skills. In addition, the course provides a challenge as hot as some of the Mauritian delicacies, like a pretty severe climb up the Chamarel Pass. It is the glee of local Mauritian cyclists, so don’t be surprised if you are passed by a local wearing flipflops, it is all a matter of local pride! The run presents a unique course that forces athletes to traverse the white sandy beach. The highlight is the finish line, which is remarkable because of its simplicity in comparison to other big global events; just a few palm leaves and local flowers. But the best reward of all is the most beautiful finish photos you will ever own and the warm reception from the locals! Post race is when the vacation begins, and I would strongly recommend taking a few days to explore the island. There is considerable opportunity to enjoy water sports of every kind or travel inland to see the natural delights that the island has to offer. Food is largely Indian inspired, and most ingredients are fresh and readily available. Getting around is easy with reasonably priced taxi services that usually come complete with friendly and very knowledgeable taxi drivers. Air Mauritius offers daily flights to Mauritius, and low-season fares are especially favourable in November, just ahead of the peak December holiday period. So if this sounds like something you want to do, here’s a wish list of some other must-do exotic triathlons that should be posted on the fridge door of every triathlete.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 13


Tri

Something

Exotic Karukera Triathlon

Israman Triathlon

Race distances: 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run

Race distances: Half Ironman / Full Ironman

Country: Guadeloupe, France (French Antilles) Guadeloupe is a butterfly-shaped island that's part of the French Antilles, and lies in the turquoise blue waters of this exotic Caribbean destination. The 20th edition of this race was held in 2012, and it is organised every year by volunteers from the French Gendarmes, who are stationed on the island. The race is generally hot and humid, but not exempt from the odd tropical shower, and if you can handle the odd bit of traffic that tends to build up on the island’s roads, then you are in for a really laid-back fun time!

Country: Eilat, Israel Eilat is Israel's most popular resort city located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. The beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism. The race takes place in a dry desert climate, so be prepared for significant variances in temperature. It's not a flat bike course, and you’ll have to conquer the surrounding sandstone and limestone mountains, peaking at 2,927 feet.

Galapagos Challenge Race distances: 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run Country: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Laguna Phuket Triathlon Race distances: 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike ride and a 12 km run Country: Phuket, Thailand Phuket is the perfect end-of-year race, and has been named Asia’s premier destination triathlon. For good reason too, as Thai hospitality is recognised worldwide and the race attracts athletes from all over the globe, including big-name Pros, who come to celebrate the end of the season. The course is challenging, especially the bike leg that heads towards northern Phuket, but the sheer beauty is enough to detract from the pain in your legs.

Weihai Triathlon Race distances: 3 km swim, 80 km bike ride and a 20 km run

Off the west coast of Ecuador, South America, lies the Galapagos Islands, reputed for its unique vegetation and birdlife. It is also home to the Galapagos Challenge - an Olympic distance triathlon that traverses the island, and has a 21 km / 42 km run the next day. You are not obligated to do both events, but it's definitely an exciting challenge worth trying! So, have you entered yet? •

èRelated articles: • Eleven Sun City Triathlon from a First-timer's Perspective (Digital article, November ’12) • Triple Challenge 2012 Race Report (Digital article, November ’12) • 30 Days and Counting to the Ironman (Issue 4, p 68)

dinFO box

i

Country: Weihai, China

Visit these sights and enter an exotic triathlon now!

Triathlon is relatively new in China, but as in all their sporting codes, they are already aiming at perfection. The race is an official ITU Long Distance event and held in the beautiful Chinese seaside town of Weihai, in the Shandong Province. The terrain is rugged, but the race course is exceptional and managed by a considerable army of tireless volunteers. Apart from the really lovely and friendly locals, you will be treated to exceptional ceremonies and displays of Chinese culture.

Indian Ocean Triathlon - www.indianoceantriathlon.com

14 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

Karukera Triathlon - www.calendrier.dusportif.fr Laguna Phuket Triathlon - www.lagunaphukettriathlon.com Weihai Triathlon - www.weihaitriathlon.com/2012/AN Israman Triathlon - www.israman.co.il Galapagos Challenge - www.galapagoschallenge.com


Words: Pieter Swart | Photos: Mornè du Toit | Video: Glowchair Productions

a

Become Warrior

inACTION:

A new event to look out for on the adventure calendar is the Warrior Race Series, a series of timed obstacle racing events to take place across different provinces in South Africa. The first event kicks off on 9 and 10 February 2013, with the last event to be held on 30 November. There are eight events in the series, including a Celebrity Challenge (the seventh event). Obstacle racing requires participants to run various distances on offroad, cross-country style trails while overcoming man-made obstacles placed strategically along the route, by crawling under barbed wire, struggling through massive mud pits, climbing over walls, jumping over fire and off high platforms, crawling through tunnels, running up slippery surfaces and carrying heavy objects. This sport has been around for more than 20 years and is especially popular in countries like USA and UK, attracting 15,000 plus participants over a weekend. Obstacle racing has found popularity amongst South Africans too, and people who love the outdoors and adventure have actively participated in it since 2009. In general, obstacle races attract people of all ages, shapes, sizes, cultures and fitness levels. But then there's also participants you would never expect to do something this crazy, people who want to bring about change in their lives, try something new or prove to themselves that they can do anything they put their mind to.

16 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

Obstacle racing events also draw serious athletes who may be looking for an alternative challenge or wanting to add something different to their usual training regime. With obstacle races like the Warrior Black-ops Race, which has huge prize money and a national championship, you might also find athletes that participate in the sport as a profession. What makes obstacle racing unique compared to other adventure sports is the fact that participants need to use every muscle fibre in their bodies just to complete a race. The course entails 80% cross-country style trail running or walking, depending on your preference, and when you add a few insane obstacles, you have a recipe for an extreme workout. But it has been proven that obstacle racing requires a lot more than just physical strength and endurance, it's a mind-power showdown too. As such, participants need to achieve the perfect balance between functional full-body strength, endurance and mind power.


The Warrior Race Series Come play

The Warrior Race is all about kids and adults getting down and dirty, facing challenges, overcoming their fears, having fun, helping each other and sharing stories at the end of the day with friends and family. The event embodies fun and camaraderie, regardless if you're just there to have a good time or compete for a top position. The Warrior Race Series also aims to promote proper training, healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle. With three racing options on offer, the Warrior Race is open to anyone. As a matter of fact, you can even do an obstacle course without legs, you just need to be brave! A guy in the USA has done the Spartan race without legs. He walked most of the course using his hands and completed it with the help of his friends. Now that's what Warriors are made of!

The obstacles are man-made because natural, difficult terrain is not considered an obstacle; they simply add to the challenge of the race. In each race there are three categories that solo participants and teams can compete in, with the category podium finishers each receiving prizes. For the funloving participants, there are two race options to choose from: the Warrior Brats Race, a course with eight obstacles that is specially tailored for kids; and a Warrior Rookie Race, a 6 to 8 km run with 15 obstacles that is ideal for anyone and everyone. For the serious athletes, there's the Warrior Black-ops Race, a more extreme race option. This is an 18 - 20 km event, with 30 gruelling man-made obstacles to be conquered. There is big prize money and sponsored prizes at stake, and by big I mean a first prize of R10 000 to the solo winner of the Warrior Black-ops Race, in each event within the series! The Warrior Black-ops Race solo winner in the National Championship will take home R100 000. The last event of the year is the National Championship, and anyone can take part. However, only those who qualified in the series are able to compete for the National Championship titles and prizes, and an official point standing log is used to determine who qualifies. All Warrior Race events incorporate a festival atmosphere so that participants and spectators get to enjoy a whole day's worth of entertainment and outdoor fun, as well as stand a chance of winning one of many fantastic spot prizes.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 17


Despite the challenging nature of the various events, it is a lot of fun and promotes camaraderie and team work among all participants. And when you complete the Warrior Race, you can wear your dog tag with pride!

Training

The nature and difficulty level of an obstacle race will determine the amount and type of training required. When it comes to the Warrior Brats and Warrior Rookie Races, participants will be able to compete with little or no training. However, putting in some training will make the race much more enjoyable. However, completing an extreme event like the Warrior Black-ops Race is a totally different story, and competitors will have to train well in advance. Depending on a participant’s current fitness level, training might start anywhere from three to twelve weeks ahead of the race. Training needs to include functional, full-body exercises to improve overall strength and a few running sessions of between 3-20 km per week to increase endurance. The Warrior Company has formed a partnership with eXtreme Boot Camp South Africa to assist Warriors and wanna-be Warriors with proper training for these events.

èRelated articles • Discovering the CrossFit Culture (Issue 21, p. 68) • Tai Chi: The Ancient Path to Stress-FREE Living (Issue 20, p. 74) • Who is the Fittest in Cape Town? (Issue 10, p. 60)

The Warrior

Code

of Honour

Make a difference

This is also an event with a heart, and the main purpose of the Warrior Race is to fund a non-profit organisation called The Warrior Foundation, which focuses on sport development, education and nature conservation projects in South Africa. So while you are having fun, you will be helping to make a difference! Furthermore, the Warrior Race has many prize categories in which participants can participate, including Corporate, Fitness Clubs, Sport Clubs, Open Category, Media, Schools and University. Win one of these categories and funds will be donated to a charity of your choice.

Become a Warrior

Dare to have fun and enter a Warrior Race! Open yourself up to a totally new kind of challenge and adventure that will allow you to forget about the hassles of everyday life. For the kids, this is what being young and enjoying life is all about. For everyone else, come do a Warrior Race and become a kid again for a day. To help you get started, here are some tips for first-time competitors: • Don't compete as a solo participant if it's your first obstacle race, rather do it as part of a team. • Wear clothes you won't miss because they will never be the same again after the race! • Any pair of running shoes will do, but proper water-resistant trail running shoes that are easy to clean are recommended. • The Warrior Race will have more than enough water points throughout the course, so there's no need to carry additional water. • If you’re competing in a race like the Warrior Rookie, do it in a team and dress up as wacky as humanly possible. Big prizes are up for grabs for dress ups. • In terms of training, the Warrior Rookie Race is doable without any training, but I suggest you try to get at least a run or two in before the race. • Only attempt an extreme obstacle race like the Warrior Black-ops Race if you’re really fit, otherwise you won't be able to complete the race and you definitely won't enjoy the experience. For all the athletes and weekend warriors out there, come show what you’re made off and earn your Warrior status. But just remember that the harder you fight this race, the harder it will fight back. So, let the games begin. •

18 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

As a Warrior I will have an intensity of life, filled with energy. I will be ready to act when needed. I will strive to perfect myself to the benefit of others. I will be determined to protect my family, neighbourhood, nation and world. I will strive for fairness and the sanity to do what is right and good. I will give my best in everything I do. I will be true to myself. I will strive for total honesty, be loyal and live a life of integrity. I will stand up for what is right. I will put the needs of others before my own. Above all this, I will never leave a fellow Warrior behind!

dinFO box

i

For more information on the Warrior Race Series, event dates and entering visit these pages: Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewarriorrace Twitter: twitter.com/thewarriorrace Warrior Race website: www.warrior.co.za For more information on training visit www.extremebootcamp.co.za.


inALTITUDE:

Words: Claire King & Dave Sumter | Photos: Pierre Domps & Paul Leslie-Smith

rld Wo Parachuting

Championships Dubai Mondial 2012

At the end of November 2012, South African athletes - together with 56 other nations - descended on Dubai for the biggest Parachuting World Championships in history. In addition to the FAI events being contested, a demo event for Speed Skydiving (a non-FAI event) and Paraski (FAI rules adapted to allow the skiing component to be completed on the indoor ski slope and the accuracy component on a flat surface) was added. This brought the total number of competitors in all events to almost 1,600!

After a rainy start (yip - to water the desert, just schedule a skydiving competition!), blue Dubai skies dominated a meet that was beyond description. There is so much to say about it that it cannot be condensed into a single article. And half of what we experienced under the hospitality of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, you probably wouldn’t believe anyway. He is the competition sponsor, owner of three world-class drop zones and the man who is boldly determined to realise our dream of exposing and sharing this amazing sport with the world and give our athletes an environment in which to excel beyond their wildest dreams. All I can say is that it was bigger, better and more breathtaking than his previous competitions I have attended - and am still raving about.

Christopher Taegue completing a round of canopy piloting distance. Photo by Pierre Domps

20 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


So I decided to narrow the focus here to the personal perspectives of some of our South African athletes. We had representatives in Formation Skydiving (FS) 4-way and 8-way, Canopy Piloting (CP) and Landing Accuracy, as well as in the Speed and Para-ski demo events. This event was important for South Africa in many ways, the most significant being the milestone achieved by Serafim Fernandes, who has just become our first black representative at a World Parachuting Championship. Our athletes did fantastically, in particular, Christopher Teague, the current South African Canopy Piloting Champion, who placed 15th overall (out of 135 competitors). This earned him a much-coveted invitation to compete in the World Games in Cali, Columbia, in 2013. CP is the only parachuting discipline included in the World Games and an important event for exposing skydiving as an air sport. Chris is a second-generation skydiver and although his dad, Mike, has been the Head of Delegation for the Dubai Parachuting Championships

for the last few years, this was Chris’s first competition in Dubai. As the only South African who qualified to attend the World Games, the spotlight and pressure will be great and he is hoping to find a sponsor to assist him to train and represent South Africa at the Games. Skydiving is expensive to compete in at world level, but the spectator pull of CP gives sponsors better exposure than some of the other disciplines, so we’re confident we’ll see Chris in Columbia. We are also really proud of our National 4-way FS team, Voodoo. The team members being Vana Parker, flying outside centre, Dennis Parker on point, Colin Rothman in inside centre, Dave Sumter as tail and Erik Vliegenthart on camera. Voodoo has dominated 4-way in South Africa for many years and this season has come back in force after some renewed focus, a change in coach and some team member switches. Voodoo placed 11th, with an average of 17.9 over eight rounds. This is the highest average ever achieved at a First Category Event (World Cup or World Championship) by a South African 4-way FS team! The journey is always best described by the traveller and this is what tail Dave Sumter had to say about this World Parachuting Championship experience, the climax of their 2012 season (including 8-way, since our 4-way was on the 8-way too).

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 21


The Voodoo 8-way team Photo by Paul Leslie-Smith

"Man, it feels good to be training again. This year, Voodoo 4-way changed camps from ‘The Untrained’ to the ‘Trained’ - and what a good feeling it was. For too many years we were unable to train seriously - only doing around 50 to 100 jumps a year, and languishing at a 16 average for what felt like forever. This year our circumstances changed and we decided to bang out a big year with six training camps (350 jumps and 12 hours of tunnel). Our goal was to lift our average by two points to an 18 average, and put us a step closer to the milestone 20 average that so few teams reach. We hit this goal in Dubai with an official 17.9 before the ninth round cut, and an 18.6 over the full 10 rounds. "Becoming a trained team again has given us so many positive experiences. We met teams training throughout the year, made new friends, felt the camaraderie of real ‘earned’ competition, and experienced fear, disappointment and joy like never before. When you work hard for something, everything starts to feel a little more important. We treated this world meet like it was our last (we treat every one that way), with it being Dennis’s ninth, Colin’s eighth, Vana’s seventh and my fifth. We were also joined by Erik on camera, and Amy Kirtland, Paul Leslie-Smith and Emile van den Berg for 8-way (all with a bunch of meets too). Bailey Edmund's junior joined us for his first world meet and I’m guessing not his last. Ivan, the previous owner of Empuriabrava, taught Brett Shaw some bicycle tricks that ended badly, and so Brett had to sit this meet out. He was missed!

"For Team Voodoo, we experienced all the emotions of real competition at a whole new level. Being an amateur team, we’ve never really trained to a high level before. The beer guzzling, slightly over-weight and mentally ill-prepared old Voodoo team had to go. This year we made a major effort around fitness, weight loss and mental preparation. Our camps had us giving up beer and getting eight hours of sleep a night. Dennis was handed a weight belt for the very first time and Vana did half a training camp with a broken toe. Ligaments were tweaked, backs were pulled out and ankles were sprained and operated on. Between camps we trained hard, counted calories and spent time preparing ourselves mentally for the precious 350 seconds of free-fall we would have to score 180 points. We also started begging our partners to forgive us for the 60 days away from home.

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"It was a journey that gifted us experiences we’ll never forget. Our camps overlapped with many other teams making a hard push for Dubai. We shared plane rides in Empuriabrava with the French, Belgians, British, Italians and Swiss. And we also bumped into the Swedes, Portuguese, Danes and Norwegians in the tunnel. With Gary coaching both Hayabusa and Voodoo, we were fortunate to train alongside the Belgium boys over multiple camps. It was a special experience seeing real athletes train hard in the sport we love so much. We saw some of their ups - ripping training jumps at speeds never achieved by any other team before. And some of their downs - the boys battling injuries and fighting desperately to stay in the game. We’re so proud of what these guys have achieved this year having seen firsthand all the hard work they’ve put in. They’ve inspired us to start to think like athletes - even if age and genetics are not on our side. They finished second in Dubai, narrowly missing the top spot on the last round. These guys have the potential to push FS to a 30 average at a world meet - I hope I’m there to see it if they do. "Apart from Belgium, we’ve made new friends in other teams too. We had fierce competition from teams like Norway, Australia, Spain, Great Britain, Denmark and many more. It’s hard to describe the feeling of real competition unless you’ve experienced it. It’s a feeling where you want to beat another team really badly, but where you also want them to do well (just not too well). They’re your rivals, but they’re your friends too. You feel sorry for them when they do badly and you’re genuinely happy for them when they do well. And of course you want to take every opportunity to score more points than them.


Canopy pilot hits the water during one of this swoops Photo by Paul Leslie-Smith

Voodoo 4-way team Photo by Paul Leslie-Smith

Voodoo 8-way team preparing for a round Photo by Paul Leslie-Smith

"At world meets, teams compete against their own averages and sub-competitions take place between teams at every level of the scoreboard. This year Voodoo raised its fight a little higher on the scoreboard. Our fight this year was for tenth spot. We had a great fight with the Australian, Swedish and Austrian teams for this spot. These guys fielded great teams this year, with Oz and Sweden beating us to ninth and tenth spots by four and three points. Fortunately this year we didn’t take a beer wager with the Ozzies - although it looks like they were drinking like girls anyway. ;-)

impress and improve the performance of the flag they carry. The more intense the journey, the greater the emotions that are felt on competition day. You know you’ve done everything you can to be prepared, but you also know that it only takes a millisecond of lost concentration to cost your team valuable points. I can easily say that I’ve never been more nervous on round one before. You’re 10,000 feet above water about to exit the airplane, and you know that the first 100 milliseconds out the door can destroy your jump if you make a mistake. Your heart pumps like never before, and all you can do is breath, calm yourself down and tell yourself you’re going to rip it. Everyone in the team experiences these heightened sense of emotions. It was impressive how the team calmed the minds and exited the plane at the right arousal level for each jump.

"The French were predictably magnificent, taking first in the Female category, third in the 4-way Open and second in the 8-way. We shared many plane rides with them in Spain, and so it was great to see their training pay off. Manu, on the French 8-way, has the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen, clearly for playing games and not for watching 8-way videos. You could watch their jumps on an iPhone and still score every point. We had a friendly wager with the Norwegian team too. We’ve seen this team train really hard this year and have met them many times in previous meets. We were delighted to be at a high-enough average to be able to compete with them in 2012. Although they compete in the Female category, they do the same jumps, so scores can be compared. They beat us on some rounds and we beat them on a few too. By round seven, our total scores were dead even. We had a good final round and finished just two points ahead of them. The bottle of champagne they bought us never tasted better! They ended up finishing third in the Female event and earned themselves some shiny new bronze medals. Well done Polaris!

"For Voodoo, the next journey begins. How do we get to a 20 average? The emotions will run deeper. Fear and nervousness will sneak up on us in new ways. Mistakes will cost us more. We will hold each other more accountable and expect more from each other. We will bash heads more, we will feel disappointment occasionally and we will experience the joy of doing better skydives together. We couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for the support of our loved ones. We disappear for 10 days at a time, leaving families behind. They sacrifice holidays for us, we miss important events and we’re not around to help with important stuff. We owe them a lot and will never take their sacrifices for granted, said Dave."

"It’s incredibly rewarding seeing people who share a passion for the same sport taking similar journeys. Some journeys are more intense, such as the Belgians’s. Some are on par and some are slightly less intense. All are fuelled with the same desire to do well, to

Although we only had space here for a couple of athletes, South African skydiving is looking stronger than ever on all fronts and sport skydiving is enjoying exposure and growth that promises some exciting times ahead. Whatever next? •

èRelated articles: • Voodoo 8-way Team Prepares for Skydiving World Championships (Issue 20, p. 20) • Skydiving Disciplines - A World of Opportunity (Issue 6, p. 42) • Why We Jump - A Breath of Fresh Air (Issue 2, p. 32)

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Mondial: An international sporting event comprised of World Parachuting Championships in all IPC competition disciplines (except CP and Para-ski, which may be included or excluded at the option of the organiser), taking place concurrently in the same location. Source: FAI Sporting Code, Section 5.

www.doitnow.co.za | Adventure • 23


inALTITUDE:

Words, Photos & Video: Kobus Bresler

Everest

Getting Ready for your Everest

Base Camp Trek

The thing to remember when travelling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are travelling for.� Louis L’Amour Nepal is an amazing country with a fascinating mix of cultures and religions. From the bustling capital city of Kathmandu to the small mountain villages where you are greeted by friendly and interesting people, who are happy to welcome you to their own little piece of paradise. Most visitors to Nepal are drawn by its natural features, none of which are more awe inspiring than the roof of the world, Mount Everest. And thousands of people from all around the globe visit the birthplace of Buddhism annually in the hope of catching a glimpse of this spectacular massif and all the other amazing peaks surrounding it. Trekking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) has become more than just a slog to high-altitude exposure, sitting between rocks, dust and ice in the hope of clear weather for some of the most amazing photos you will ever take. It is a pilgrimage of self-discovery, and an exploration of a region and people that has no comparison. Due to the increasing number of visitors, the Everest region has become one of the richest in Nepal. All the villages are beautifully maintained and development is ongoing to accommodate all the foreigners on their own pilgrimage.

24 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

So what does it take to successfully complete the hike to EBC and how do you prepare for the journey? After deciding to take on this journey, the first thing to do is start your research. The region offers much more than just the mountains, so if you have the time and budget it is well worth exploring all the attractions in the region, especially considering that you will have to fly halfway around the world to get there. You will need about 18 days to do the EBC trek comfortably, including enough time for acclimatisation. The required budget will depend on a number of factors, such as time of year, flight bookings, your choice of operator and the comfort level you


Namche Bazar

Lukla runway

Cute little girl

would like to experience. Furthermore, you will need to consider what else you would like to do before and after the trek. Do your research well and be clear about your plans to avoid wasting time planning once you are there. Most operators are able to offer you tailored packages to suit your needs and budget. There are a number of ways to get to EBC, but the most popular route requires a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, where you will start your trek on foot. Lukla Airport is considered by many to be the most dangerous airport in the world and the landing is an event you most likely will not experience anywhere else in the world. However, the domestic pilots are highly experienced and you really are in good hands. The trek requires a lot of

time on foot moving from village to village through pristine forest and along large, wild rivers. If nothing else, the scenery will keep you motivated to carry on and before you know it, your day is at an end. The environment changes drastically as you gain altitude, with each day giving you a unique experience. An overall good level of fitness is required, as some days can get long, but you certainly do not have to be a super athlete to do the trek comfortably. All that is required is two to three months of good preparation, such as walking around your neighbourhood and going for hikes in your area. As the day goes on you will pass through the most amazing little villages where you can stop for a tea- or lunch break. This is a great time to rest the legs, put your pack down and catch your breath. The tea houses are all very good and serve up the most amazing dishes with very little to work with. Indulge as much as you can to keep your energy levels and spirit high, and enjoy the trek for what it really is; a journey instead of a destination goal. If you are a complete couch potato and are planning to take on the trek without any physical preparation, then you are in for a surprise (and not a good one either!). So the better prepared you are physically, the better your overall experience will be.

www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle • 25


The Himalaya

Resting at a tea house

Before you start your preparations, it makes sense to consider what you will be taking on. You will be hiking nearly every day with one or two acclimatisation days built in. You will carry a pack every day, and although it will not be very heavy, it may be new to you. As you gain altitude, your body will have to work just a little harder to achieve results. If you take all of this into account, it becomes easier to plan your preparation. Plan exercise that you enjoy and that fits in with your current schedule. It is important that you DO something to get fitter and be more prepared. Lying on the couch won’t get you to EBC and back comfortably or enjoyably! The real challenge of the trek is altitude and unfortunately, this is the one aspect you cannot truly prepare for. Our bodies handle the stress of depleted oxygen and low pressure differently, so there is no way of knowing until you get there, except if you have had a similar experience before. Medication is available to help your body cope with altitude-related problems, but most of these are only available on prescription. A visit to your doctor prior to departure is a good idea. Always tell your guide about any prescription and other medications you decide to use during the trek. Watch out for Nepali tummy, as it will make your trip uncomfortable. Take the right medication with, and keep your hands and face clean. There is ample water and ablutions along the way, so all you need to do is remain disciplined. A small bottle of hand sanitizer will go a long way on a trip like this. Avoid eating red meat in the mountains and be sure to ask your guide for a local explanation of why this is important.

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Having the correct equipment is extremely important. Kitting yourself out can be a costly exercise, but many operators have kit that you can rent. Don’t leave this to the last minute, shop around and get different opinions. Make sure you are comfortable with the kit you buy, as you will be using it. First on your shopping list should be the right boots and socks, so that you can wear the boots in during a few preparation hikes. Your chosen operator should be able to supply you with a detailed gear list to help you make informed decisions. During the trek, you can expect four seasons in a day, with temperatures ranging from very hot to freezing cold. Sleet, ice rain, snow and rain are but a few of the elements you will most likely encounter, but after a day on foot you can look forward to getting dry, comfortable and sorting out your equipment for the next day at a tea house.

There are many other aspects that form part of your preparation, but I’ve touched on the most important ones. What is more important than anything else is researching and booking your trip. Afford yourself the opportunity to visit and explore this incredible region and meet its wonderful people. •

èRelated articles:

• Climbing to the Top of Europe (Issue 19, p. 16) • Summating Africa’s Icy Crown (Issue 18, p. 40) • Finding a New Spirit of Adventure at Everest Base Camp (Digital article June ’12)

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Interesting facts: 1. Everest has two base camps on opposite sides of the mountain. The camp on the north side is in Tibet, at an altitude of 5,150 m. The more popular trekking option is on the southern side in Nepal, at an altitude of 5,380 m. 2. Base camp on the southern side is visited by thousands of people annually, and as a result the Everest region is one of the richest in Nepal. 3. Base camp north provides road access, but in the south supplies are carried in by porters. 4. The best time to attempt the trek is from March to mid-May and from mid-September to November. The rest of the year is very wet with lots of rain and cloud obscuring many of the large mountain views. 5. Bottled water can be bought along the way if you are concerned about Nepali tummy. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to support your body during acclimatisation. 6. The final stretch of the trek across the Khumbu Glacier changes every season due to the dynamic nature of the glacier and movement of the ice fall. 7. Everest is the highest mountain in the world at an altitude of 8,848 m. 8. The cost of your trek can vary between US$800 and US$3,000, depending on all the variables. This excludes flights, taxes and visas.


inTRAIL:

Matthew Holt | Photos: Matthew Holt & Fiona McIntosh

River crossing

Ambling Dragons

with

28 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

There’s something innately satisfying about the concept of a traverse; starting at one side, finishing at the other and dealing with whatever comes in-between. Well, that’s what Richmond and I thought, admittedly after quite a few bottles of wine, when we decided to traverse the Drakensberg.


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By way of introduction, the lofty Drakensberg - or Dragon Mountains - cut South Africa in half and house landlocked Lesotho. Richmond MacIntyre is an old-school adventurer, who tackles gnarly peaks and crocodile-infested rivers the hard way, with minimal backup or support; which is possibly why he’s 59, but looks like 70.

Along the escarpment

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Traversing the Drakensberg was not an original idea. For our inspiration we owed Gavin Raubenheimer, who in February 1999 completed the trip within five days, establishing some ground rules in the process. Thereafter, to claim a so-called ‘Grand Traverse’, one must start at the Sentinel, finish at Bushman’s Nek and summit six designated peaks along the way. Other than that, however, one’s free to choose one’s own route. In fact, that’s the nub; for with no paths or signposts, the traverse takes up to 250 km, depending on your navigator’s nous. And while most sensible parties take over a week, it has been run within 61 hours. The fundamental choice was whether to go fast and light, possibly bailing if a storm hit, or slow and heavy, carrying enough food and shelter to sit out bad weather. We plumped for the latter, targeting five days, which wouldn’t break any speed records but might allow us to enjoy the scenery and ensure we finished. Richmond was to handle the navigation, I would arrange the transport and we also roped in my wife, Fiona, on the grounds she had contact numbers for Natal Mountain Rescue.

At the end of the first day, we lay huddled in our tent, wind buffeting the side panels and rain dripping through the canvas. Richmond morosely counted down the gap between the flashes and thunder claps, until we were in the epicentre of the storm. You might say things hadn’t gone to plan. Having spent the previous night at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge, we’d cadged a lift from the manager up to the Sentinel car park that morning. At the park gate, we’d sat in the heated car contemplating the swirling damp mist, summoning the courage to start. "You won’t get there by looking at it," prompted the manager, unloading our packs from the boot. At 07h30 we set off, following the path beneath the Sentinel and up towards the amphitheatre. Scaling the chain ladders, we broke through the clouds into blue sky and sunshine. Then, we hacked over to Mont-aux-Sources (3,282 m), the first of the six obligatory peaks on our trip. It was a clear, blustery day, almost perfect conditions for hiking. But no matter how hard we pushed, we couldn’t make meaningful progress. My legs felt like treacle and my lungs like paper bags. With hindsight, we hadn’t really considered the implication of abruptly ascending to over 3,000 m and trying to speed march across rough ground under 15 kg packs. By 17h30, we’d managed just 28 km, woefully short of our target. We dejectedly called it a day and pitched our tent in a small notch overlooking Cathedral Peak. The storm arrived minutes later. As the trip wore on, we became acclimatised and our packs got lighter, and we averaged 40 km per day. However, there was never an easy kilometre. Rather naively, I’d presumed the top of the Drakensberg to be flat. Instead, over 30 perpendicular ridges obstructed our way and we climbed and descended some 1,300 m daily. Route finding was also far from simple. Though we carried maps and a GPS, it still took time to assess the lie of the land and plot a course through the rock bands. On the other hand, after the first night’s storm, the weather was kind and only once did we have to erect our tent during the day to sit out a downpour. We would wake at 04h30, break camp around 06h00, and walk till dusk. We had hoped to stay in caves, but could never find them. So, instead, our accommodation was a lightweight tent in which two would have been company but three was a crowd, especially after several days without washing or changing underwear.

While we didn’t meet any other hikers on our journey, we did encounter several parties of Basotho men, with large, bulky sacks. Invariably, they’d be lurking at the tops of passes, waiting for darkness to steal down with their cargos. We’d shout exaggerated cheery greetings and speed on, casting furtive glances over our shoulders. To be fair, we never felt under threat; they were far too preoccupied with their illicit business. The scenery in the northern Berg was classic alpine terrain: sharp peaks, deep valleys and steep flanks, around which we contoured, pondering precipitous drops. As we moved further south and deeper into Lesotho, the mountains became rounder, the river valleys broader and the landscape more pastoral. The corollary was that it also became more populated. There were no women, just men and young boys uniformly clad in woollen blankets, tatty shorts and rubber gumboots. Wading through innumerable stony rivers and shin-deep bogs, we envied their footwear. While the Basotho shepherds seemed generously disposed towards a trio of foreigners stumbling through their territory, the Basotho dogs were a different matter. Each kraal was guarded by a pack, which sprang to attention as we passed. Thankfully, during the day, they were kept chained up and could only strain on their leashes, snarling and barking. Richmond delighted in baiting them, gesticulating and shouting insults. At night, however, when the dogs were let loose, he wasn’t so brave. And when we got caught out after dusk, amongst some kraals, we stuck tight together, hiking poles gripped like epees and pepper sprays primed. The six designated peaks form the common nodes linking a Grand Traverse, but otherwise they’re a mixed bunch. After Mont-aux-Sources came Cleft Peak (3,281 m), which we climbed shrouded in cloud and spurred on by approaching rolls of thunder. Champagne Castle (3,377 m) was the most disappointing; two cairns on a slight hump, which we passed over barely noticing. The fourth, Mafadi (3,450 m), was the most unusual; a tabletop terrace pitted with rock pools, with an unprepossessing cairn marking South Africa’s high point. The fifth, Giant’s Castle (3,314 m), was the most dramatic: set out from the escarpment like a watchtower. We arrived there late on the fourth day and, after camping at its base, scrambled to the summit just after dawn.

The final peak on our route was Thabana Ntlenyana (3,482 m), the highest point in Africa south of Tanzania’s Mount Meru.

Its name means ‘beautiful little mountain’, which is wrong on two counts. We climbed it the same day as Giant’s Castle, slogging along meandering river valleys, before making the steep uphill haul. Reaching the top in late afternoon, we paused just long enough to take some photos, as menacing black storm clouds scudded up the valley towards us. We’d no sooner raced off than the bombardment of rain and lightning started.

www.doitnow.co.za | Adventure • 31


Contemplating Giant's Castle

We spent that night at Sani Mountain Lodge, on top of Sani Pass. It seemed worth the 5 km detour; two of our inflatable mattresses had punctures and camping had lost its allure. We recognised the risk of flirting with comfort, but also reckoned that - with 55 km to Bushman’s Nek - we could make a big push and get out the next day. Consciences salved, we settled into a three-course dinner in Africa’s highest pub. There were no easy days on the Grand Traverse, but the sixth day was definitely the toughest. While there were no more peaks to climb, there were still numerous ridges and it felt like we were running a never-ending steeplechase, with the fences getting progressively higher. As the day stole by, the weather also turned against us. Come late afternoon, we were blanketed in cloud, blundering along a steep flank, desperately trying to locate Thomathu Pass, which led down to Bushman’s Nek. Eventually, we had to concede defeat and that we were lost. Disconsolately pitching our tent on a small saddle, we decided to wait till the following day. At sunset the visibility briefly cleared, offering a panorama of gilded mountain tops sailing on a sea of marmalade clouds. It was a spectacular spot, but not where we wanted to be.

The way ahead

Early the next morning, we traversed around Thomathu Peak and limped down the pass to the Bushman’s Nek border post. Our Grand Traverse had finally ended, after six days and 30 minutes, 240 km and 9,400 m of ascent. "What did you think of the trip?" enquired Richmond. My right ankle felt fractured, my left knee felt like glass, my lips looked like I had herpes and I’d lost almost 10% of my body weight. I honestly thought it one of the hardest things I’d ever done. But I couldn’t tell that to Richmond.

"A pleasant amble in the hills," I ventured. "Precisely," he said, studying me carefully. I hope he was lying too. •

èRelated articles:

• All Along the Watchtowers (Issue 19, p. 22) • 9 Provinces, 9 Peaks and 9 Packs in 9 Days (Issue 11, p. 51) • Trad Climbing in the Drakensberg (Issue 8, p. 42)

dinFO box Thomathu Pass

32 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

i

1. The Drakensberg Grand Traverse (DGT) starts at the Sentinel car park, finishes at Bushman’s Nek border post (via Thomathu Pass) and takes in Mont-auxSources, Cleft Peak, Champagne Castle, Mafadi, Giant’s Castle and Thabana Ntlenyana. Depending on your route, it will likely involve between 210 km and 250 km. 2. Most parties go in either April-May or SeptemberNovember, hoping to avoid the winter snows and summer thunderstorms. Whenever you go, be prepared for bad weather. 3. In July 2010, Ryno Griesel and Cobus van Zyl completed the DGT in 60h30m. Most parties take six to twelve days. 4. Carlos Gonzalez offers guided Drakensberg traverses (www.spanafrican-adventures.co.za).


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inTRAIL:

Words: Lisa de Speville | Photos: Lisa de Speville & Jan Kocbach/WorldofO.com

The

Competitiveness of Orienteering Just as rugby dominates in South Africa but lacks popularity in, say, Costa Rica, so it is with the sport of orienteering. Participation here is small, but in Scandinavian countries entries at major events exceed that of Comrades Marathon numbers, and supporters at home sit glued to their flat screens watching live broadcasts of the events or following GPS tracking of runners online. The principle of orienteering is simple: move at speed from control point to control point by choosing your own routes (navigating) through diverse and unfamiliar terrain using a specially created orienteering map. Sure, any map including topographical maps and aerial images - can be used for orienteering-like events, but detailed orienteering maps prepared on a ‘human scale’ are far more accurate and allow for precise navigation. ‘Human scale’ means that features a person notices whilst moving through an area are included on the map; waist-high boulders, dense patches of vegetation (thickets) and even a onemetre deep hole in the ground will be represented on orienteering maps. This sport of map and compass navigation has been around since the late 1800s and while ski, mountain bike and paddle orienteering are gaining popularity, foot orienteering is the oldest and most popular. South African orienteers have been travelling abroad for some years to participate in events like the Scottish 6-Days, Sweden’s five-day O-ringen, the annual World Orienteering Championships (WOC) and Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC). At the 2012 WOC in Switzerland, Johannesburg medical student Michael Crone made South African orienteering history when he made it through the qualifier and into the final of the Sprint event. This is the first time that a South African has made the final (only the top 15 runners from each of the three qualifiers go into the final) and while Crone didn’t have a great run in the final, just getting in was his goal and - like Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile - it made the rest of the local community sit up and cheer, “It can be done!”

34 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

Highly competitive

Course options at events like the WOC include Sprint (winning time of 12-15 minutes; usually more urban terrain), Middle (winning time of 30 minutes) and Long (winning time of 75-90 minutes) events. In Sprint races, the podium finishers may be separated by a few seconds and anyone more than 30 seconds off the winning time will feature lower than 15th place. Middle and Long distance courses separate the athletes a little more because of the additional distance and more demanding terrain.


Michael Crone in the Sprint final at WOC 2012 the first South African to make a final. Photo Jan Kocbach / WorldofO.com

“The international elite world is very competitive. However, there are a few individuals who still stand head and shoulders above the rest and are often firm favourites in certain types of terrain. Thierry Gueorgiou of France and Simone Niggli of Switzerland are two of the most notable. Thierry has dominated the Middle distance event in the sport for many years now, particularly in more technical terrain types. Simone is even more dominant and is probably the best orienteer that the world has ever seen. She has accumulated 20 world championship gold medals over the years, which is so far ahead of the next person in history that it is staggering,” explains Nicholas Mulder. A regular and consistent WOC competitor, Mulder has had the role of High Performance Manager, within the South African Orienteering Federation (SAOF), for two years. He provides coaching to the junior orienteering squad and manages the team at JWOC.

Mulder adds that there are certainly eight to 10 men in contention for individual gold medal wins at the 2013 World Orienteering Championships. The women’s field holds less depth, with only four or five women vying for the top spot.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 35


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. Orienteering on school properties is not all about paved walkways and manicured lawns! 2. An electronic timing system is most often used at events. The EMIT tag confirms that you've located the correct controls in the correct order.

Leading countries

“Scandinavian countries have long been a leading force in orienteering,” says Jeremy Green. He has participated in the Middle and Long distance events at a number of WOC events, most recently in 2012. He also held the ‘Development’ portfolio on the SAOF committee until he moved to the United States mid-2012. “They have a tradition of orienteering and it is a recognised and respected sport in most schools. There are even dedicated orienteering schools available for top performers,” Green adds. Mulder lists Norway, Sweden and Finland as the top dogs. “However,” he says, “Switzerland has emerged over the last 10 years as the new big name and they can now take on and beat the other three on a regular basis, even though they have a much smaller orienteering population. Other countries with one or two good individuals that compete at the top are France, Russia and Britain.” We’re lower down in the rankings, but we’re in good company with many other non-European countries such as Brazil, USA, Canada, Turkey and Israel. “We are even ahead of some countries like Holland and Hong Kong,” says Mulder. As Mulder states, “The more orienteers you have, the more top orienteers you have.” Sweden, Norway and Finland have tens of thousands of active orienteers, while in South Africa we only have a few hundred regular participants.

The right terrain

Unlike straight-up running disciplines where all you have to do is run, orienteering is a dash more intensive in its requirements, as competitive orienteers must be fast off-road runners with unsurpassed navigation abilities. Competitive and championship orienteering events are traditionally held in forested areas, but they’re not the same as our forests, which have less features. Those in the northern latitudes (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia) cover formerly glaciated regions. They’re termed ‘technically demanding’ as visibility is low (you can’t see other runners even 50-metres away), highly complex (many features like pits, rock and water features, ditches, knolls, vegetation variations and cliffs) and there’s random micro topography (think mini hills and valleys that overlap all over the place). This terrain is a bit of a shock to South Africans as we typically run in rocky and grassy Highveld terrain and comparatively tame and friendly forested areas. As a result, at WOC we generally compete against other nations that also do not have much forest orienteering. Typically we’re up against Ireland, USA, Canada and Japan.

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“I think that we have quite a way to go before we will be competitive in forest. You definitely need to live overseas so that you are able to compete regularly in this terrain on high-quality forest maps,” says Michael Crone. Last year Crone became the first South African EVER to make a final at the World Orienteering Championships in the Sprint event, which is more urban. The event in which Crone featured took place on a university campus. Sarah Pope’s first international event was a fiveday event in Sweden when she was only 14. She has since attended numerous Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) events. “I think Michael has shown that good performances in the Sprint are possible while living here in South Africa, but good performances in Middle and Long require being out in relevant terrain multiple times a week,” she says. Pope is currently at Wits University. She and other local junior orienteers are keen to do Masters degrees at universities in orienteering countries so that they can benefit from top coaching and the right terrain for training.

Club structures

For a country’s orienteers to develop it is crucial that there are clubs with regular and structured coaching programmes, especially for young orienteers in the developmental years of childhood. “Switzerland and France have been very active here in the past and it is bearing fruit,” says Mulder. “We’re still working at the base of the sport development pyramid, which is about getting more people into orienteering and providing coaching and support at youth level. This will result in creating 'good' orienteers. A high-performance programme is the next step to offer experience in international races and technical terrain to get them to the top. “Switzerland and Britain have worked hard on their high-performance programmes and they’ve have been successful,” says Mulder. “However, this tends to only produce one or two world-class athletes, unless there’s constant development over numerous years through strong club structures and youth coaching,” he added.


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FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens 2. The Jo'burg based Orienteering Schools League continues to improve in competitiveness

We’re moving towards this. The South African Orienteering Federation has received funding from the Department of Sport and Recreation and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund to create a school orienteering programme (two levels currently available) and to train coaches. In October 2011, eight experienced orienteers from Cape Town and Jo’burg attended a coaching course presented by two trainers from the British Orienteering Federation. These orienteers aim to establish accessible and structured coaching sessions within their clubs.

Cunning running

Being a competitive orienteer is a fine balance between being a fast runner on uneven, off-road terrain and an accurate navigator able to make snap decisions on route options. “It is definitely about running faster and we also need to compete more often against other athletes at world-ranking level,” says Crone. He had the opportunity to spend four weeks in Switzerland before racing in the WOC Sprint, where he made it through the qualifiers and into the final. Crone added, “This gave me the opportunity to get used to the mapping style and I was also able to race often against faster runners before the WOC.” Green agrees that there’s a need for more speed from South African orienteers. “This implies that we need to train orienteers to run faster or attract fast runners to orienteering. Orienteers don't have to be super fast, but they do need to be faster than we are currently to be competitive on the world stage - like running five kilometres in 15 minutes type of fast.” Green commends Crone’s focus and commitment to training, which paid off at WOC. “Arguably he is the only athlete since Nicholas [Mulder] to really take orienteering seriously. He got a training plan and followed it and he attended athletics training at Wits with top cross-country and track athletes. Michael trained for orienteering weekly, more than simply attending the regular weekend club events and occasional training camps.”

Yes, we can!

Orienteering in South Africa has come a long way in 30 years, but it still has a way to go before our runners are in the top rankings at big events abroad. Crone proved that a sufficiently motivated athlete, with the resources currently available here, can make the Sprint final at WOC. And with more coaching and international training opportunities, it is only a matter of time before the current junior orienteers make their mark in the Middle and Long events. •

èRelated articles:

• Untamed Adventure Racing (Digital article, September ’12) • Basic Navigation Skills - Part 2 (Issue 19, p. 78) • Basic Navigation Skills - Part 1 (Issue 18, p. 72)

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World Games

Orienteering features in the World Games, a major sporting event that happens every four years (in the year following the Olympic year) and includes sporting disciplines that are not contested at the Olympics. Orienteering first featured in 2001 and will again be presented at the 2013 World Games in Colombia.

School orienteering The SAOF has developed a school orienteering programme. The first level, ‘O in a Box’ Level 1 does not require the school to be mapped, nor does the teacher require any orienteering experience. The necessary equipment for the games and activities is provided to the school free of change during a one-hour handover where interested teachers are taught how to play the many orienteering games. Here, the focus is on teaching map orientation, representation and the relationship between symbols on a map and features on the ground and distance and scale. The second ‘O in a Box’ level is a little more map focused, although most of the games do not require the school to be mapped. Again the teacher needs nothing more than an interest in orienteering to run the activities. Orienteering experience helps, but is not necessary. The annual Gauteng Orienteering Schools League runs from February to March. For more on this contact: o4schools@orienteering.co.za or visit www.orienteering.co.za.


inGEAR:

Words, Photos & Video: Otto Helberg

Riding the Dream IN Central America I recently returned from an amazing 10 week bike tour through Central America, a unique place with a whole lot of diversity. Although each country has its own identity, they share a central theme: a stranger in their land is always welcome. All the people I met along the way were always friendly, open and warm. This journey reminded me of home and how proud I am to be South African, because when you spend lots of time away from your country, you realise just how much you miss and love it. C

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I’ve been based outside South Africa for the last five years and for most of that time I worked on yachts, sailing around the Mediterranean, Caribbean and other parts of the globe. My love for creation, nature and the outdoors was what motivated me to go on a solo adventure into the unknown. That and my desire to make a difference and change the world we live in. So I quit my job in France, flew to Los Angeles, got my gear together and headed to Mexico City to explore this incredible country by bike. I was finally riding the dream, and living life! Otto in Panama, between Santiago and Penonome Panama City

With more than 20 million people living in its metropolitan area (the third largest city in the world), I knew it was going to be exciting from the first turn of my wheel. I got on my bike at 6 a.m. and was greeted by traffic that surrounded me all the way out. I noticed that the bus lane was quiet; it was the place to be, until one bus chased me from behind. Like a fan on a formula one track, I did not belong. Alonso wanted me out of there! So I moved over to the sidewalk and carried on. My first fork in the road came when I had to make a decision between the toll road and national road. Remembering advice from other bikers I opted for the toll road, with a big shoulder and less traffic. Leaving metropolitan Mexico behind, I climbed 50 km to reach an altitude of more than 3,000 m, and after cycling 90 km I reached Cuernavaca. 

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K


Spectacular view of the vineyards. Fresh country breeze. Birds chirping and singing. A mouthful of dust coated bugs. What a perfect escape.

Entries are open: Entries limited to 600 solo riders (no team categories) Entries close: 31 January 2013 Queries: info@grapeescape.co.za Info & online entries: www.grapeescape.co.za STAGE & DATE

GRAPE ESCAPE

START:

FINISH:

ROUTE ROUTE DISTANCE ELEVATION

Stage 1: Riebeek Kasteel Primary DJ de Villiers Stadium 75km Thursday, 28 Feb (Riebeeck Kasteel) (Wellington)

1628m

Stage 2: Friday, 1 March

DJ de Villiers Stadium 60km (Wellington)

1788m

Boschendal Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)

1806m

DJ de Villiers Stadium (Wellington)

DJ de Villiers Stadium Stage 3: Saturday, 2 March (Wellington)

70km

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Next up was Guatemala and my first day was one of the toughest of my entire journey. Starting off at an altitude of 150 m, I climbed to well over 3,000 m. After 13 tough hours I reached the town of San Marco Sacatepéquez, nestled high up in the mountains. The views were spectacular and the weather very pleasant; it's not called 'the country of eternal spring' for nothing. While fixing a flat tyre, I met an American who originally came here on vacation and loved it so much that he decided to stay on and live out his remaining days learning the languages of the local tribes and giving back to the community. He rides his mountain bike to the village everyday and gave me some great advice: “You should go tubeless,” he cried out. Volcanoes towered over me throughout most of Guatemala, and the cooler weather was a warm welcome as Mexico was one of the hottest places I've experienced in my life.

My next destination was El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America. It was also the least expensive, and for US$5 I could get a room, and sometimes breakfast too. Friendly people, black sandy beaches, a rich inheritance and stunning landscapes made this visit well worth it. Cutting through the south side of Honduras, I only spent two nights there as it had recently experienced political unrest, although there was not much evidence to the traveller. Arriving in Nicaragua, referred to as ‘the land of lakes and volcanoes’, I was welcomed by a riot. Protesters had blocked the road and I was unable to get through. I started to get really nervous about the situation when one guy stopped and grabbed me by the shoulder. During our struggle I heard an explosive sound and knew it was time to leave, so I pushed him out of the way and high tailed it out of there through a gap. Nicaragua was turning out to be quite the challenge because soon after that incident, I was involved in an accident. It happened while I was talking to two Germans, who were on their way to Patagonia. A loud noise changed the atmosphere and one of the German’s went down. I managed to avoid the crash by jumping off my bike before it hit the ground. In the ensuing chaos, we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of Nicaraguan commuters lecturing us on how to cycle; the blame game was being played. Thankfully, my new German friend was ok, even though the back of his head was bleeding and he had bruises down his side. We established that a money collector had been hanging out the open door of a passing bus and his arm had collided with my friend’s helmet, causing him to crash into the bus. The police took him to a hospital, and once stitched up the Germans were back on the road that same day. Not far from the capital lies one of my favorite Central America towns, Granada. It's a typical colonial town rich in history, but has a rough feel to it. Although it's flooded with travellers, you can still enjoy authentic street markets, good food, restaurants and cafés, as well as experience Latino chaos in the heart of Nicaragua. Ex-pats are plentiful too, and it wasn't hard to understand why they chose to stay behind and settle down here.

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Cycling to Costa Rica was like entering a scene from Jurassic Park, but without the dinosaurs. The rainforest was full of life and the birds were singing a welcoming song in harmony with the trees. The country is more expensive than the others and is called the ‘Switzerland of Central America’ by backpackers. The beaches are beautiful, with plenty to choose from, and surfing seems to be the favorite sport. So I joined the fun and enjoyed a few good waves to cool me down. Feeling recharged and refreshed, I was ready to move on. Leaving Costa Rica, I headed to Panama, hugging the Caribbean Coast as I prepared myself for the climb back over the mountains to reach Panama City. There is no road that leads to the capital in the north side, and the only road that does exists lies to the south. However, just before this climb the rear wheel of my bike gave way. Replacing it in the small border town of Sixaola was no easy task, but I managed to replace it with a children’s bicycle wheel, and was now pedalling on grace.

With only a week or so left before I reached my final destination, I made my way to the top of Reserva Forestal De Fortuna. The views over Costa Rica on the one side and Panama on the other were spectacular. The closer I got to Panama City, the tougher the challenge became. I had five flat tyres in one day and cycled through terrible thunderous storms and heavy rain. I continued to meet wonderful people along the way, all with an interesting story and their own unique dreams and desires for their time on earth. It reminded me how short our time was and that we should make every second count. Rolling into Panama City was a blessing. Although it was sad to finish the page and close a chapter, I was filled with joy knowing that I'd accomplished my goal. Some 4,700 km and 72 days later I had reached the end of my trip. I had cycled on highways, byways, national roads, toll roads, dirt roads and no roads. I had embarked on a journey to change the world and in the process I had changed. My heart opened up and I saw Love, Peace and Joy alongside Suffering, Poverty and Sadness. My message to everyone is DO SOMETHING. Anything. Doing something is better than doing nothing. If all of us do something we CAN change the world. My life will continue to bring Hope to the Hopeless, and that is why I am alive. I will do more adventures in the future, such as a long run, a local bike ride and maybe even climb a few mountains. Everyone has a dream and if we don’t live the dream, it will remain a dream. There will always be an excuse to not go on a life-changing adventure. There is no better time than now. Go. DO IT NOW! •

èRelated articles:

• Cycling the Alps (Issue 17, p. 24) • Across the Spine of Taiwan (Issue 15, p.22) • Tanzanian Daredevils (Issue 15, p. 36)

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Total distances and places travelled through:

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: 1. Guatemala, Antigua 2. Mexico, between Acapulco and Cruz Grande 3. Mexico, Olintepec, Cuatla 4. Nicaragua, a market in Granada 5. Nicaragua, Granada

1. Mexico (1,720 km - a total of 25 days, six rest days) 2. Guatemala (490 km - a total of 11 days, four rest days) 3. El Salvador (495 km - a total of 10 days, two rest days) 4. Honduras (160 km - a total of two days, no rest days) 5. Nicaragua (430 km - a total of seven days, two rest days) 6. Costa Rica (725 km - a total of nine days, two rest days) 7. Panama (685 km - a total of eight days, no rest days) For more information visit Otto’s Facebook page: Onecycle

www.doitnow.co.za | Adventure • 43


inGEAR:

Words: Patrick Cruywagen | Photos: Alison Cole

Pantastic! The dry and dusty Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana are one of the most inhospitable yet beautiful places on earth. So why would anybody want to drive there in a Mercedes-Benz ML500 4MATIC and then cycle 150 km across them? Patrick Cruywagen searches for the answers. It is a roasting 40°C outside, but inside the cabin of my ML it is like London on a summer’s day; nice and cool, thanks to one of the most sophisticated climate control systems ever fitted to a vehicle. The ML is fully laden with four adults and three mountain bikes, and we are towing an Echo Roadster trailer, with all our camping gear in it. Behind us in a Land Rover Defender (kindly provided by Land Rover Centurion) is Jonty Rhodes, my mate and former South African cricket player, and his partner, Caroline McClelland. Our mission in Botswana is simple; we want to become the first people to cycle across the Makgadikgadi Pans. But first I need to hand over my gate pass to the guard on the Botswana side of the Martin's Drift border post. I pray to the travelling gods that he doesn't ask to search my vehicle and trailer, not because we are carrying anything illegal, but rather because of the inconvenience of having to leave my perfectly ventilated seat. He waves us on, even though his eyes have that 'don’t

44 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

you have an ice cold coke for me' look. He obviously didn't see our ARB fridge in the boot. We are in, and our Great Makgadikgadi Pans Mountain Bike Adventure is about to begin. When I towed for the first time, my mentor told me to drive as if there was nothing behind me. Now with over 300 kW of power and 600 Nm of torque at my disposal, delivered courtesy of one of the finest V8 engines around, I constantly find myself switching on the rear camera just to make sure the trailer is still there. Jonty is struggling to keep up in his Defender Puma, but once we hit the pans the playing fields will be levelled. I have to admit that I am a little nervous, as some of the other vehicles joining us include a Nissan Navara and the toast of Botswana; the Toyota Land Cruiser, and I am not sure how the ML will handle the rough stuff.


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Botswana is one of my most favourite places on earth, the only problem is that hundreds and thousands of other people also feel that way. This explains why, when taking a boat trip on the Chobe River or camping at that famous Khwai River community campsite, you will almost always find yourself surrounded by many other like-minded travellers. So when deciding to host a MTB ride in Botswana, myself and event partner Oom Ben Moller, the owner of Elephant Sands Lodge, knew that we had to come up with something rather special. We also knew there's only one place in Botswana where you can see the curvature of the earth and that's the 12,000 km² Makgadikgadi Pans. They are so vast yet 4x4 vehicles can only drive around the edges, even when at their driest. The reason is that just below the crusty, white surface of the pan is black, vehicle-stopping mud. However, bicycles would be able to cross provided the pans are not filled with water. Our plan for the MTB ride is simple. We will first do a north to south crossing of Sowa Pan, sleep at Kubu Island, then ride along the ridgeline between Sowa and Ntwetwe Pans before doing a south to north crossing of Ntwetwe Pan. It is 150 km of mountain bike riding over three days, while the vehicles will have to drive around the pan's edges and meet us at the overnight spots. We enter the pans just west of Nata, having turned south off the A3, and soon trees and people are a thing of the past. For most this is their first visit, so we stop for an impromptu photo session and celebratory drink. We have made it here, but will we survive the adventure?

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Choosing a camp spot is difficult because you want to stay on the dry edges of the pan, but still have the feeling of being surrounded by it. This is where local knowledge comes in and we were fortunate to have Pierre van der Bol with us, probably one of the most knowledgeable people on the pans. Pierre has explored almost every inch of them in his lightweight beach buggy, and will be leading the cyclists across the pans. Oom Ben misjudges the surface of the pan near our campsite and before you can say 'Jagermeister', his Land Cruiser has sunk into the mud. I unhook my trailer and go to help him.

The first day's ride is just under 50 km long and a straight line towards Kubu Island. After a hearty bacon and egg brekkie, the riders start at 7 a.m. while the vehicles take the long way round. As I am cycling, I reluctantly hand Oom Ben the keys to my ML and after giving him a quick lesson on how to drive we are off. The one advantage of riding is that you don’t have to break up camp. But who would get to Kubu first, the bikes or the vehicles?

My ML500 is equipped with a R23 000 on and off-road package, and now we are going to need it. Basically this means the centre diff-lock is 100% lockable, it has low range and special undercarriage protection plates. In addition, it has special off-road algorithms for the ABS, ETS, ESP® and air suspension. I push the necessary centre console buttons and the animation on the command display confirms we are ready to go. For R23 000 you don’t get a snatch strap, so I borrow one and with hardly any effort I pull the Cruiser out. In Ben’s defence, the marie biscuit tyres are not ideal for the pans, though all the locals use them in the bush. For good measure we recover Ben’s trailer too. The ML has passed the first tough off-road test.

The first couple of hours fly by, as they normally do on the first day of a ride, and we maintain a good average speed of around 15 km/h. Then for the first time we see Kubu Island, our overnight stop and a baobabcovered, rocky outcrop on the 12,000 km² Makgadikgadi Pans. The only problem is it isn’t getting any closer and seems to remain a distant haze, even though my GPS says it is only 10 km away. It has already been a long day and the crunchy, moon-like surface of the pans is beginning to claim its victims.

Despite the starkness of the landscape, the loneliness of the place and difficulty of the changing sands of the pans, there is a sense of us all forging a new path. This is, as we often remind ourselves, the first time that an organised mountain bike trip has taken place across the famous pans. Even Jeremy Clarkson and his cronies from Top Gear featured the pans in one of their motoring adventures. But us mountain bikers … we are trail blazers.

By now it is well over 40°C as we pass the bony remains of, what was once, a cow. George, an adventurer rather than a mountain biker, has had enough and decides to climb off his bike and walk, citing a sore butt. It is really just an excuse, but luckily our back-up quad is able to ferry him to the overnight stop. After much blood, sweat and gears we all reach Kubu, but the vehicles are nowhere to be seen, so we find some shade and wait. About an hour later, the ML appears, followed by the rest of the convoy. At 67 km this is the longest riding day and I decide there and then to start an hour earlier on day two. As we leave, the sun starts to rise over Kubu, a truly special experience.

www.doitnow.co.za | Adventure • 47


After good summer rains, the pans fill with water and become a haven for bird life. Thousands of lesser and greater flamingos flock here to breed and at peak times can number over 100,000. So the only time one can cycle across the pans is towards the end of winter; when they’re dry and before the rains come. Day two provides a challenge of a different kind; a ridge run between the two pans. And so the first 15 km is along a rutted, rocky and at times powdery ridgeline. On this occasion the weather gods smile upon us and provide ample cloud cover. To get to Ntwetwe Pan we cycle along a fence for 10 km before heading north and into a headwind. This time the vehicles did beat us to the campsite. The ML is more than holding its own against some of the more established 4x4s in the convoy. However, when we take the road to Gweta for a quick shower after the second day's ride, a hidden rock tears into one of its sidewalls. A plug is not working, so we have to use a smaller spare, not ideal but we don’t have a choice. Fortunately when driving home via Francistown we manage to find a full-size spare at Hi-Q, even though it is Independence Day. In hindsight, I should have bought a full-sized spare along.

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The northern part of Ntwetwe Pan forms a long, thin finger, just like ET’s. Where it hits the tar of the district road is where we finish our final day of biking - a 36 km ride on pure pan. Once again the surface varies continuously, so our average speed is around the 16 km/h mark. The cold and wind make things a little tougher, but before we know it the bikes and support vehicles are reunited. With our bikes loaded, we head to Elephant Sands, just north of Nata. We reflect on what had been an historic first crossing of the Sowa and Ntwetwe Pans, as we chug on a few beers and elephants play in the water hole just metres from us. We have shown that it is possible to mountain bike across the pans, while the ML has shown that it can ride along with the Cruisers and Defenders. •

èRelated articles:

• The Different Faces of Africa (Digital article, August '12) • Facing our Giants in Eden (Digital article, June '12) • Biking Botswana (Issue 20, p. 50)

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Accommodation

Elephant Sands lies about 50 km north of Nata, and is a very popular stopover for those heading towards Kasane or the Chobe National Park. They have a campsite, chalets, pool, bar and elephants. For more details see www.elephantssands.com or bookings@ elephantsandsbotswana.com.

What we towed

The Echo Roadster was perfect for our needs, as we required loads of packing space for all our gear. In both on and off-road situations we barely felt the trailer. The nose

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cone provided a little extra packing room, while we loaded a makorro onto the galvanised top for the journey home! For more details see www.echo4x4.co.za.

Join the Great Makgadikgadi Pans Mountain Bike Adventure in 2013

If you would like to join us, visit www.makpans.com or contact Patrick Cruywagen on busheditor@gmail.com. The cost is R5 990 per rider and includes: meals, three nights on the pans and two nights in a chalet at Elephant Sands. The 2013 event will be held from 31 July to 3 August.


inGEAR:

Words & Photos: Dorette de Swardt | Video: Guillaume de Swardt

JUMP!

A Glimpse into

Ethiopia

Having made it through the Moyale route in northern Kenya, the long and rough ride in a cattle truck, in bandit country, turned out to be two of Guillaume, my husband, and my favourite days out of the 153 we spent driving through Africa on our 150 cc delivery bike. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt were the only three countries left, and we were going to dash through them like lightning - or so we thought.

The first part of our dashing was to be done in Ethiopia, a country we are familiar with as we had been there on a quick visit a year ago. This was to be followed by a couple of days in Sudan, just a ‘transit country’, before heading to Egypt, the end of the line. We thought we were in the clear as soon as we got off the truck in the town of Moyale, situated on the border between Kenya and Ethiopia. It’s funny though how things are never quite what they seem, because as soon as you think you have figured it out, you realise that you actually have no idea.

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As with all the countries that came before and the two that followed, our entry into Ethiopia was filled with euphoria; as we never thought we would make it this far up the continent on our bike and so every border crossing was a personal achievement. The smell of injerra (the national dish of Ethiopia and an acquired taste) and home-brewed gin served in jerry cans,


FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: 1. Making injerra 2. Goofing around with some local kids in Addis Ababa 3. A traditional coffee ritual 4. Some local kids taking care of the cattle 5. On the way to Gonder after the rain

mixed with the scent of open fires and coffee brewing, was just the warm kind of welcome we needed after the dust of Moyale. In all honesty, we were looking forward to the many delights that Ethiopia has to offer, including the low-cost local gin, its friendly people and cheap lifestyle. However, injerra is definitely the one thing we don’t ever want to see again! Ethiopians love injerra! Not only is it their staple food, but it looks as though this yeasty, flat bread is the only food available in this country. The runny dough is made from teff and left in the sun for days to ferment, to give it an unusual taste and texture, before it is made in much the same way we would make pancakes. Once you have had it for breakfast, dinner and lunch for a couple of days in a row, you’ll never want to eat it again, trust me! Apart from the horrid meals, we absolutely adored Ethiopia. Everything about this little land-locked country on the Horn of Africa is unique. The way they dress, the ancient orthodox churches, the coffee rituals (where they brew coffee on coals, burn incense and then serve it with popcorn) and the rich history and traditions preserved by a proud nation that was never really colonialised, distinguishes it from all the other countries on the continent we’ve seen. Ethiopia is a special place, but it's mostly associated with the great famine from 1983 to 1985. It was a horrific time that led to more than 400,000 deaths. Thankfully, this has long passed and there is so much more to be seen than starving children and dead cattle. Places of interest include Lalibela, famous for its monolithic rock-cut churches, the picturesque ruins in Gonder or Lake Tana, the origin of the Blue Nile. If you just dig a little, you will find a thousand things to love about Ethiopia. For us it was the small things that made our time here so amazing and interesting. For example, in 2012 it was only the year 2005 in Ethiopia because they have their own calendar with 13 months! When deep in conversation, in Amharic, one of their main languages, you don’t nod to indicate that you are still listening or agreeing with what the person is saying, instead you take a deep, hissing breath. A simple short inhalation is enough to show you understand. When greeting someone, you don’t shake hands or hug, but rather take hold of the person’s right hand and bump right shoulders. There are so many fantastic, unique customs hidden away in this small country, which is seldom seen on a map of ‘places to see in this world’.

52 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

One of the things we loved most about Ethiopia was the roads! The main artery was only built a couple of years ago, and if you stick to it you can easily drive from the southern-most tip to the border of Sudan without fear of encountering a single dirt road; a big fear of ours, as our small tyres and overloaded bike could not really handle any more off-roading. But as Murphy would have it, our smooth sailing on the new roads ended when we hit a rock the size of a golf ball at full speed. To the left we could see them; a group of young children laughing at us. As any traveller will know, as soon as you have one situation sorted out another often rears its ugly head. In Ethiopia, the irritation of bad roads was replaced by the tradition of throwing stones at the vehicles of ferengis (foreigners). A dangerous pastime, but loads of fun for the local kids.


Photos: R. Schedl, H. Mitterbauer

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Coffee and injerra for lunch

Getting ready for Sudan on our last day

But by this stage, we weren’t unprepared. Way back in Kenya (and by way back I mean 700 km and five days ago) we found an old police siren at a second-hand market and installed it on the bike. Of the numerous things that Ethiopians are famous for, one is for being very fast runners. In total, we had stones (and one plastic water bottle) thrown at us nine times, and on those nine occasions we can confirm that Ethiopians are indeed very, very fast runners. By the second ‘whoop’ of our police siren, and before we could turn the bike around, the dry countryside landscape would have one small dust cloud kicked up by the stone-throwing children, with not a soul in sight. We managed to dodge the most dangerous stones thrown at us, but soon learnt that the blistering heat and dust of the Moyale Road were but a holiday in comparison to the icy, cold rain in Ethiopia. In the highlands, the temperature drops quite radically and in the rainy season you need to be equipped to deal with this change. As always, we weren’t. During our time here, we didn’t just come across fast and mischievous Ethiopians, we also met generous and kind-hearted one’s too - traits that cross all language barriers. On the iciest day, when we couldn’t see 20 m in front of us due to pouring rain and thick mist, were soaked to the bone and shaking uncontrollably from the cold, we found refuge amongst some Amharic-speaking locals in a small mud hut. Without a word they offered us their tiny coffee-making fire to warm up, plastic bags to keep our hands dry and a shot (or two) of that tasty gin for courage.

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With a not so simple amaseganallo (thank you in Amharic), we braved the rain again and eventually, but not without more hiccups, made it to the border of Sudan. Here we were once again greeted by the overpowering heat of the desert we so longed for, and would soon come to loathe. The Sudanese are not less interesting, kind or generous than the Ethiopians, but it is a ‘dry country’ (no alcohol sold at all) and on our extended dash through here, we often longed for that courageous Ethiopian gin - but never the injerra! •

èRelated articles:

• Discovering Deep, Dark Africa on our Honeymoon (Issue 21, p. 34) • Minsking through Vietnam (Issue 19, p. 26) • Cape to Cairo on Two 200 cc Motomia Motorcycles (Issue 16, p. 22)

i

Travelling tips - Ethiopia: • Visas aren’t easy to obtain, so be prepared with all the documentation. You can apply at the Ethiopian High Commission in Pretoria or upon arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Note to overlanders: you can't obtain a visa at the borders or in neighbouring countries, so plan for this. • In general, we found Ethiopians to be very honest people, but take care of pickpockets in the capital and other big towns. Also, don’t take any prized possessions to the Merkato, a large open-air market in Addis Ababa and a must see, as it is known for its pickpockets. And when taking local minibus taxis, keep an eye on your wallet - we found that it disappears quite quickly! • Public transport often results in a rough ride, but this makes the journey interesting. For those set on comfort, rent a vehicle and/or arrange for a tour guide to take you around.

54 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

• There are often issues close to the border with Eritrea and there have been attacks on travellers in this area. So check with your embassy or keep an eye on the news before travelling to this part of the country. • When driving, be careful as livestock roam the roads, including all main ‘highways’. • Ask before you buy, eat or drink anything. Just like many other African countries, a traveller is sometimes seen as a quick buck. When enjoying the more rural areas, settle the price of anything you buy (even food and drinks) before taking it. It is not uncommon to enjoy a meal and then find yourself saddled with an unreasonable bill afterwards. • You can often bargain the price of accommodation down, especially out of season. • If you want to witness Timkat, the fascinating Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany, it is celebrated on January 19 (or 20 on their Leap Year).


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inH2O:

Words: Nick Barclay | Photos & Video: Clipper Ventures

Race start in Southampton

56 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


Taking on

the World’s

Longest

Ocean Race

Nick Barclay, 31, from Cape Town decided to swop his high-flying career in marketing for the challenge of competing in the world’s longest ocean race. With no previous sailing experience, but with a love of adventure, Nick describes how the Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race brought him back to life. How many people do you know that dream of swopping their everyday lives for the adventure of travelling the world? Some book a round the world flight, some just want to see Europe, while others dream of driving from one coast of America to the other. For me, I wanted to take on the ultimate challenge; to sail around the world while competing in the 40,000 mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 57


It was while I was going into my final year at university that my life changed almost overnight. I hadn’t been feeling well for a while and after several tests it was revealed that my kidney was failing.

Facing your own mortality in your mid-twenties is a difficult feeling to explain. I was studying for my final year exams, but with the added stress I found myself putting my studies on hold as I was too weak to cope. Thankfully, a suitable donor was found and in 2006 I had a kidney transplant. It was a long road to recovery, but I was just so relieved to feel well and carry on with my everyday life again; it felt like I had a new lease on life! I eventually went back to my studies and finished my degree, as everyone expected. However, it was after graduating and starting work as a Marketing Strategist that I realised my goals and perspective on life had changed. I no longer dreamt of being part of the rat race - I wanted more from life. The big push that I needed came when my long-term relationship ended. All of a sudden I found myself unattached, with no debt, no responsibility and desperately unhappy with my lot - it was time to do something about it. I came across the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race while searching sailing schemes online. I’d always had an interest, but never really done any sailing which, to my surprise, wasn’t a problem. Ordinary people from all walks of life who had never sailed before were signing up to compete in the world’s longest ocean race. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world back in 1968-9, was the founder of the Clipper Race. As I sat scrolling from page to page, his words jumped out at me: “I want people coming back from this race and saying it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life ... so far!" he said. That was it! I sent my application in and took my very first steps toward circumnavigating the globe. I attended an interview in the UK where Clipper Ventures is based, and it was an anxious wait to hear if I had been successful. When I found out I was going to spend the next 11 months of my life sailing around the world, I was ecstatic! The training was brilliant. It was split into three levels spread over a period of several weeks. It was tough and rigorous, but when you’re sailing in the most challenging conditions, in the most remote locations, you want to know what you’re doing and feel confident in your ability.

58 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

When it came to choosing which of the 10 matched fleet racing yachts I wanted to compete on, it was a no brainer. The Edinburgh Inspiring Capital entry decided they were going to have a relay group of doctors, nurses and patients, led by the University of Edinburgh, to tell their personal stories about organ transplantation and raise the awareness of the international shortage of organ donations. I met some incredible people along the journey; one fellow crew member, who joined us from the UK for the final leg of the race, had undergone a double lung transplant. She went on to become the first double lung transplantee to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean. It was times like these that made me realise anyone can achieve anything if they really want it enough. On Sunday, 31 July 2011 the 10 yachts taking part in the Clipper 2011-12 Race set sail from Southampton, UK. It was an unbelievable feeling, a huge sense of excitement and anticipation. Of course I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about my health. My biggest concern was that if something went wrong while in the middle of the ocean, I would be unable to get the medical attention I needed. But that said, it was never an overriding fear as without the transplant I would never have been able to compete in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race at all.


Life’s adventure is all about how you get there, and this was definitely a unique route I chose to take. Sailing into foreign ports and passing iconic monuments like Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro, and the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, was so exciting. One of the highlights was when we were in New York and sailed past the Statue of Liberty proudly flying our spinnaker to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There was a real sense of being a part of history; things like that I’ll never forget.

Race fleet

For me the biggest challenge of the race was the Pacific Ocean. It was cold, wet and grey for almost a month as we sailed from Qingdao, China, to San Francisco. In fact I can remember the first time we saw blue sky was when we were about three miles out from San Francisco. As for personal challenges, being in a confined space with people you are only getting to know can be difficult, with all the distinct and unique personalities. During my original interview, I had been told that the biggest challenge we would face during the race was each other! And they weren’t wrong. However, over time bonds were made and I know I have met people who will be lifelong friends. What will stick in my mind are the lessons I’ve learned along the way: to push through the exhaustion, put on soaking wet gear and clamber on deck. Over the course of the race we’d battled mammoth oceans, extreme temperatures and all manner of winds. It’s when you push yourself to your limit and break through that mental barrier that you truly see what you are made of and capable of.

Nick and fellow teammates arrive in Qingdao, China

My reasons for doing the race were many and complex, but I think if I analyse them the root of it all is I wanted to feel alive again. This race offered me a unique opportunity to set out on a modern-day adventure, of ancient proportions, and do just that. There is definitely a certain romanticism attached to the mystique of sailing around the world, which seems to capture the hearts and minds of everyone you speak to about it. Since the race finished in July 2012, I’ve gone on to complete my Yacht Master qualifications, which will hopefully mean I’ll be able to work professionally on boats around the world. Nothing beats the sense of freedom you feel when you’re at sea and it’s just you and the elements. For anyone looking to take on a new adventure, my advice would be to just do it! The more time you spend thinking about it, the more time you have to talk yourself out of it. After all, what’s the worst that can happen; it might just change your life forever. •

èRelated articles:

• Thinking up a Hurricane (Digital article October ’12) • To Cross an Ocean (Issue 15, p. 40) • Setting Sail (Issue 14, p. 30)

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To find out more about the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and how to apply visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com

60 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

Nick arriving in Cape Town and being greeted by his mother


Celebrating at race finish

Clipper 11-12 race facts Tie every warp, line, sheet and halyard together from the Clipper Race fleet and the ropes will stretch for a massive 13 kilometres – that’s almost twice the height of Mount Everest. By the end of the 40,000 mile Clipper 11-12 Race, the Clipper fleet raced more than 2.2 million miles since the first edition back in 1996. That’s to the moon and back 11 times! During Clipper 11-12, the teams got through something in the region of 14,600 loo rolls or 365,000 metres of toilet paper. That’s the equivalent distance of flying from London to Paris. Ocean racing is thirsty work and the mother watches served an almost constant stream of hot and cold drinks. The 10 teams slurped their way through 244,000 tea bags while they were at sea. Even before the race started, the crews completed a combined total of almost half a million training miles. The fastest boat speed recorded on the Clipper 11-12 Race to date is 29.3 nautical miles across the Pacific, which is the equivalent of 34 miles per hour. On each yacht, the round the world crew members on board spent at least three weeks of their life standing behind the wheel since the start of the race! In the Clipper 11-12 Race there were 345 male crew members and 165 female crew members. The average age on board was 44.

The youngest crew member to do the race was Ben Turner, 19, from Cornwall (18 when the fleet left Southampton) and the oldest crew member to do the 11-12 race was Fred Tooley, 73, from New Zealand who completed Leg 4. Clipper 11-12 is raced by ‘people like you’, as more than 230 different professions were represented from nurses to surgeons, pilots to farmers, engineers to accountants, teachers to students and the whole gamut of occupations in-between. It was a truly international affair. More than 41 nationalities were represented by the crews of Clipper 11-12. They came from countries as far-flung as the USA, Canada, Russia, Serbia, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Malaysia, China and Singapore, breaking through cultural and language barriers to work together and build lifelong friendships. Clipper 09-10 was followed by a cumulative global audience of more than half a billion people on TV, radio, in the newspapers and online.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 61


inH2O:

Words: Deon Breytenbach | Photos: Robin Kock & Terry Dold | Blog: www.doitnow.co.za/blogs/deon-breytenbach

Blunting Boofing Basics

and

Mid blunt, edge swop and wait for your stern to fly high

Hopefully you' ve been practising your spins, which probably means you have been falling over a bit, and your roll should be coming along nicely. Remember, if you still have some kinks to work out then check out my blog for more information and videos. In this issue, I will look at a really fun wave move called the blunt, and the boof stroke, which will not only help you to steer clear of sticky pourovers, it' ll also keep your hair dry :) 62 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

The blunt

The blunt is one of my favourite freestyle moves and a fantastic stepping stone to some of the bigger and cooler wave moves. It can be done in both directions, but I will break down the righthand blunt. To blunt, you need a wave, even a small one will do, speed, commitment, timing and snappy edge control. And with the modern play boats being so small and bouncy, blunting has become much easier and you don't need a Nile Special size wave to get the hang of things. The blunt can be broken down into three stages; set-up, release and recovery. Set-up: For your initial set-up and to get some speed, start as high up on the wave as possible so that you have a bit of space to carve down to the corner of the wave - don’t sit on the corner. The bigger the wave, the more space you will have to move around on and the easier it becomes. Now once you are sitting on the top of the wave, lean forward a little to accelerate down the face with your left edge engaged so that you can carve down towards the wave's shoulder.


Release: For the next step you'll have to do a few things simultaneously because you are about to reach the shoulder. First, you must push your legs down into the water, to weight the left edge of your kayak, and at the same time take a hard forward stroke, on the left, to get a little extra boost. As you finish the stroke, you'll feel the kayak being rejected by the water and your bow will start to push up. This is the start of the release phase and where big blunts are made or lost, so timing is crucial and will take some practise to get it right. As your bow reaches the highest point of being pushed back up, bring your paddle around and get your right-hand blade onto the face of the wave, while keeping your left edge engaged. As your blade enters the water, do a hard reverse / block / back stroke and really snap your kayak over onto its right edge (think left knee up and right knee down, kick it). The transition between the edges combined with the rotation created by the push of your back stroke, on your right hand, will release the kayak so that you are now vertical and just the bow is in contact with the face of the wave. If the wave is a decent size, you will be completely out of the water and flying, with the hull of your kayak now facing up stream. As your kayak starts to drop back down, you need to get the recovery phase going otherwise you might flush off the wave. Recovery: For the recovery, flatten your hull so that the kayak lands as flat and smoothly as possible in the back surf. At the same time, return your left-hand blade to the water and do a big reverse stroke, thus pushing you upstream while remaining on the wave. Congrats, you've just blunted! Just remember that the more aggressively you edge your kayak, the more release you will get. If you feel that your blunts are flat and not vertical, then focus on really edging your kayak. And if you keep carving off the wave once you've landed, then you need to get your hull flatter and push harder on your back stroke as you land. The blunt is a very dynamic move and a great stepping stone to get you comfy with aggressive edge transitions that are crucial to moving on to the bigger wave tricks.

Boof stroke

Now let's look at infamous boof stroke. The idea behind a boof stroke is to raise the bow of your kayak and fly over any obstacle, such as a shallow landing spot from a drop or a retentive pour-over that you don’t want to go surfing in. I will also break down the right-hand boof into three steps: the set-up, launch and recovery. But before I get to that, let’s get the two main misconceptions out of the way; a good boof isn’t just about down river speed, and leaning back doesn't make your bow come up! You can boof over a wave to avoid a hole or off the lip of a drop, and the actions for both are the same. It's also good to practise boofing over smaller, friendlier river features so you know what to do before having to boof to stay alive.

64 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


Set-up: The boof starts about three strokes upstream of the feature you are going to boof from. The set-up is important, so when approaching the spot you are going to boof from, get some downstream momentum going by taking two or three good forward strokes. Make sure that the last forward stroke you take lines up your kayak in the direction you want to go. Now comes the scary part (the bigger the feature, the scarier it will be)! As you approach the feature, get your right-hand blade ready at your toes, with your paddle as vertical as possible, and wait. Launch phase: As you start to go over the lip of the drop or wave place you right blade over it, at your toes, engage the right edge of your kayak and identify your landing zone. Now with your blade over the drop, do a full powered forward stroke to launch yourself into the air. It's at this point where most boofs fail, so you really need to focus now. With your stroke just in front of your hips and engaged in the water, lift your legs by doing a small sit up. Yes, I know you are thinking that you should lean back to stabilise the weight of your bow, but this is wrong! If you throw your body backwards, you are in essence forcing your legs down and this will cause the bow to drop. By doing the sit-up, you are lifting your legs and this will keep your bow high and dry. Next, pull your forward stroke through and past your hips, and tighten your stomach muscles to keep your legs and bow up. If you get everything right here, you will fly. Recovery: As you come down to land, your body should still be in a slightly forward position. Stay in that position and tense up every muscle in your body, especially if you are boofing off high drops because there is going to be a bit of impact when you land. As you complete your launch stroke, bring your paddle into a neutral, low brace position and away from your face. Avoid placing your paddle in a high brace position because if you land a bit funny, it is super easy to hurt your shoulders. Now with your body still in the sit-up position and your low brace going as soon as you hit the landing zone, take a good forward stroke to keep your downstream momentum going. If you have set-up properly, launched aggressively and landed with a nice big 'boof' sound, you'll be sitting pretty with your hair dry and smiles all round.

Always keep in mind that you should only boof drops higher than four metres, and your body position should be slightly forward with every muscle in your body tensed before you land at the bottom! The reason being that if you land flat on water (from a high drop) that is not aerated, the impact will be rather severe and you could break or damage your back. The boof stroke has saved me on many occasions over the years and is really something you should practise as often as possible. The more comfortable you are with your kayak, stroke power and bracing, the easier (and more enjoyable) river running will become. And the only way to fine tune and perfect your boof is to practise, practise, practise. If you are unsure of anything, check out my blog for pictures and descriptions that cover everything mentioned above. I hope to see you all at the Blyde Xfest 2013 Resurrection from 28 February to 3 March, at the Blyde River. • FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: 1. Flat hull in a back surf at the finish of the recovery stroke to push me back on the wave 2. Shaun waiting for his stroke and starting to lift his bow 3. Wessel with a nice vertical paddle to lift his bow over the munchy hole 4. Pull through and keep your tummy tight to get your bow up

èRelated articles:

• Basics - Bring Home the Bacon (Issue 21, p. 62) • Stretch it to get it (Issue 16, p. 100) • Hot Days and High Waters (Issue 9, p. 32)

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For more information and tutorials on how to fine tune your boof and blunt, or for photos and links to other online resources, visit Deon's blogs: www.doitnow.co.za/blogs/deon-breytenbach.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 65


inH2O:

Words: Daniel Carollo | Photos: Miranda Kriek & Daniel Carollo | Video: Tor Holen & Daniel Carollo

Fly board

The

A Water-powered Jet Pack for your Feet

66 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


The first time I heard about the Flyboard, I was quite busy and only listened with half an ear to the explanations my friend Tor gave me. It didn’t make much sense, and all I recalled later was that it was a rich kid’s toy. That was in August last year. A couple of months later, Tor came back with a picture showing someone flying through the air, Iron Man style, whilst being propelled by powerful water jets. A light went on deep within the recesses between my ears. So that’s what he was talking about! Call me crazy, but I immediately wanted to be there, zooming through the water and leaping into the air like a human dolphin. I like to see things from high up. Built in 2011 by water sports enthusiast Franky Zapata, from Marseille, this ingenious device bolts onto the motor (an engine of 100 hp or greater) of any personal watercraft (PWC), also known as a jet ski. It then routes the water jet through a long hose that connects to a pair of jet boots and hand-held stabilisers, thus allowing the rider to fly up to nine metres, do backward somersaults or leap headfirst through the waves. I love the thrill of being able to leave the surface of the planet. And although we live in a 3D universe, we invariably only move on 2D surfaces. I’ve participated in mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing among other sports, but only scuba diving and paragliding has satisfied my insatiable craving for a true 3D experience. So after Tor’s departure, I voraciously watched numerous videos on the Flyboard on Youtube. Some of the demonstrations were really crazy, but I was never under any illusions that I’d become an acrobat by virtue of having the Flyboard under my feet. I just had a visceral need to experience the feeling of being on those jets. Unable to resist, we ordered the Flyboard from the manufacturer in France at a cost of almost €8,000. It was the top of the range and came with a remote control for the jet ski power on the Flyboard, thus alleviating the need for a driver on the jet ski. After some bureaucratic and logistical delays, Tor finally arrived in Bilene on a cool November morning and we immediately started to assemble the different parts that make up the Flyboard. It took us about half an hour to figure out how everything fitted together, and as we were extra keen to try out our new toy we didn’t install the remote at first. Tor decided that I should be the one to test it first. As he had watched the training videos, he was confident that it would be better if he controlled the jet ski’s throttle and gave me advice on what to do on the board. Our first challenge was to get to the deep end, well, deep enough for the Flyboard, as the manufacturer insisted that we had to have at least four metres of water under us. The reasons being that when the jets agitate the bottom, stones are lifted and sucked into the inlet of the jet ski; and one doesn’t hit the bottom when falling from higher than intended. After a bit of fumbling around, we finally got going and made our way towards the middle of the lagoon. Now, when the Flyboard is attached to a jet ski, the jet ski is rendered almost useless and merely becomes an appendage that sucks water into and along the pipe, with great force, to propel the rider forward. The direction is set by the rider, who moves the jets under his feet, and the jet ski follows behind.

www.doitnow.co.za | Adventure • 67


A short while later, the bottom drops steeply and we are where we want to be, in deep water. Tor slows down and tells me to flip onto my stomach. Easier said than done, as both my feet are firmly ensconced in the boots, and waving my arms seems to have no effect at all. I take a deep breath and then drop one shoulder and my head as deep as I can. Bingo, the leverage from my shoulder in the water gets my whole body turning and I’m on my belly, arching up to lift my head high above water. Tor applies some more power and I feel the jet lifting under me. But my weight is not positioned correctly, so I flip sideways and end up on my back again! Another drop of the shoulder and I flip around again. This time it felt easier. Tor re-applies the power, but again I slip sideways and onto my back. Dang, this is frustrating! On the next try, however, I get my weight in just the right place and tense my legs to keep them straight. I start to rise up in the water, with my hips clearing first, then my knees and now the whole board is above the water. I keep rising, barely in control, and oscillate this way and that, and I’m far too rigid on the board. A few seconds later, I slip sideways and crash into the water again. It’s no big deal, as I wasn’t that high. But the few seconds I manage to stay up in the air feels like a massive victory. Yeehaa! I quickly flip onto my back again; this has become second nature already. I’m eager to get above the big blue and that happens quickly too, as my body has already learnt how to find its balance on the Flyboard. I’m up and it feels a little easier than the last time. I manage to stay up a bit longer this time before I make a mistake and lose control again. For the next 10 minutes I play around, gaining more and more stability, going higher and higher. I’m flying at more than six metres above the surface, three times higher than my height, and then I lose control. The fall takes a long time and gives me enough time to realise that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew because I have no idea how to turn around or spin to control my position at the moment of impact. I hit the surface on my back, hard, and almost wind myself. On my way up to the surface, I quickly evaluate the damage; thankfully nothing is broken. I’m keen to go up again, so Tor increases the power and I’m flying once more. A few more attempts and the exertion finally gets to me. I have to stop. We swop positions and now it’s my turn to control the power of the jet ski that will lift Tor out of the water and into the sky. His progress pretty much mirrors mine, but he’s not as clumsy and is soon soaring. He lasts as long as I did and although we are both completely exhausted, we are also extremely happy with our Flyboarding prowess.

We have another session later that day and a few more over the following days. In about four days, I got to the point where the movements feel natural. I can direct the board to glide in any direction and stay above the water for as long as I want. We also tried swimming like dolphins, and what a thrill that is! The board can push us at impressive speed underwater and the density of the water lets us get quite a lot of leverage to control the direction we take underwater.

It is really easy to go deeper or shallower, turn left or right and then rise towards the surface to leap out, catch a breath and then dive back down again. That is the part that excites me most; I want to be proficient enough so that I can play with the dolphins in the surf ... •

èRelated articles:

• Introducing Surfing’s Newest Addition (Issue 21, p. 54) • Diving Bilene - the Lesser-known Mozambican Diving Destination (Issue 19, p. 55) • Why we Freedive (Issue 4, p. 40)

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For pricing and more information on the Flyboard visit www.flyboardafrica.co.za or email Tor directly at kruger2Ocean@gmail.com


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inH2O:

Words: Dirk van den Berg | Photos & Video: Dirk van den Berg & Meriek Faber

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Shark No Cage Diving Required One of the reasons why people love to dive lies in the sense of discovery. And being able to ‘breathe’ underwater allows us to become explorers of this still very unknown world for brief periods. Just like a kid opening a lucky packet, we are excited about what we might find inside.

70 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

By its very nature, diving is a sport of chance and you never know what you might see or experience. But there is a place where you are guaranteed to have one of the best diving experiences of your life. A place where the viz is always great and you know exactly what you are going to see. The Two Oceans Aquarium, based at the Cape Town Waterfront, offers two exceptional diving experiences to the public. Think of it as a backstage pass to the best show in the world, with close and personal VIP access to the stars of the show; ragged tooth sharks, massive blue rays, eagle rays, yellowtail and a loggerhead sea turtle. Thanks to the Two Oceans Aquarium, I had the opportunity to experience both the Predator and Kelp Forest dives, and would happily go back and do it all over again!


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Dive 1 The I&J Predator Exhibit The largest tank in the aquarium houses the I&J Predator exhibit and is home to four ragged tooth sharks, or Carchariastaurus if you want to call them by their correct name. You will also find black musselcrackers, blue rays, eagle rays, giant kob, giant yellowtail and a massive loggerhead, to mention just a few. The tank holds roughly two-million litres of seawater, has a maximum depth of five metres and is visible through a 4 m high by 11 m wide acrylic panel. The water temperature is a slightly chilly 21 degrees, and there is an artificial current running counter clockwise in the tank, so its inhabitants tend to swim clockwise against the current to enable more water to flow over their gills with less effort. In short, this exhibit is breathtaking and you don’t have to be a kid to be blown away. It is also here that you can dive with the raggies … no cage required. I discovered that the four sharks each have their own unique personalities. The first scouts the upper region of the tank, moving much faster than the rest in an almost patrolling behavior, while generally avoiding divers. The second and third sharks are somewhat curious and deceptively sneaky, as they come over to investigate when you are looking the other way. In a game of chicken, the fourth shark likes to slowly inch towards you on a straight trajectory, staring you down every inch of the way until the very last moment, when he elegantly changes course and swims straight past you. Your heart skips a few beats and then the amazement kicks in. You are diving amongst sharks with no protection and are closer to them than you ever thought possible. In fact, so close that you can count their teeth. But let’s not forget about the other fascinating inhabitants of the exhibit. There are two rather inquisitive, but massive blue rays that will allow you to touch their bellies, which feel soft and jelly like, as they swim over head. They also like to attach themselves vertically flat against the viewing panels, much to the delight of the onlooking spectators, and I remember thinking how much they loved all the attention. The impressive loggerhead turtle is somewhat shy, somewhat curious and thoroughly enjoys having his shell scratched. Apparently the algae growing on his shell itches and irritates him, hence his love of a good scratch. The great thing about this dive is that it offers non-divers the rare opportunity to share the experience with you, from the other side of the acrylic panel. Kids especially love it when a diver comes right up against the acrylic panel and interacts with them.

72 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

Dive 2 The Kelp Forest The Ocean Basket Kelp Forest exhibition is one of only three in the world and a huge attraction at the aquarium. The tank is slightly smaller than the predator's tank, holding 800,000 litres of water, with dimensions of 12 m x 12 m x 6 m deep. At 13-15 degrees Celsius, the temperature in this tank is also considerably colder, and an artificial surge simulates the natural conditions in which kelp would normally grow. It is home to three different species of kelp, as well as abalone, galjoen, pyjama shark, red stumpnose, Roman and huge white steenbras, to name a few. This dive's big draw card is the fact that divers are allowed to feed the fish. The fish are so used to being fed in this manner that they have become exceptionally tame towards divers, and almost obnoxious and demanding in their plea to be fed. They literally engulf the divers in the hope of being fed, but once the feeding frenzy has passed, they once again become relaxed and afford the diver a rare opportunity to get unusually close to them. The smaller tank coupled with the artificial surge, engaging nature of the fish and tricky navigation through the kelp forest necessitates a minimum of an Advanced diving qualification. The Kelp

Forest dive might not have the star quality and spectator value of the predator dive, but it has the tranquility of the kelp forest in surge and the intimate engagement with the fish.

I would like to thank Renee Leeuwner and the Two Oceans Aquarium for the wonderful opportunity to experience these amazing dives for myself. Now it's your turn. •

èRelated articles:

• Marico Oog - a unique freshwater diving experience (Issue 18, p. 36) • Diving the SS Thistlegorm (Issue 14, p. 36) • Exploring Sodwana (Issue 2, p. 18)


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If you would like to experience these unique dives, here's some helpful information: • Both the Predator and Kelp Forest dives are available daily in three time slots: 09h00, 11h00 and 13h00. • Diving is open all year round. • A qualified Dive Master leads all dives, and the engagements are very informative, even educational. • Dives must be booked online at www.aquarium.co.za. • The Predator dive requires an Open Water dive qualification, while the Kelp Forest dive requires an Advanced dive qualification. Divers have to produce a valid diving qualification before the dive. • Divers can bring their own equipment or have the option of hiring all the required gear from the aquarium. I used the aquarium’s gear and I can recommend this option as the gear is in good condition and it saves you the effort of bringing your own. • The cost of the dives depend on whether you bring your own gear or if you use the aquarium's gear.

A discount is given to members of the aquarium’s loyalty programme. So it may be worthwhile to join as a member, as the net cost might be slightly higher than just the dives with no discount. As a member, you will also enjoy all the accompanying benefits and discounts that the loyalty programme offers, for a year.

Prices

Non-members: • Own gear: R475 • Aquarium's gear: R625 Members (less 25%): • Member with own gear: R357 • Member with aquarium's gear: R469 For more information and to book these thrilling dive adventures email dive@aquarium.co.za or visit the website - www.aquarium.co.za.

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 73


inSHAPE:

Words: Hannele Steyn

Being Competitive Without

Eating Meat Much is said about a high-fat, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet, but where does that leave the vegetarian and fruitarian? If we look at some of the top athletes who are vegetarians, like Glen Macnamara (seven-time Springbok duathlete), Bill Pearl (Mr. Universe), Bill McCarthy (power lifter), Marzia Prince (Ms. Bikini) and Brendan Brazier (pro Ironman) and many others, they have proved that you can be competitive without eating meat. However, we need around 1,5-2 g of protein, per kilogramme of body weight, per day. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks of muscles. Muscles are the building blocks of champions and muscles burn fat to give these champions lean muscle mass that make a cyclist climb better and a runner fly better. Another important benefit is that if you add protein to a carbohydrate it will help sustain your blood sugar levels for longer, which is crucial to your overall fitness. Although a vegetarian can get enough fats and protein from fruits, vegetables and nuts, the issue here is they will have to consume much more in volume to get to their 1,5-2 g of protein, per kilogramme of body weight. If, for example, you weigh 60 kg you would need to eat at least four to five cans of tuna per day, and that's a lot of tuna. But to get the same amount of protein from, say, lentils, you're looking at a 'bucket full' J. For those who eat meat, this is not such a big problem as there is already hidden fat between the fibres in animal protein and meat is high in protein. If you still eat eggs and drink milk, at least you can compensate a little, but it's not enough. So, if you don’t eat any animal protein and only acquire protein solely from vegetable sources, you won't get the complete amino acid profile that meat offers. I would therefore suggest including a protein supplement into your diet, however much you might be against it. Something like PVM XTR is great as it contains all four proteins (casein, whey, soy and albumin) and the raw materials are from very good sources. In terms of sufficient fats in your daily regime, olive oil, grape seed oil, avos and so forth are excellent sources. Nuts especially offer an abundant supply of unsaturated fat, with walnuts providing one of the best sources of polyunsaturated omega-3 fat. As a competitive cyclist and lover of meat, I follow a high, lean protein with high essential fats (from nuts, oils and avocado) and low glycaemic carbs diet, and try to stay away from processed foods, trans-fats and fatty or fried foods - and I feel great! However, if you are a vegetarian, follow a diet that has a wide variety of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, superfoods and good

74 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

oils, such as avo, grape seed and olive oils. Rice and pea protein, as well as hemp seed are also very good sources. If you eat eggs, the egg white is high in protein, but try to find organic eggs. One thing about being a vegetarian though is that you'll never have to worry about not getting enough fibre J. Furthermore, the soluble fibre in some protein sources, such as beans and oats, combined with a high intake of unsaturated fat can keep your cardiovascular system in optimal health. As the pros have shown us, no matter your diet preference - be it a vegetarian, fruitarian or meat - you can compete at a world-class level as long as you follow an eating plan that's tailored to your specific dietary requirements and lifestyle needs.

èRelated articles:

• Superfoods vs. Today's Foods (Issue 20, p. 78) • Nutrition for a Multi-stage Event (Issue 3, p. 74) • Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Performance (Issue 2, p. 72)

Healthy options: Breakfast: Passion4Wholeness home-made muesli that is not roasted (full of fat) or covered with sugar, but rather has low glycaemic carbs (whole rolled oats), whole almonds and pumpkin seeds (a good source of protein and good fats), linseeds (good source of omega-3 oils) and cinnamon (good for blood sugar levels), raisins (high GI for energy) and cranberries (antioxidants) OR poached or boiled eggs on rye bread. Snack: Game biltong OR fruit and plain yoghurt OR nuts and dates. Lunch: Baked potato with tuna filling, steamed vegetables and a wholesome salad OR brown basmati rice with beans OR lean chicken and steamed vegetables and salad. Snack: Same as the morning. Dinner: Any lean protein, steamed vegetables and salad.

Remember to stay away from any processed and deep fried foods, as they are full of saturated fats and preservatives, which are very bad for your health!


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Worldwide assumption is that our ancestors used to live off raw meat, but studies actually show that they primarily lived off fruits and vegetables because they were easy to find.

i

Symptoms of protein deficiency It is time to reevaluate your protein intake if you experience constipation, fatigue, low blood pressure, brittle nails, hair loss or flabby muscles. Additionally, excess protein can be equally dangerous, causing premature aging, vitamin and mineral deficiency and tremendous strain on the kidneys. Veggie protein sources Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, peas, mushrooms and corn are among some fabulous vegetable choices that contain protein. In addition to eating plenty of fresh vegetables, protein-rich grains such as quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat and beans should be a regular part of a vegetarian diet. Sprouts are super protein foods Sprouted seeds, grains and beans are easy to grow right in your own kitchen and can quadruple the protein value of a food item. Perfect foods for sprouting include quinoa, lentils, mung bean, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, chickpeas and soy beans. Soak your chosen item in water overnight and then rinse well and drain. Place your seeds, beans or grains in a glass container in a sunny location and cover with a kitchen towel. Rinse and drain every 8 to 12 hours, allowing the sprouts to grow for two or three days. Sprouts will keep in the refrigerator for one week and are wonderful additions to salads. Remember that your sprouts can double in size as they grow, so start with about half the amount you would like to end up with. Source: www.livestrong.com

Passion4Wholeness muesli: A balanced meal for everyone! Diabetic friendly, wheat free, low glycaemic and NO trans-fat Designed by a sportsperson with a passion 4 health: Hannele Steyn is a former winner of the Absa Cape Epic, a former Triathlon World Champion and the only woman who has completed all 9 Cape Epics. For more information: Hannele@geminips.co.za or jesblue2@yahoo.com

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 75


inCREDIBLE PLACES:

Words & Photos: Xen & Adri Ludick

Turkey a Traveller’s Treat Turkey has long held a fascination for Xen and me, and last year we had the privilege of visiting this amazing country that boasts many unique and fascinating features, and attracts between 28 and 30 million tourists each year. Having flow from Johannesburg to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, on Turkish Airlines, we then flew to Milah, in Bodrum, a popular tourist destination on the west coast that holds the promise of adventure and fun. There were plenty of activities and things to do, and we especially enjoyed the fantastic view of the Mediterranean. After two days there, we travelled by bus all along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea before turning inland to visit Ephesus, the metropolis of an antique age and the best preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is also among the best places in the world where one is able to 'soak in' the atmosphere of Roman times. From Ephesus, we travelled northwest through Aydin, well known for its cotton and tobacco. For all its history (it's been there for over two millennia), the city has little to hold the casual visitor as earthquakes have ravaged many of its historic stone buildings, and most of the city's buildings were also destroyed by the retreating Greek troops in Turkey's War of Independence. En route to Pamukkale, a natural site in the Denizli province in southwestern Turkey, we stopped at the Apameia Restaurant where we enjoyed a local delicacy, the most delicious yoghurt topped with honey and poppy seeds. Pamukkale, which literally means 'cotton castle', is one of Turkey's most impressive natural wonders. It is made up of a series of white travertine terraces cascading down a cliff, which is almost 200 metres high. The hard, white mineral deposits, which resemble snow from a distance, are caused by the high mineral content of the natural spring water that runs down the cliff and congregates in warm pools on the terraces. The spring water is an excellent source of health thanks to the rich minerals found within. This is such a popular tourist attraction that strict rules

76 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

have been enforced to preserve its beauty, and visitors may no longer walk on the terraces. Those who want to enjoy the thermal waters, however, can take a dip in a nearby pool, littered with fragments of marble pillars. It was the thermal waters that led to the founding of the spa town of Hierapolis (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the second century B.C., and was given to the king of Pergamon by the Romans. The remains include the ancient ruins of the baths, the Temple of Apollo, a well-preserved amphitheatre and the largest necropolis or graveyard in Anatolia containing over 1,200 tombs; and these are just some of the natural wonders, historical beauties and miracles of health that Pamukkale embodies. From Pamukkale we drove for eight hours on a very scenic journey to Cappadocia, another unique and miraculous natural wonder, and one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. The history of Cappadocia began with the arrival of man after the lava from the volcanoes of Erciyes (to the east) and Hasan (to the west) had cooled more than 10,000 years ago. It is a stunning area of other-worldly rock formations, underground dwellings and subterranean churches, and it's also famous for its carpet weaving, wines and distinctive red pottery of the Avanos area. Eager to find out more and get a bird's-eye view of this fascinating place and the spectacularly surrealistic landscapes, we rose before sunrise the next morning and gathered in the small town with a number of other tourists. We had coffee and snacks at a local restaurant before being transported to the site where our hot air balloon was to be launched. The launch site was a riot of colour and I’ve never seen so many hot air balloons in one place. We slowly lifted into the sky and flew silently over a landscape formed millions of years ago, with its fairy chimneys, orchards, vineyards, impressive valleys and the rippled ravines of Göreme and Urgup. An hour later, we landed perfectly atop a trailer and were met by the friendly team, who offered us a purple flower and a glass of champagne.


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Hot air balloons over Cappadocia

The harbour at Bodrum Adri waving at Ephesus

Xen in the underground city at Kaymakli

Getting ready for lift off

After this amazing experience, our tour through Cappadocia started. We first visited Kaymakli Yeralti Sehri, an underground city in Kaymakli and a World Heritage Site. There are more than a hundred underground settlements in the region, and many are not open to tourists. The underground cities are said to have been used since the Bronze Age, when increasing invasions forced local residents to build underground cities for protection and religious purposes. In the second century B.C., the first Christians escaped from the persecution of the Roman Empire and came to Cappadocia to settle in the underground cities. There they built provision rooms, ventilation chimneys, wine production areas, churches, toilets and meeting rooms. Millstone doors that could only be opened from the inside were used to block the tunnels for protection. Although only four levels of this underground city may be visited, it's not exactly known how many levels it originally consisted of. I couldn’t believe that a whole community stayed in those small holes, but to them it was a safe place from invading armies. From there we visited a carpet factory, where the guide explained how they weave carpets, the colour techniques involved and how to extract silk and cotton from pots. He also told us that the girls may not weave for more than 45 minutes at a time or for more than three hours per day. By the time this fascinating tour ended we were quite hungry, so we headed to the Sofra Restaurant in Avanos and ordered a traditional stew called Pot Kebabs. The stew had been prepared in a pottery container, which is sealed with foil and a bread roll placed on top of it. It's then baked in a clay oven until the bread is done. The top of the roll is cut off and the most delicious stew with fresh bread is served. With our tummies full, we took a stroll to the Göreme Open Air Museum. Göreme means 'place you cannot see'. Thousands of years ago when Erciyes was an active volcano, the lava from its eruptions covered an area of 20,000 square kilometres. The volcanic flows were then shaped by tremendous winds and water erosion over hundreds of years, with the softer rock and soil eroding away to leave a hard cap on the tall pillars, thus forming the fairy chimneys. With more than 400 churches in the vicinity of Göreme, it was one of the most important centres of Christianity between six and nine A.D. In three hundred A.D., the monks lived in the cave churches and would meditate and philosophize here. The most impressive church we visited was the Dark Church, and the fee to get in was worth every cent. This domed church dates back to thirteen B.C. and features four columns, a concept on which churches were built on in later years. Scenes from the Bible are depicted on the walls and although the Muslims destroyed all the faces on the frescoes, the Bible stories are still clear. The Turkish are very hospitable people, a lesson learnt from the Bible story where Abraham invited two visitors into his house. After they left, he realised that they were angels.

78 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

From Cappadocia we flew to Istanbul, the cradle of civilization. Known as Byzantium, Constantinople and finally Istanbul, it has been the capital of three Empires, and the legacy of its chequered past can be seen in the form of stunning palaces, castles, mosques, churches and monuments. Today, it is an enchanting blend of Eastern and Western culture, and a vibrant, modern city boasting a unique identity. Although it's no longer the capital of Turkey, Istanbul remains the country's cultural and business centre. Whilst here, we took in some of Istanbul's most famous sites - the Topkapi Palace, Haghia Sofia, Spice the Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque all places of interest that cannot be missed when visiting Istanbul! Until next time, safe travels. •

èRelated articles:

• Cinque Terre - five lands to love (Issue 18, p. 116) • A Love Affair with India - Hampi (Issue 17, p. 118) • The Great Barrier Reef and Beyond (Issue 14, p. 40)

Travelling tips: • No inoculations are necessary for Turkey. • Make copies of all your documents as hotels will keep your passport for administration purposes and only return it when you leave. • It is safer to drink bottled water, as well as use it for brushing teeth. • Cash is the best option when shopping at the markets or in smaller shops. • Keep anti-bacterial wipes in your bag, as the toilets and public places aren’t always that clean. • If you see a sign that says 'CW', it means bathroom. Most places will charge you between one Lira and 50 cents to use the bathroom. Most toilets are long drops, so be prepared. Also carry tissues in case there is no toilet paper. • When enjoying their cuisine, you need to be open minded about the food, which is really good but different.


inTRANSIT:

Words & Photos by Phillip-Neil Albertyn

Around the World on Public Transport

Africa, Asia and the Final Leg of the European Continent My journey around the world on public transport started many months ago and my goal to complete five continents between the last two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) was almost complete, with just Africa, Asia and the European continent left to conquer. Crossing Africa, my home continent, was something I was really looking forward to, and this leg would end in the Mother city, Cape Town. From there I would travel to Asia and Eastern Europe, where the mystery of what is happening behind the iron curtain was the motivation to include this continent in my adventure and leave it for last.

Africa

After a 16-hour flight via Dubai, I arrived in Africa; a very special part of the adventure because it is my native continent. I kicked off the journey in the antique city of Alexandria, also known as the 'pearl of the Mediterranean', before taking a local train to the capital, Cairo, with the majestic Pyramids of Giza on its outskirts. From there, I travelled by train and then switched to the age-old felucca (sailboat) to cruise down the Nile to the Valley of the Kings and Queens. Located on the west bank at Luxor, this is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. A ferry trip across Lake Nasser took me to Sudan, where I followed the Nile to Khartoum, the clearly visible meeting place of the Blue and White Niles. The African minibus was the most common means of transport from there on as I ventured east towards the Ethiopian Highlands and Gondar, referred to by Lonely Planet as the ‘Camelot of Africa’, with its beautiful castles and cobble stone streets.

80 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

My journey on the dramatic Blue Nile started at Bahir Dar, on the banks of Lake Tana, and meandered all the way to the capital, Addis Ababa. After a few days of rest, I set off down the Great Rift Valley, admiring its colourful tribes and changing landscapes before reaching Nairobi, where I spent a very peaceful Christmas. Boarding the Lunatic Express train, I eventually came to the old trading port of Mombasa. This city is actually an island boasting beautiful, old Islamic buildings and fantastic food. Dar es Salaam was my next stop on the coast and while waiting for the TAZARA train, I used the time to take a ferry trip to the picturesque island of Zanzibar. Whilst there, I saw out the old year from the roof top of a historical African house with views second to none, and explored the Spice Island’s amazing white beaches and Stone Town's vibrant open-air markets.


The Great Wall of China

a Yakaterinburg, Russi Boarding the train in

Standing in front of a ger (Mongolian hut)

The TAZARA railway line was built by the Chinese in the early ‘70s and connects Zambia’s copper belt to the Indian Ocean. This makes for a wonderful way to travel this part of the world and after a two-and-a-half-day journey, covering 2,000 km, I arrived in Kapiri Mposhi, 150 km from Lusaka. Taking an overnight bus to Livingstone, I was consumed by the incredible beauty of the Victoria Falls. The Vic-Falls Express train transported me to Bulawayo, where I switched to a bus destined for Beit Bridge, and this is where I had an emotional crossing, by foot, over the Limpopo and into my native land. A third-class sitter train took me to Johannesburg, where I managed to talk my way onto the Trans Karoo train, a classical trip that would take me to Cape Town. It had been 40 days and eight hours since leaving Alexandria.

Asia (Trans Siberian)

With two months to go before the London Olympics, I flew into Beijing for the final leg of my adventure. While I was waiting for my Mongolian visa to be processed, I took the high speed train to the coast to collect water from the Yellow Sea, which gets its name from the sand particles from Gobi Desert storms that turn the surface of the water golden yellow. I would also have the opportunity to visit all the famous landmarks from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City, so I was full of excitement when the train eventually departed from Beijing Railway Station.

The first part of the 10,000 km rail track to Moscow passes the Great Wall and mountains before flattening out to a landscape that becomes dryer the closer you get to the Mongolian border. I spent most of the time in the dining car, in the abundant and interesting company of fellow travellers. At the border, the whole train was hoisted into the air so that its undercarriage could be replaced with a new one to fit the different gauge of the rails from there to the Baltic Sea.

Next up was Ulaanbaatar, not the most beautiful of places but as Jacky Verhoeven (a Dutch traveller who I met on the train) and I left the city behind on cheap, rented Chinese motorbikes, the true character of this fascinating country started to reveal itself. Riding through the vast and dramatic landscapes, we came into contact with some friendly and welcoming nomads, who still live in their traditional gurs. I was offered horse milk, a horrible yet fascinating experience, and tried to keep it down so that I didn’t upset my very generous hosts.

www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle • 81


A full moon on Re d Square, Moscow iza pyramids of G In front of the

t the Nile, Egyp iled on down The felucca I sa

train Cooking on the Trans-Siberian

Crossing Lake Nasser, on a ferry

Entering Russia on a Trans Siberian train, I spent my first night in Irkutsk, which is close to Lake Baikal and the world’s biggest fresh water lake. Beautiful wooden houses, a trademark of this part of the world, dominated the cities and towns as we made our way west. The stations were of particular interest because all sorts of food and Vodka could be found there and were on offer to the weary traveller. For the Russian part of my trip, I switched to the Platskartny wagon, third class, which is almost like a dormitory, and tried to blend in with the natives. More than 50 hours after leaving Irkutsk I finally arrived in Yekaterinburg, the last city on the Asian side of the Ural Mountains. This infamous city is where Gary Powers, the spy, was shot down in his U2 spy plane and derailed the Summit between the two superpowers in the 1960s. It is also where the Last Tsar and his family were murdered. They too had come to this city as passengers on the Trans-Sib train ... a rather sobering thought.

European Continent the final leg

Since the ‘rules’ of this adventure dictated that all continents must be crossed from side to side, it was therefore justifiable to cross eastern Europe from the Ural Mountains, where the Asian continent ends and the European continent begins, to the Baltic Sea. Moscow, my first stopover on the Trans-Sib line, was fantastic and I eagerly headed out to visit the Red Square, next to the Kremlin, and the very famous St. Basil's Cathedral. It was interesting to see how far this country has moved away from being the bastion for communism to what it is now; one of the most ‘flashy’ cities in the world, with sleek Muscovites driving expensive cars.

82 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

The overnight train to St. Petersburg was a wonderful ending to an amazing journey. The city is not just blessed with a number of canals and bridges, but with some of the finest architecture in Europe. The Hermitage, for example, is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise nearly three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. This famous landmark, with its immense wealth, is perhaps the crown jewel of this vast country. Now all that was left for me to do was to find my way to the Baltic shore and pour out the water I had brought all the way from the Yellow Sea in China, 10,000 km from here - a symbolic gesture to mark the end of my trip.

And so my adventure through five continents and 43 countries, which spanned 53,000 km and took 326 days to complete using 21 different modes of public transport, came to an end with just two weeks to spare before the start of the London Olympics. It had been truly epic! • èRelated articles: • Around the World on Public Transport - South America to the Sub Continent of India (Issue 21, p. 82) • Around the World on Public Transport - Europe to North and Central America (Issue 20, p. 80) • Tanzanian Daredevils (Issue 15, p. 36)


inNATURE:

Words & Photos: Ed Blignaut

Jo’burg’s

Biggest

and

Best Parks

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, and although it is not one of the three capitals, in Gauteng alone there is 11,328,644 people. That’s 22.39% of all the people in South Africa, and in a time of stress and fatigue there aren’t any beaches to visit, no mountains to climb and no rivers or lakes to swim in. In fact, Johannesburg is the only large city out of the 50 largest cities, internationally, which isn't situated near a river, lake or coastline. So where do we urbanites escape to when it's needed? Johannesburg City Parks has been working since 2000 to create and maintain 22,278-hectares of luscious, open space in and around the bustling city. Green living is what is needed to sustain our world, but more than that we need to sustain ourselves. It is a proven fact that the stress levels of people living in cities are much higher than those staying in more rural or open spaces, and to keep ourselves sane we need to take a break from the chaos of city life. There are about 25 parks that are considered the jewels of our green city and the use of these parks is very diverse, from corporate events to having a picnic and so much more. Kloofendal Nature Reserve: I recently explored one of the oldest parks, Kloofendal Nature Reserve, a huge 110-hectare park located in the quiet suburb of Kloofendal, just a five-minute drive from Clearwater Mall in the West Rand. As you enter the park, a monument dedicated to the Struben Stamp Mill stands tall. The mill was brought here from England in 1884 to mill ore from the surrounding gold reef, and turned into a monument after its working career. Walking further into the lush, green nature reserve, the sound of every kind of bird, it seems, overwhelms the senses. The park offers various activities, as well as organised walks and talks. If you're in the mood for some bird watching, there's a trail that leads to a bird hide overlooking a verdant water source that attracts the local bird life in droves. Further along the trail you pass an old mine shaft (tours can be arranged) and there's also a stone amphitheatre surrounded by floodlights, a large community lapa for braaing and relaxing, and ablution facilities.

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James and Ethel Gray park

Other parks, where you can enjoy the same and more, are located all around Johannesburg. Starting in the northern suburbs and working clockwise, the biggest and best parks in Johannesburg are: Ivory Park: This is one of Johannesburg's biggest parks and in 2007 the UN honoured Johannesburg City Parks with the Liveable Communities Award, as it is a first-class park in the middle of a poverty-stricken area. That makes absolutely no difference though, as the residents of this lovely park appreciate it and use it for all kinds of gatherings, screenings and corporate events. James and Ethel Gray: Situated a stone's throw from the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Birdhaven, bordering on Melrose Arch, this stunning park recently received a R5 million facelift. It is named after early Johannesburg historians, James and Ethel Gray. It is a well-known birdwatching hotspot due to the Sandspruit


River that journeys through the 36-hectare park, to create a sanctuary for the local bird life. Landscaping incorporates both indigenous vegetation and neat lawns, and there are meandering walkways and new ablution facilities. It is completely fenced, and ideal for filming commercials, small corporate events and photography. The Wilds: Set in the lovely hills of Houghton, The Wilds is the perfect place to arrange small corporate events, weddings and other activities that require a pristine backdrop. The evergreen park has a mix of stone walkways that lead up and around the 16-hectare area, and is great for peaceful strolls to take a break from the rat race. If, on the other hand, you'd rather admire a stunning city view, there's no better place to see Johannesburg's skyline than from the sundial, at the peak of the park. As a nature reserve, events here are limited to ensure the natural flora and fauna are protected.

The Wilds sun dial at the peak of the park


Delta Park: One of Johannesburg’s biggest parks, this 104-hectare grass and woodland paradise is also one of the local residents’ favourites. There are walking and mountain bike trails that flow through the park and past three tree-lined dams. The Braamfontein Spruit Trail, popular amongst mountain bike enthusiasts, travels from Emmerentia, through Delta Park and towards Rivonia. It's a wonderful track to ride if you don’t have much time to get out of the city. The Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary is also integrated into the park and there's a sensory trail and bird viewing hides. The Delta Environmental Centre offers a wide variety of wildlife-related courses to adults and children, as well as holiday programmes for children aged six to thirteen. Professional staff members take care of the educational needs and about 20,000 children are taught here every year. James and Ethel Gray

Rhodes Park: Stepping stones and railway sleepers take you through this neatly-kept, moderately-sized park. There are ponds and waterfalls to enjoy, and adding to its special appeal is a small amphitheatre where musical and theatrical performances take place on occasion. Joubert Park: Located in the city, it is Johannesburg's oldest park and dates back to 1887. Mr. Joubert was the town’s first mining commissioner sent to Jo'burg to investigate the gold rush claims of fortune seekers. Boasting an average of 20,000 visitors each month, it is without a doubt one of the busiest parks. This is not surprising as it comprises the Johannesburg Art Gallery and Conservancy, has a lovely fountain, largescale chessboards and maintains some of the city's innovative environmental developments on its grounds. It can handle groups of 500 or more people, and is ideal for photography, filming commercials and small corporate events. Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve: This 680-hectare nature reserve is situated 11 km south of Jo'burg's city centre, and comprises mainly open veld and koppies. There are several nature trails and hikes to choose from, the longest being a nine kilometre route. A variety of wildlife can be seen; the park is home to 150 bird species, 600 plant species and animals such as blesbok, zebra and duiker are spread out over the large reserve. If South African history interests you, Klipriviersberg is known as a place of the largest concentration of identified Iron Age sites on the Witwatersrand. There are remains of a BaTswana village and the walls of a house that belonged to Sarel Marais in the 1850s. This reserve is well suited to large and small corporate events, filming commercials and photography. Dorothy Nyembe Park: Named after the well known 1950s ANC activist, this 26-hectare park was renovated in 2003. Some features include a bird hide situated in a natural wetland, which feeds the clear dams, as well as braai facilities and a children's play area. There's an amphitheatre for local shows and plays, netball courts, a football field, volleyball court and basketball court, plus areas to play chess and morabaraba, a traditional African board game. In 2007, the Dorothy Nyembe Environmental Education Centre, the first of its kind in a township in South Africa, was awarded gold at the UN Liveable Communities Awards in the category of Natural Built Project.

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These are just a few of the best parks known to Johannesburg, which are all very well cared for and there to be enjoyed by everyone.

So don't leave Jo'burg the next time you feel the need to relax and enjoy nature, be pleasantly surprised by the diversity that Johannesburg City Parks offers right on your door step! •

èRelated articles: • Birding Hotspots (Issue 20, p. 84) • Woodcliffe Cave Trails - the ultimate eco experience (Issue 18, p. 110) • A Closer Look at Fynbos (Issue 14, p. 107)

dinFO box

i

Park contact details: Kloofendal Nature Reserve - Galena Avenue, Kloofendal: 011 943 3578 / 011 712 6600 Ivory Park James and Ethel Gray - Atholl Oaklands Road, Abbotsford: 011 643 2313 The Wilds - Houghton Drive, Houghton: 011 643 2313 Rhodes Park - Cnr Cumberland and Ocean Streets, Kensington: 011 622 1829 / 011 615 5629 Joubert Park - Cnr Wolmarans and King George Streets, Johannesburg: 011 643 2313 Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve - Peggy Vera Road, Kibler Park: 011 943 4578 / 011 712 6600 Dorothy Nyembe Park - Mofolo North, Soweto: 011 938 7600 Delta Park & Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary - Craighall Road, Victory Park: 011 888 4831 All info can be found at www.jhbcityparks.com or email joburgconnect@joburg.org.za.


inFOCUS:

Words, Photos & Video: Jacques Marais | www.jacquesmarais.co.za

Photographic

Chronicles

SHOOT! The Night Fantastic

88 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013 88 • DO IT NOW Magazine October | November 2012

Get your flash out and go light up the night at a worldclass event such as the Energizer Night Race! Dark zone shooting is something many photographers battle with, but here’s how to get those killer shots! Night shooting will test both you and your equipment, but a few ingenuous tricks will ensure a whole stack of creative shots at the end of the evening. To successfully capture the mood of an event, your key goal is to balance any available light with your on-camera flash.


Your first move is to switch your Mode Setting to either Shutter Priority or Manual Mode, so you can effectively control the amount of background detail through longer exposures. Secondly, push up your ISO so you can shoot at a shutter speed of around 1/15th sec. Any source of available light, like the finish area, television lighting, vehicle head lights or urban lighting spills from street lamps will help add detail to an otherwise flat and two-dimensional backdrop. Energizer's annual Night Race is one event where you can test your night shooting skills to the max. This year, it once again unfolded as a veritable festival of lights, with nearly 4,000 mountain bikers, trail runners and walkers blazing along the trails of the Modderfontein Nature Reserve to reclaim the Jozi night with their colourful head torches.

Image 1: Positive Energy The Action: A rider blasts across the finish line during the 2013 Energizer Night Race, a phenomenal event presented on the Modderfontein Nature Reserve trails. The Shot: The amount of available light spilling onto the finish line area makes it a great place to get your money shot. After all, this is the one spot where all the action, emotion and available light come together. The Technique: Meter off an area maximum light for average aperture, then set f-stop slow enough to enable you to paint with, as you move your camera around. The Specifications: 1/10 sec @ f2.8; Nikon D800 with 20 mm lens; ISO 400; WB Setting (Auto); off-camera flash from 2 x SB910 units; AE Setting: Under-exposure by 1 stop. More Information: www.nightrace.co.za


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Image 2: Little Monster’s Ball The Action: Don’t get so lost within the exhilaration of the racing that you don’t pick up on some of the superb behind-the-scenes shots. The Shot: This young boy, waiting for Father Christmas to hand out his present, was just one of the many gaily-painted faces capturing the energy of SA’s biggest Night Race. The Technique: Getting in close allowed me to isolate the subject’s face, while tilting and zooming the flash made sure I got the light in exactly the right place. The Specifications: 1/60th sec @ f5.6; D600 with 16 mm fish-eye lens; ISO 160; WB Setting: (Auto); AE Setting (-1). More Information: www.maxcluer.com

www.doitnow.co.za | Sport • 91


Image 3: Fire & Ice The Action: Fire dancers light up the night at the 2012 edition of the Enerigizer Night Race, Gauteng’s most exhilarating night-time entertainment event. The Shot: Hand-held camera, but wedged against the stage for stability, combines dynamic movement with the flare of the flames. The Technique: To get the cold blue, I did not use any flash, thus juxtaposing the two opposing light temperatures for effect. The Specifications: 1/5 sec @ f2.8; D800 with 20 mm lens; ISO 250; WB Setting (Daylight); AE Setting: (0). More Information: www.nightrace.co.za


Image 4: Entranced & Enthralled The Action: The crowds look on in amazement at the Energizer Night Race as the evening’s entertainment unfolds. The Shot: The laser lighting washing across the crowds created interesting lighting effects, and a slightly slow exposure captures this. The Technique: Straight-forward shot from the stage; I shot on a fast prime lens to ensure I could hand-hold the camera without shake at around 1/20th sec. The Specifications: 1/20 sec @ f2.8; D800 with 20 mm lens; ISO 250; WB Setting (Auto); Flash: On-camera SB-910; AE Setting: Under-exposure by 1 stop. More Information: www.maxcluer.com


Image 3: Bright up the Night The Action: The mountain bike segment of the exhilarating Energizer Night Race offers kick-ass shots, as it starts early enough for you to still utilise some available light. The Shot: Although all the daylight was gone by the time I shot this image, the branding and tungsten lighting at the bridge crossing made for fab lighting opportunities. The Technique: Again, I used two SB-910 units to provide ample offcamera light to ensure pin-sharp action, with a slow exposure creating a dynamic background blur. The Specifications: 1/6 sec @ f2.8; D800 with 20 mm lens; ISO 250; WB Setting (Auto); AE Setting: Under-exposure by 1. More Information: www.jacquesmarais.co.za

inFOCUS Quarterly Competition

WIN 500! R

The inFOCUS competition will feature a photo winner in every quarterly issue of the magazine, with a R500 voucher to be won! The closing date for the April 2013 competition is 4 March 2013. Please email entries to competitions@doitnow.co.za. Good news for all entrants! All entries received in 2013 will be entered into a final draw to take place at the end of December. The winner will be announced in the January 2014 issue. The details of the grand prize will be announced on DO IT NOW’s website (www.doitnow.co.za) soon. When emailing your images to us please include the following information: • Name of photographer • Name of photograph • Camera type

• Camera settings • Place where the photograph was taken

Competition rules can be viewed on www.doitnow.co.za.

96 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013

• Which category you are submitting your photo under - Adventure, Sport or Lifestyle


24 Megapixels

Full HD Video Full Frame Sensor

GUN FOR HIRE: Global shooter and author; national newspaper columnist; respected magazine journalist; author of 11 outdoor books and guides. Nikon NPS Member: shoots with the brand new NIKON D600. EXPERIENCE: Accredited Merrell, Land Rover and Red Bull photographer; covers global extreme sport events; focus on Sport, Adventure Travel; African Culture; Documentaries; Environment and People. Interesting projects required. AWARDS: Global finalist in Red Bull ILLUME International (2008); Silver & Gold Awards SONY PROFOTO (2010). CLIENT PORTFOLIO: JM Media shoots, writes or coordinates media projects and events for clients as diverse as Nike, Land Rover, Capestorm, Salomon, Hi-Tec, Cape Union Mart, Red Bull, Maserati, Wilderness Safaris & Tourvest. NO EGO: Buzz me now on (083) 444 5369 or on the details below for a quote on your next event or project. Do it now. 083/444-5369 • jacques@jacquesmarais.co.za • www.jacquesmarais.co.za

GO-PRO Ambassador Andy MacDonald bails during a huge air on the Vert Ramp at the MALOOF Money Cup World Skateboarding Championships. Held in Kimberley in the Northern Cape.

I AM IN ACTION


inDULGE:

Words by Neil Ross, Executive Chef

Serves 4

VALENTINE’S DAY MENU

If you are looking for something delicious to make on Valentine’s Day, then try these very tasty and sure-to-impress recipes.

PAN-FRIED OSTRICH WITH BLACKBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil Ostrich medallions (enough for 4 people) 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 150 ml beef stock (made with 2 teaspoons Knorr Touch of Taste beef concentrate) 2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly 1 garlic clove, crushed 85 g fresh or frozen blackberries

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METHOD:

1.  Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the ostrich for 3-5 minutes on either side, depending on how rare you like it and the thickness of the meat (cook for 5-6 mins on each side for well done). Lift the meat from the pan and set aside. 2.  Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, and then pour in the stock, redcurrant jelly and garlic. Stir over quite a high heat to blend everything together, then add the blackberries and cook until they soften. Serve with the ostrich and mashed sweet potatoes, with lots of chopped spring onions.


CAPPUCINO CAKE INGREDIENTS:

150 g butter ¾ cup sugar 3 egg yolks 1 ½ cups standard grade flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ cup strong black coffee, cooled 1 teaspoon cinnamon

TOPPING

METHOD:

1. M  elt butter in a saucepan large enough to mix all the ingredients. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and egg yolks. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder alternating with coffee. 2. Place mixture in a 20 cm round spring-form tin lined on the base with baking paper. Spread topping over. 3. B  ake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin before releasing the sides of the tin. Cool. 4. D  ust with cinnamon and decorate with any red berries to give it a red-hot Valentine’s look.

3 egg whites ¾ cup caster sugar To make the topping, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until mixture is thick. Enjoy preparing this Valentine’s Day feast for your loved one, and bon appétit!

èRelated articles:

• Courgette and Ricotta Pasta (Issue 19, p. 135) • Spring Lamb Stew (Issue 18, p. 131)

www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle • 99


inTERTAINMENT:

Reviews by www.fortressofsolitude.co.za

MOVIE TITLE

Rise of the Guardians Director: Peter Ramsey Starring: Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law

HIGHLIGHTS • Great 3D Recommended for: All ages

VERDICT

Jack Frost, the infamous figure that nips at your nose when it’s cold, is the central figure of Dreamworks‘ Rise of the Guardians. Jack wakes up in lake not knowing who he is or where he came from; all he knows is that his name is Jack Frost. He is a mischievous character that gets into all sorts of trouble, the only problem being that no one can see him, which can be quite lonely. When an ominous character appears, the guardians are all assembled to fight against it and Jack is chosen as the newest guardian. Jack is a reluctant guardian, but receives added incentive when he might be able to get his memories back. Just as in the movie, Jack Frost isn’t a relevant figure, which I think is quite brilliant on the part of Dreamworks. They were able to give him a believable character when the rest of the cast were quite wishy-washy. Santa was scary with his biker tattoos, the Tooth Fairy looks like a weird butterfly and has a freaky obsession with teeth, The Easter bunny is a wise-cracking, boomerang wielding grump, and the Sandman makes up for all their quirks because he’s the only character that was remotely close to the original. This is a great movie for kids and is tolerable for adults. It’s a good afternoon out during the upcoming holidays. If you don’t get around to seeing it, there’s always DVD, but I’d make sure to see it in 3D because it’s well worth seeing.

MOVIE TITLE

Wreck-It Ralph Director: Rich Moore Starring: Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and John C. Reilly

HIGHLIGHTS • Video game jokes well made Recommended for: Video game fans

VERDICT

Ralph (Reilly) is the villain of a timeless arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. Every day Ralph is defeated by Felix, who receives all the adoration of the other video game inhabitants, while Ralph is left in the mud below. Ralph attends support meetings with other video game villains, who all have to deal with such concerns. This meeting is actually one of the best scenes in the movie, including Bowser, Zangief, a zombie and more. From there, Ralph resolves to become a hero and first finds himself in the space marine game “Hero’s Duty,” a spot-on parody of Halo and Call of Duty style games. From there, he travels to the ultra-saccharine candy world of Sugar Rush, where he finds himself involved with the cute and spunky Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman). The story is naturally heartwarming at stages with a predictable happy ending, but includes a few twists along the way that keep things exciting. What’s great about the video game aspects of the movie is how they include actual series, like Mario and Sonic, and place them against the fictional ones in ways that show the creators understand classic video games. The characters are likable, the jokes are funny, the story is engaging and the video game jokes are well made and plentiful. Theres something here for old and young alike, especially for those of us who have grown up with video games. Worth checking out; but be advised that 3D adds nothing and you should just watch it in normal resolution. Save some money, buy a bigger popcorn.

100 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February Octobe February January r | Novembe 2013 2013 2013 r 2012


GAME TITLE

VERDICT

Hitman: Absolution

Absolution probably includes the deepest story line of any in the series thus far; concerning Agent 47 turning rogue on his Agency to save a young girl. Anything else would be spoiling it; a lot of the story line is engaging because of the presentation and stylistic elements of the game. For lack of a better term, the cut scenes and such-like sequences look really cool. A multiplayer mode allows players to design and then play levels of other players, and allows for some longevity to be added to the title. Otherwise, in each single player level there’s plenty of things to collect and challenges to complete. Hitman is very much its own genre; and anyone who enjoys titles in this series or likes how it sounds should definitely pick it up.

GAME TITLE

VERDICT

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 is nominally a FPS title; but is so much more. With vivid, huge areas, tons of things to do and see, and ways to keep the player busy for hours. FC3 is closer to being Skyrim with guns than another corridor shooter. It is truly a remarkable creation in every way. Far Cry 3 is remarkable, one of the best games of the year. Much more than just an FPS, it pushes the genre to the limit. It is an experience as much as a game. As an added bonus, for some reason Ubisoft love South Africans; the main villain is South African, and many of the random NPCs also are. So for those who enjoy hearing our accent in the oddest places, there’s that too.

INTERTAINMENT to look out for Broken City Genre: Crime Drama Director: Allen Hughes Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones Date: 1 Feb

Lincoln Genre: Biography, Drama Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and David Strathairn Date: 1 Feb

Seven Psychopaths Genre: Comedy Director: Martin McDonagh Starring: Colin Farrell , Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken Date: 1 Feb

Hitchcock Genre: Drama Director: Sacha Gervasi Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson Date: 8 Feb

A Good Day to Die Hard Genre: Action Director: John Moore Starring: Bruce Willis and Mary Elizabeth Winstead Date: 15 Feb

Beautiful Creatures Genre: Fantasy, Romance Director: Richard LaGravenese Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emmy Rossum Date: 22 Feb

www.doitnow.co.za www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle | Sport • 101


inREVIEW:

Words & Photos: Francois Steyn - drivethis.wordpress.com

BMW 125i and IN the spotlight Harley-Davidson’s 110th Birthday Ride BMW 125i (3-door)

BMW is famous for being fun to drive and the 125i is no different. In fact, I enjoyed it more than the M6 in last month’s issue. It’s not nearly as quick, but it is much more drivable thanks to being smaller, lighter and less powerful. By the latter I mean 160 kW at 5,000 r/min and 310 Nm from as low as 1,350 r/min from a 2.5-litre petrol with a TwinScroll turbocharger with Valvetronic. This allows you to reach a 100 from standstill in around 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 245 km/h. But that’s not the fun bit. Slam on the accelerator whilst the steering wheel is pointing in any direction, other that straight ahead, and the rear-wheel-drive tail steps out ever so predictably thanks to an electronic differential lock that optimises traction by braking at the rear wheels. The intervention is subtle though, leaving you feeling as if you’re in total control. Having only two doors and painted in a bright Valencia orange round the package off nicely, attracting more stares and compliments than I anticipated from a BMW 1 Series. The driving experience control, which enables you to individually adjust the drivetrain, suspension and steering, includes a fourth mode that's in addition to the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings. ECO PRO optimises fuel consumption and shows the possible additional range your driving style has saved on the on-board computer. An automatic stop-start function is also active in all modes, unless you disable it manually each time you start the engine. This must be the car where I’ve felt the most noticeable difference between the various modes. If you switch from ECO PRO to Sport while driving, you can actually feel the right pedal almost pulling your foot in and the black leather seat with red stitching’s backrest pushing you forward as the rev needle jumps a few hundred r/min to compensate for the lower ratio just selected. The 8-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox is very well matched to this power plant and can be manually shifted with the gear lever or pedals behind the steering wheel.

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In Sport mode, under hard acceleration, the manual upshifts at high revs to kick you in the backside, but in a good way. Driving sedately it is almost unnoticeable. This is what I liked most about the car; you can relax and try to blend in or have as much fun as you like. As usual on BMWs, most of the fancy features are paid-for extras and optional packages include the Drive Comfort Package, Interior Comfort Package or the Driving Light Package. There is even a Parking Package and Connectivity Package, so make sure your car has everything you want in it before signing on the dotted line. Luckily, the safety equipment is all standard kit. This includes ABS with Corner Brake Control, Dynamic Traction and Stability Control, a whole lot of airbags, as well as a crash sensor that unlocks the doors, switches on the interior lights and activates the warning light in the event of an accident. Access to the rear seats is no problem and the boot is rather large for a three-door hatch, making it the perfect car for the family man not wanting to let go of his bachelor image. Fuel consumption averaged a litre or two on either side of 10 l/100 km, which is very reasonable considering the fun to be had, and if you’re careful it can be even more economical. I sometimes get concerned that carmakers of the future are going to dilute all the fun for the sake of safety and the environment, but if the 125i is anything to go by we should be fine for the foreseeable future.


McCarthy Toyota Lynnwood Tel: (012) 807 9800 “Peace of mind is part of the deal!”


Harley-Davidson’s 110th Birthday Ride

Coffee in Muizenberg

In 1903 the world was on the move. The first Tour de France was held in Europe and in the U.S. the Ford Motor Company was incorporated. It was also the year in which 22-year-old William S. Harley and his buddy Arthur Davidson strapped a 116 cc engine to a bicycle in their friend, Henry Melk’s garage. Arthur’s

brother, Walter, helped them to finish the first ever HarleyDavidson, and on their first test ride they realised the little motor was too weak to scale the hills of their hometown Milwaukee. Undeterred, they immediately started planning the next model, this time with a 405 cc engine.

That was the beginning of a long and colourful history. Today Harley-Davidson is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but their headquarters are still at the original location on Juneau Avenue (originally Chestnut Street) where the first 12 metre by 18 metre wooden shed of a factory was built. In 1906 they produced about 50 motorcycles in that factory and during World War II they delivered more than 90,000 bikes. In 2003, both Ford and Harley commemorated their centenaries with a Harley version of the bestselling Ford F150 truck proudly bearing a 100 year anniversary badge. A decade later and we’re not only celebrating the 110th year of Harley motorcycles, but the 100th year of the HarleyDavidson clothing label too.

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I was invited to sample the 2013 model range on a daylong drive around the Cape Winelands. We met for coffee and a short presentation at the Tygervalley dealership at 08h00, and although it was pouring with rain, no one seemed to mind as there were six different models waiting to be sampled. The first stop was an old airfield for a quick breakfast. To get there we took to the open, winding roads through the countryside. The first bike I rode was the new 1200 Custom CA, a compact, easy to ride Sportster. It is rather cramped if you’ve got long legs, but would be perfect for a lady rider or someone a bit shorter. It had the optional Harman Kardon sound system, with an iPod blasting 'Born to be Wild' clamped to the handlebars. At 100 km/h it was still clearly audible and almost drowned out the lovely tones from the Screaming Eagle tailpipes. After breakfast the sun came out and I hopped onto the Fat Bob. Part of the Dyna family, this bike has you reclining backwards and stretching your legs way out in front of you. The handlebars are flat and even though it weighs nearly 320 kg, this monster is rather fun to drive in the twisties. This was proven moments later when we traversed the Bains Kloof Pass out of Wellington. I scraped my shoes against the tar twice, but it never felt as if the fat tyres wanted to let go of the tarmac. The torque is also so abundant that you can shave off as much speed as you like before a tight turn, and when you exit you just dial in 100 km/h with your right wrist.


Phisantekraal Airstrip for breakfast

Harman Kardon sound system Sportster 1200 Custom CA

Street Glide cockpit

Tygervalley dealership

The next leg of the journey was the long, flat and straight (really boring) road to Villiersdorp. I regretted choosing the 1200 Custom CB for this stretch, as the upright position with its curved-back handlebars had me jostling around in my seat to wake my numb cheeks. It should be perfect for city riding, especially in traffic, but after lunch I gladly swopped it for the Street Glide. This touring bike, with integrated audio and cruise control, was the best choice for the R43 to Kleinmond. Fine rain had begun to fall again, but behind the tall windscreen I kept dry and comfy, and my feet could rest on the large platforms below the controls. There are also lockable pannier boxes either side of the saddle and on the back, and with this Harley you’d easily devour hundreds of kilometres in a day.

While admiring the view along Clarens Drive, between Kleinmond and Gordon’s Bay, I ditched the tourer for the Fat Bob’s sibling in the Dyna family. The Street Bob has high handlebars, stretches back chopper style and was finished in Harley’s new Hard Candy Custom colours. This new colour option is available on most models and hand-painted using a special technique involving shiny metal flakes and multiple layers of clear lacquer, to give each bike a unique finish. The pipes on this bad boy also make a beautiful noise, backfiring each time I closed the throttle.

At Muizenberg we had a quick coffee in the stormy wind that was brewing, before heading to the new Cape Town HarleyDavidson dealership on the M3. The Road King proved to be as easy to ride as the smaller bikes in the Monday afternoon peak traffic. After nine hours of riding more than 400 km, Harley-Davidson proved once again that these shiny pieces of mechanical art are not only meant to be garaged, polished and displayed, but to be ridden in any weather conditions and on any road all day long. •

èRelated articles:

• inREVIEW: Finding your Perfect Companion - Mitsubishi, Isuzu & Harley-Davidson (Issue 18, p. 138) • inREVIEW: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Nissan NP200 1.5 dCi vs. Chevrolet Corsa Ute 1.8i Sport & BMW G650GS Sertão (Issue 17, p. 110) • December Harley Days (Issue 4, p. 27)

www.doitnow.co.za | Lifestyle • 105


inCLOSING

inside the next issue ...

Quote: “I've been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” - Mark Twain. Don't miss these and many other great articles in the March 2013 issue of DO IT NOW Magazine.

Call of the Running Tide A Pilgrim’s Progress

The Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, has drawn pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain for more than 12 centuries, even if the historical basis for the trip is actually quite flimsy. Ahead of us, two pilgrims materialised in the dust, barely moving, and as we shuffled past they cheerily shouted, "Buen camino peregrinos." It was then that I knew we’d reach Santiago, even if we still had over 400 km to run.

I headed to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where my career as a yachtie began at the age of 18 and fresh out of school, on the super yacht SY Maltese Falcon, a magnificent 88 m sailing yacht with a remarkable freestanding, computer-controlled clipper rig. During my time onboard, I was fortunate to visit amazing parts of the world, eat at the very best restaurants and receive VIP treatment at all the hottest clubs. As crew, we were not only surrounded by the very rich, famous and most influential individuals in the world, but lived a life of luxury.

photographic chronicles

Don't miss Jacques Marais' regular photographic chronicles with fantastic tips on how to capture the perfect shot, be it at extreme events or diverse action and adventure disciplines. Photography has never been easier! And if you would like to showcase your photographic skills, then enter our quarterly inFOCUS competition and stand a chance to win R500. See page 92 for more details.

On the Lighter Side A young woman was taking an afternoon nap. After she woke up, she told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?” “You’ll know tonight.” he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it only to find a book entitled “The meaning of dreams”.

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BRYTON Rider 40T worth R3 499 As a performance driven rider, Rider 40 is your best personal coach. Following training steps can be easier than ever. With Rider 40 Pre-loaded workout programmes and test workouts, your training can be systematic and smooth. It is designed to motivate you to reach, even surpass your goals.

While every effort is made by the DIN Team to ensure that the content of the DO IT NOW Magazine is accurate at the time of going to press, 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 are not always representative of DO IT NOW MAGAZINE (Pty) Ltd opinion. Copyright 2009 DO IT NOW MAGAZINE (Pty) Ltd. No part of this 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.

106 • DO IT NOW Magazine | February 2013


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DO IT NOW Magazine #22 - Adventure, Sport & Lifestyle