T S E R E V E
North Ridge Expedition • King of Adventure Touring • Landing your Canopy • Trans-Kalahari 1,000km Run • Hot Days, Hazardous Critters
• More from Jade Gutzeit • Racketlon? • DCM Cape Pioneer Trek • Fish River Canoe Marathon
• Leopard Tracking - Cederberg • Hwange National Park • Sipadan, A Divine Paradise • CHOC Cows Ride for Cancer
www.doitnow.co.za Vol. 2 Issue 6 Dec/Jan 2011
FREE SUBSCRIPTION - p.11
Reader Competitions p.12 / p.138
TEAM GHOST DO IT NOW 2011 PROFILE: Jock Green
Team Captain and ranked third in the National Marathon Series for 2010, Sub Vet Men
National Cross Country Champion 2010, Sub Junior Boys
Ranked fourth in the National Marathon Series for 2010, Senior Women
Simone Vosloo Savannah Vosloo Saffron Vosloo
Ranked fourth in the National Marathon Series for 2010, Junior Girls Ranked third in the National Marathon Series for 2010, Youth Girls SA Champ Cross Country Champion 2010, Sprogs
inDEX Vol 2 | Issue 6 | 2010 | www.doitnow.co.za
Going somewhere? Korannaberg?
Base // DINList and CALENDAR: p. 6 Exciting “Adventure-Sport-Lifestyle” Three Month Calendar
// inVOLVED: p. 142-145
// inFO: p. 12-13 Information page - check out our competitions and event dates.
// inCLOSING: p. 146 A sneak preview of upcoming features and articles.
Feedback on DO IT NOW’s involvement in the community.
Regulars p. 16-21 inGEAR: "Adventure-Sport-Lifestyle" activities featuring vehicles with gears. p. 22-25 inTRAIL: Trail running and hiking adventures. p. 26-35 inH2O: Water sport and adventure activities. p. 36-45 inALTITUDE: Aerial and high altitude adventures. p. 48-51 inTERVIEW: Interviews with a variety of sportsmen and women. p. 52-61 inTRODUCING: Featuring informative articles on a number of sports and why athletes compete in them. p. 62-81 inACTION: Information and feedback on various exciting sporting events. p. 82-87 inSHAPE: Important information about health, nutrition and exercise. p. 90-95 in THE HOLE: Golfing articles. p. 96-103 inNATURE: Outdoor experiences and activities such as hiking and fishing. p. 104-113 inTRANSIT: Exciting and entertaining travel stories from Africa and beyond. p. 114-121 inCREDIBLE PLACES: Stories about incredible and magical places. p. 122-128 inDULGE: A wine and dine section with a twist. p. 129 inSURE: Valuable information about insurance and related topics. p. 130-131 inTERTAINMENT: CD, music and gaming reviews. p. 130-139 inFOCUS: Photography section with discussions, competitions and event-specific photography tips. p. 140-141 inSPIRATION: Inspirational stories where ordinary people do extraordinary things. Key: Adventure | Sport | Lifestyle
4 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2010 2011
ADVENTURE p. 14 to 45 inGEAR 16-19 Luderitz to Walvis Bay Adventure 20-21 Who is the King of Adventure Touring?
inTRAIL 22-25 Running for the Cheetahs - Trans- Kalahari Adventure Run 1,000km inH2O 26-29 My Search for the Legendary SS Waratah 1909, Part II 30-31 How to Execute a Heelside Wake-to- wake Jump 32-33 Hot Days and Hazardous Critters 34-35 Free your Style inALTITUDE 36-41 On Top of the World – Everest North Ridge Expedition 42-43 Trad Climbing in the Drakensberg 44-45 Landing your Canopy
SPORT p. 46 to 87 inTERVIEW 48-51 Jade Gutzeit, Enduro Extraordinaire - Part II inTRODUCING 52-55 Cape Adventure Bike Challenge 2010 56-57 A Beginner’s Take on the Spirit of Africa 58-59 2010 SA Waveski Surfing Championships 60-61 RACKETLON - The Iron Man of Racket Sports! 62-64 The Inaugural DO IT NOW Touch Rugby Tournament inACTION 65-69 DCM Cape Pioneer Trek 2010 70-71 The NISSAN MTB Series 72-75 Hansa Powerade Fish River Canoe Marathon 76-81 Goodbye to the Swazi Xtreme inSHAPE 82-83 Shin Splints or Compartment Syndrome? 84-85 Spondylolisthesis, the Chiropractic Approach 86-87 Fast Fat Loss!
LIFESTYLE p. 88 to 145 in THE HOLE 90-92 20 Questions with Arnold Geerdts 93 Grip it to Rip it! 94-95 40 Year-Old Rookie - Stuff to Keep You in the Swing of Things
inNATURE 96-99 Pursuing Moments of Perfection 100-103 Leopard Tracking in the Cederberg inTRANSIT 104-107 Open Spaces and Little Places 108-111 Hwange National Park via Hunters Road 112-113 Touring Southern Africa - The Expense of Southern Africa’s Shoestrings inCREDIBLE PLACES 114-117 Ibo Island Dreaming - Sea Kayaking the Quirimbas 118-121 Borneo – Part 3 of 3, Sipadan- A Divine Paradise
inDULGE 122-125 Islay - The Home of Big, Peaty Malts 126-127 Bubbles, Glorious Bubbles 128 Cambodian Beef Salad inSURE 129 What you should know about Life Assurance inTERTAINMENT 130-131 Music, Movie and Gaming Reviews inFOCUS 132-139 SHOOT! The Southern Storm inSPIRATION 140-141 When Quitting is Not an Option inVOLVED 142-144 Planning is for People who don’t know what they’re doing! 145 Do It Day – Dressing of the Princess
Be where the action is - Excel to the finish line - Live the lifestyle - Be the one to DO IT NOW! www.doitnow.co.za >> 5
Gouritz Bridge Jumping: 1 - 31 December 2010
& Calendar ...
Faircape Downhill Challenge, Skateboarding: 4 December 2010 Hot Heels Africa (Street Luge, Skateboarding, Classic Luge): 10 December 2010
Big Dune Driving: 17 December2010 - 2 January 2011 WSM Ultimate Watersports and Beach Festival: 18 - 19 December Kitesurfing Jeffreys Bay: 27 December 2010 Paddling the Tugela River: 26 December 2010 - 1 January 2011 Jet Flying - Cape Town: 1 - 31 January 2011 Oddesey Ultra Run - KZN: 7 January 2011
BiCycling Mountain Bike Experience 24Hour - Gauteng: 4 December 2010 Pilgrims Rest Mountain Bike Classic: 4 December 2010
Sunset Night Surfing Challenge - Durban: 4 December 2010 Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship - Laguna Phuket, Thailand 5 December 2010
WSA Tour - Round 2 - Durban: 11 December 2010 SA Kiteboarding Tour Event: 3 - 11 December 2010 Anchor Challenge - Fish Hoek: 11 December 2010 Urban Rage - uShaka Marine World: 11 - 12 December 2010 SA Kiteboarding Tour Event: 4 - 15 January 2011 Babas Lodge Mountain Bike Challenge: 16 December 2010 Leeuwenboschfontein 3 Day Stage Race: 17 - 19 December 2010 Totalsports Challenge: 8 January 2011 Global Trader Drak Challenge: 22 - 23 January 2011 YsterVark-AMAzing Adventure Race: 28 - 30 January 2011
Dusi Canoe Marathon: 17 - 19 February 2011 Midmar Mile: 20 February 2011 Kinetic Sprint Adventure Race: 27 February 2011
Observatory Arts Festival - Observatory: 1 - 31 December 2010 Nedbank Golf Challenge - Sun City: 2 December 2010 Franschoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival: 3 December 2010 Duran Duran - Carnival City: 8 - 9 December 2010 Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge: 27 - 28 December 2010 Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts -Parlotones: 9 January 2011 Crank It Up! The Globe Theatre Johannesburg: 9 - 10 January 2011 Beeld Holiday Show - Midrand: 11 - 13 February 2011
6 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
inTRO Dear DO IT NOW Reader, The thing about surprises is that it’s something you didn’t expect or account for. However, surprises, like we all know, can either be good or bad! When I look at DO IT NOW and what the brand and team have accomplished over the last few months, it has been beyond my wildest expectations and most definitely a very pleasant surprise to me. The magazine and website have matured tremendously thanks to the enormous efforts from the entire team. We successfully hosted our first Touch Rugby Tournament at the Wanderers Sports Club in Johannesburg during October, been involved in some extraordinary sporting events around the country and are receiving such great feedback on a daily basis from our growing subscriber base. Furthermore, if someone had told me at the beginning of the year that DO IT NOW will feature on two billboards next to the N1 and N3 highways, I would have replied, “Those are high expectations, but let’s give it a go and see what it takes!” I hope you also get to see them! With Issue 9 out and the content streaming in - thanks so much to all our contributors - I have no doubt that the magazine will continue to grow from strength-to-strength and reach many more readers. I really hope that you have enjoyed the journey with us so far and are looking forward to a great future with DO IT NOW! There are some exciting initiatives and new partnerships planned for 2011, which I will tell you more about in the February/March 2011 issue. As this year comes to the end and I reflect back on all the things I was fortunate to DO this year, 2010 turned out to be an incredible year on so many levels. I am also happy to report that I managed to get through almost all of the items on my ‘bucket list’ – and I hope you did too. Looking forward, my list is steadily growing with all the new adventures and experiences that I can’t wait to DO in 2011. To all our valued readers, the DO IT NOW team wishes you and your loved ones an extra Merry Christmas and a FANTASTIC New Year! If you are travelling over the holiday period, please travel SAFEly! Happy holidays until we meet again in 2011, and remember:
DON’T HESITATE! DON’T PROCRASTINATE! DO IT NOW! DIN regards,
Francois Flamengo Founder
On the Cover - Photo by Sonam Bhote Sherpa Everest World Ridge Expedition, Camp 2 (7700m) towards Camp 3 (8300m). (Ben Swart; Nima Nurbu Sherpa; Lance Metz; Barend Engelbrecht)
the TEAM etc.
The DO IT NOW Team comprises of the following individuals: FOUNDER Francois Flamengo MANAGING EDITOR and OPERATIONS Elri Flamengo BRAND AWARENESS Keane Ludick ADMIN Terence Mdluli CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tessa Dreyer GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Ilzé Eva, Adele Cloete TEXT EDITOR Tracy Knox ADVERTISING SALES firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNTS, SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER DO IT NOW CC DISTRIBUTION Subscription Only - www.doitnow.co.za DESIGN & LAYOUT LilyHouse Design Studio WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT Tenaka’s Tribe PRINTING Law Print
HEAD OFFICE DO IT NOW CC Wedgefield Office Park, 17 Muswell Road South, Bryanston, 2021 Tel +27 (0)11 540 0124 email@example.com www.doitnow.co.za DO IT NOW (ISSN 2074-6113) is published bi-monthly. While every effort is made by the DIN Team to ensure that the contents of the DO IT NOW magazine are accurate at the time of going to press, the Founder cannot except responsibility for any errors that may appear, or for any consequence of using the information contained herein. Statements by contributors are not always representative of the Founder’s opinion. Copyright 2009 DO IT NOW (Pty) Ltd. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form or stored on a retrieval system without the prior permission of the Founder. DO IT NOW supports and encourages responsible practices with regards to all Adventure, Sport and Lifestyle activities. We also believe in the conservation and protection of all fauna and flora.
8 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities For more information on Advertising and Sectional Sponsorship opportunities in the magazine and website, you can request the DO IT NOW Company Profile, Rate Card, Specs & Schedule Sheet via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephonically from the DO IT NOW office on +27 (0)11 540 0119/0124.
Thank you to all our contributors who help make this magazine such an exciting adventure! 1. Christa North // inSHAPE Nutrition Contributor
10. Peter Fairbanks // inSURE What you should know about Life
Mom of two, Christa North is a private practicing dietician based in Johannesburg who focuses on weight loss, lifestyle diseases, fertility and sports nutrition. She enjoys a game of tennis, is a keen runner and loves to cook.
Assurance Peter is very passionate about his work and risk management in general. He feels that even the smallest contribution to the wealth creation and protection of his clients is what makes his job so rewarding. Peter loves sport in general, as long as it is on ‘terra firma’.
2. Claire Barnes // inALTITUDE Landing your Canopy: Troubleshooting, Overshooting and PLFing Claire is a young thrill seeker who was bitten by the skydiving bug and has recently started competing at a novice level. When she’s not jumping out of planes, she enjoys soccer, cricket and indoor climbing.
3. Claire King // inALTITUDE Skydiving Contributor Claire loves to try new stuff; if it’s outdoors and active, she’s game. Her main passion is skydiving and she is a PASA Coach, FAI Judge and has medalled at various SA National Championships. Most weekends Claire can be found team training, coaching or judging skydives.
4. Deon Breytenbach // inH2O Hot Days and Hazardous Critters; Free your Style Deon has been paddling white water for the last 13 years and competed in both local and international freestyle competitions. Currently based near the Blyde River Canyon, he spends as much time as possible introducing new faces to the world of white water paddling. “Have kayak, will smile.” Deon is supported by Fluid Kayaks. 5. Francois Steyn // inGEAR Who is the King of Adventure Touring?; Cape Adventure Bike Challenge 2010 Adventure rider, Chartered Accountant and Lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch. He’s happiest on two wheels and favours the dryer, barren regions of southern Africa. 6. Garth Oliver // inSHAPE Shin Splints or Compartment Syndrome? Garth is a sport freak and enjoys canoeing, surfing, touch rugby, triathlons and running. Physiotherapist during the day, he also currently runs a multi-disciplinary clinic in Pietermaritzburg.
7. Michael Scholz // in THE HOLE 20 Questions with Arnold Geerdts; 40 Year-Old Rookie - Stuff to Keep you in the Swing of Things A journeyman professional golfer and adrenalin junkie, Mike enjoys scuba diving and fly fishing, but mountain biking tops his list of activities. A passionate but relative new-comer to mountain biking, Mike enjoys the fitness, the ‘burn’ of serious hills and the competitive nature of the sport.
11. Richard Flamengo // inTERTAINMENT Music, Movie and Gaming Reviews Richard is a movie, music and games (MMG) enthusiast, who loves relaxing at home playing games or going to watch movies with some salt and vinegar popcorn. Richard enjoys all sorts of music ranging from lekker sakkie sakkie Afrikaans stuff through to hard-hitting rock.
12. Rocco le Roux // inSPIRATION When Quitting is Not an Option Too much energy to sit still. Can’t be bothered to watch TV as I can’t do it while I am running, cycling, swimming, kayaking, paragliding, diving or driving … a classic Porsche and Harley are part of my family. Comfort is for other people; I would rather rough it. Challenging myself physically keeps me alive.
13. Samuel Sithole // inSHAPE Fast Fat Loss! Sam has been working in the health, sport and fitness industry for more than four years. When it comes to training, he strives towards positive results, not perfection. He lives an active lifestyle and is passionate about people.
14. Steve Adams // inDULGE Islay – the Home of Big, Peaty Malts Steve, the co-owner of Wild about Whisky, is passionate about whisky, photography and travel, and believes that life is too short to accept mediocrity. He believes in dreaming big.
15. Steven Yates // inCREDIBLE PLACES Borneo – Part 3 of 3, Sipadan – A Divine Paradise Steven works as a Business Consultant to pay for his extravagant lifestyle of travelling and adventure sports. He loves cycling, scuba diving, rock climbing and just about any other sport. 17. Wynand and Pietré Smit // inALTITUDE Mountaineering and Climbing Contributors Wynand and Pietré Smit, a Lawyer and Geologist respectively, are based in Pretoria and have an insatiable appetite for mountaineering, their Land Cruiser pick up and Nesquik’s pink milk. They have travelled extensively, climbed on three continents and love sharing gouda with good friends!
8. Paul Carrick // inTERVIEW Jade Gutzeit, Enduro Extraordinaire - Part II Paul is an enthusiastic adventurer who will risk crashing motorbikes, hang gliding into mountains and falling off yachts at sea to experience the thrill of life. His day job is not as exciting.
Lee Dormer // inNATURE
9. Perino Hanack // inH2O How to Execute a Heelside Wake-to-wake
Touring Southern Africa - The Expense of Southern Africa’s Shoestrings
. Jacques Marais // inFOCUS
Liquid Force Boarding Company’s right hand man, who has a simple philosophy in life - Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Wilderness Contributor Lee is a Wilderness Guide and Coordinator of the Inland Branch of the Wilderness Leadership School.
. Dawie du Plessis // inTRANSIT
SHOOT! The Southern Storm
ADVENTURE ADVENTURE Header Page Photograph by: Barry Holubeck, from The Great Book of BASE www.base-book.com inGEAR: Len Nel; inTRAIL: Jessica Crewdson; inH2O: Emlyn Brown; inALTITUDE: Ben Swart and Jurgen Vogt SPORT SPORT Header Page Photograph by: Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media inTRODUCING: Christiaan Greyling, David Park-Ross, Belford Hendricks and Patric Kalous; inACTION: Danie van Aswegen, Willem Botha, Chris du Preez and Amy Witherden; inSHAPE: Dr Rikus Scheepers LIFESTYLE LIFESTYLE Header Page Photograph by: Erik Vermeulen in THE HOLE: Darren Witter; inNATURE: Alan Hobson and Jugen Vogt; inTRANSIT: Jaco van der Westhuizen, Xen and Adri Ludick; inCREDIBLE PLACES: Marie-Louise Kellett; inDULGE: Jacoline Haasbroek and Neil Ross; inTERTAINMENT: Tracy Knox; inVOLVED: Rob Riccardi, WESSA
www.doitnow.co.za >> 9
FREE Subscription to www.doitnow.co.za In order to receive a FREE 2 Year Subscription* to DO IT NOW, either complete the online subscription form at www.doitnow.co.za or please complete the form below thoroughly and Email to email@example.com or Fax to 086 517 0934.
I would like to view my DO IT NOW Magazine online I would like to receive my printed copy of DO IT NOW I would like both of these options
Subscribe to newsletter:
Postal Address (where magazine will be sent) Postal 1: Postal 2: Town/City:
Adventure section Sport section Lifestyle section All of the above
Refer a friend:
Date of birth:
Date of supscription aplication:
Demographic details: 1. Gender: Male
3. Home language: Female
African (Black) Caucasian (White) Indian Asian Other
English Afrikaans Zulu Tswana Xhosa German Other
Interests: 4x4 Bikes Scuba diving Kayaking/Canoeing Parachuting Paragliding/Hangliding Wakeboarding/Wakeskating Surfing/Paddle Surfing Kite Surfing/Wind Surfing Mountain Biking Road Cycling Trail Running/Running Climbing/Mountaineering Adventure Racing Hiking
4. Age group:
0 - 14 15 - 24 25 - 34 35 - 44 45 - 59 60 - 75 76+
5. Monthly income:
R 1 000 – R 5 000 R 6 000 – R 10 000 R 11 000 – R 20 000 R 21 000 – R 35 000 R 36 000 – R 50 000 Above R 50 000 pm
Camping/Caravan Golfing Birding Photography Cooking Whisky/Wine Tasting Community Involvement Environmental awareness Art/Galleries Touring Overseas Other, please specify
Where did you hear about DO IT NOW? Please specify if you select: My Club, Event, Advertisement or Other.
My Club: Event: Advertisement: Word of mouth Other:
First Issue to be received:
February April June August October December
Permission for DO IT NOW and Partners to contact me: Subscribers might be offered exciting promotions such as special offers, new product promotions and invitations to exclusive events, and will communicate these to you by sms and e-mail. Would you like to hear about these?
Do you want DO IT NOW to share your contact details with a third party, please tick here: Yes No
www.doitnow.co.za >> 11
16°53’21.52”E If you would like to share your ADVENTURE – SPORT – LIFESTYLE story with other DO IT NOW readers, then send your article to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tip: Know the place? Then email your answer (the name of this place) to iknowtheplace@doitnow. co.za and stand a chance to win a R250 voucher. The competition closes on 6 January 2011 and the winner will be announced on the DO IT NOW website and in the February/March 2011 issue of DO IT NOW’s magazine.
Competition Feedback ...
Well done to ... Danie and Willem from Team Virtuoso, sponsored by DO IT NOW, on their fantastic performance at the 2010 DCM Cape Pioneer Trek! Read more on page 65-69
Team DO IT NOW Gijima Claims Fifth Place at 3 Towers Mankele Stage Race! Proudly hosted by Mankele Mountain Biking, the 2010 Isuzu 3 Towers Mankele Stage Race was held from 15 – 17 October 2010, near Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga, with participants riding in teams of two. Renowned for its sometimes technical, but always flowing, single track and big mountain trail riding, the three-day event was MTB heaven! Team DO IT NOW Gijima entered this epic race’s mixed category, and based on the team’s dynamite performance, there is no doubt that Christiaan Greyling and Landie Visser were just totally loving the adventure, awesome trails and competing against the best the country had to offer. Overall, it was a great three days of riding in some of the most amazing terrain and team DO IT NOW Gijima finished in 5th place after 205km and 13 hours of MTB. A ‘must do’ race for anyone looking for a good MTB challenge.
Well done to Christiaan and Landie!
So who is the Egg Man?
- Egg Man
Thanks to everyone who entered our ‘I KNOW THIS PERSON’ competition! We certainly had some interesting responses! Congratulations to Tamarah Masiza on winning the October/November competition. Enjoy your R250 prize money!
12 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
He’s Gregory da Silva, born in Benin West Africa - voodoo country! A comedian, storyteller, dancer and live street perfomer, this talented man also speaks French and English and resides in Cape Town, South Africa. Gregory has had an incredible career and apart from recently being nominated a finalist in the Good Hope FM Radio’s ‘The Best of Cape Town Awards and Best Performing Arts’, he’s featured on local and international TV, been heard on radio, graced the pages of many magazines, appeared in a number of movies and TV adverts and could be seen in action at the 2010 FIFA fan festival in Cape Town (FIFA fan park). Then there’s still the many, many appearances and performances at a host of festivals, expos, shows, conferences, carnivals, tourism expos, exhibitions, gala dinner awards and events around Africa. If you would like to make this creative entrepreneur part of your event, festival or marketing plan, please contact The Egg Man at one of the following: Website: www.theeggman.co.za or www.eierman.co.za Email: email@example.com | Mobile: 073 750 7923.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DO-IT-NOW | Twitter: twitter.com/DOITNOWMag
Are you part of our community?
The Perfect Gift!
If you enjoy reading the magazine and can’t wait for the next issue to come out, don’t forget to check out our interactive website, which covers current news, happenings, events, topical stories and competitions. The category pages will keep you up to date on what’s happening on a whole range of adventure | sport | lifestyle activities and includes photos, videos and more. By simply logging on to our website, you’ll find all the links to take you into the heart of the action, making you feel as if you were right there, at that exhilarating, hilarious or scary moment!
Still looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Can’t find the right Birthday present for that special person in your life? Why not give them a FREE two-year subscription to all the ADVENTURE-SPORT-LIFESTYLE they can dream of in 2011, delivered straight to their postbox! Simply visit www.doitnow.co.za/subscriptions.html Complete the subscription form and hey presto, it’s as easy as that and one less thing to worry about.
Limited FREE Subscription Offer hed!
As we continually expand the DO IT NOW brand in a variety of directions, the magazine, although it is our main focus, is just one of these avenues. To ensure that we remain on the right track, we would like to encourage all our readers to send us any suggestions on what kind of information you would like to read about in the magazine. These topics can fall in any of the DO IT NOW pillars: ADVENTURE, SPORT or LIFESTYLE.
ttac ... no strings a
For a limited period only, SUBSCRIBE online at www.doitnow.co.za and receive a FREE two-year (12 issues) subscription to the DO IT NOW magazine! Don’t miss out on this amazing offer. Watch us grow on the online-subscriber counter! Want to subscribe your company or club members? Now you can! Just go to: www.doitnow.co.za/subscriptions.html.
We can’t wait to see what YOU have in mind for the DO IT NOW magazine, so send us your ideas via one of the following methods: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Attention: DO IT NOW Mag Suggestions Website: www.doitnow.co.za
So don’t hesitate, don’t procrastinate, just DO IT NOW! Photo Competition p. 138
C u on the web!
Transforming SA’s future – One Step at a Time Follow tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Bonita G (Carte Blanche), teammates Brad Shorkend and Ian Edwards (African Heroes Trust) and other sporting heroes as they ascend 5,895 metres up Mt. Kilimanjaro, from 3 to 14 December 2010, to raise funds for the 12 South African Laureus projects. For 11 days, this group of extraordinary Samaritans will be challenged to their limits, thus making every step count. Sparked by Confucius’ saying, ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’, the South African team launched the ‘Buy a Footstep’ initiative with the goal of raising R1,000,000 for the Laureus Foundation! Read more about this amazing expedition on www.bonitag.co.za or www.laureus.com
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation makes use of sport to improve some of the most pressing issues facing young people today.
inVOLVED is the heart of DO IT NOW! It is our aim to give back to those who are less fortunate than us, as well as protect our animals and planet! The concept behind inVOLVED is to do just that - get involved! The DO IT NOW team is passionate about becoming actively involved with and raising awareness of the various charities, church, animal, wildlife and environmental conservation causes that are brought to our attention. It’s our mission to laud the many unsung heroes who are making a real difference in our country by offering their services, time or money to improve our communities, help and protect the animals and care for our environment. DO IT NOW currently donates a percentage of its monthly earnings to this fund and our ultimate goal is to encourage our readers, co-workers and service providers to do the same and get inVOLVED. Read more about the latest inVOLVED adventures on pages 142-145. If you know of an institution or group that is in dire need of help, please contact us at email@example.com and we will see how we can help bring their plight to the attention of our readers.
www.doitnow.co.za >> 13
// [inGEAR] Luderitz to Walvis Bay Adventure • Who is the King of Adventure Touring? // [inTRAIL] Running for the Cheetahs - Trans-Kalahari Adventure Run 1,000km // [inH2O] My Search for the SS Waratah - Part II • How to Execute a Heelside Wake-to-wake Jump • Hot Days and Hazardous Critters • Free your Style // [inALTITUDE] On Top of the World – Everest North Ridge Expedition • Trad Climbing in the Drakensberg • Landing your Canopy - Troubleshooting, Overshooting and PLFing
Photo: Barry Holubeck, from The Great Book of BASE www.base-book.com Description: Base Jumping
DO IT NOW | inGEAR: Words & photos by Len Nel
If you are invited on a dune trip, do not hesitate to snap up the offer. And that’s exactly what Len and Lee, from Onca Off-road, did when Arnold from Corporate Racing Development (CRD) asked them to join him on a trip from Luderitz to Walvis Bay through the Namib dunes. A trip like this is booked at least six months in advance because of its popularity.
16 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Preparing your vehicle for a trip such as this is just as much fun as the journey. To survive six days in the world’s highest sand dunes, your vehicle needs to be kitted out with extra water tanks (+/-150 litres) and wider tyres, preferably mud terrains. Fuel is another important issue as low-range sand driving will almost double your fuel consumption, and for some vehicles it’s even worse. A case in point was our friend who drove a V6 Pajero, which guzzled a whopping litre of fuel every two to three kilometres. A bullbar increases approach angles and ensures proper recovery points. A heavy duty spare wheel carrier tow bar unit is recommended as a spare wheel on the bottom of the vehicle can be a real nuisance, especially if a long range tank is fitted. Here, the product of choice is Onca’s spare wheel carrier as it has proper recovery points and will increase your departure angle substantially. Two-way radios for communication between vehicles in the convoy are also very important, and proved invaluable when the first vehicle started
experiencing mechanical problems. With Arnold in charge of one radio, he was able to instruct Martin (Ramkat) on what to do to prevent any further damage. Thanks to Arnold’s expert guidance, we all made it safely to Upington and had the vehicle repaired. Every vehicle also received a sticker for the windscreen with a different ‘Kat’ name, which would be our radio call sign for the trip. Enough said about the vehicles … and so our journey began. It was a very early start on day one, meeting at 05:00 at the Shell garage in Alberton. Arnold (Fat Kat) took the lead. The Van Galens (Pussy Katte) were in hot pursuit to catch up with the convoy and join us for breakfast in Vryburg. After a long and uneventful day on the road, we reached the Onseepkans Border Post at 18:00, and camped alongside the Orange River before crossing the border the next morning. We headed to Luderitz where we met up with the rest of the group and our guides, Johan (Kos Kat) and Oom Dekker (Voorvat Kat). “Make sure you have enough water and fuel,” instructed Voorvat Kat, and so we spent day three doing some last-minute shopping. We regrouped at 09:00 outside the Obelix Guest House and then made our way into the dunes via an old mining town, Kolmanskoppe. We were welcomed into the dunes amidst a serious sand storm. Under these circumstances, it is crucial to keep the vehicle in front of you in sight because the tracks get blown away in seconds. Luckily it didn’t last long and by late afternoon we reached Suzy, the ‘stompneus’ Ford left in the dunes by miners year ago, and set up camp. After enjoying a hearty breakfast prepared by Kos Kat and his team, we headed north. On the way to the old bulldozer, which had also broken down in the dunes way back when, Modder Kat got stuck in the sand and the lesson learnt here was that reducing your tyre pressure to 0.8 bar is not a myth. While spending some time at the ‘Bulldozer’, Voorvat Kat shared his vast knowledge about the history of the area and its inhabitants. From here, we crossed into the dune belt on our way
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 17
"By the third day, the dunes got steadily higher and more menacing."
to Sylvia Hill. As the sun set, one of the most beautiful that I have ever experienced, we set up camp on top of the dunes overlooking the breaking surf on the beach below. Life just couldn’t be better! By the third day, the dunes got steadily higher and more menacing. Our driver experience, acquired during the previous two days, was honed to perfection as the day progressed. After a leisurely lunch we were called into action to recover a few of the guys that were well entrenched in the warm sand. Once we had hauled them out, we headed north once more in search of the right slip face to take us down onto the deserted beach. When you find yourself trapped between breaking waves to your left and 150m high dunes on your right, you realise just how small you are when confronted by the raw power of nature. Later that afternoon, we set up camp on the beach and were privileged to enjoy yet another magnificent sunset. On day four, the dune belt opened up to expose Meob Bay. The stretch between Meob and Conception Bays is renowned for its diamond mining activities back in the early 1900s. Again Voorvat Kat shared lots of interesting facts about this area during a visit to the abandoned mining settlements of Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger. After another hard day’s driving, we reached camp just before sunset and camped under a star-studded desert sky in true expedition style. Life had just got better! The 360° degree view of the Namib Desert that greeted us as a new day dawned was indescribable. Not even a thousand pictures could do this dramatic desertscape justice and capture the true essence of the breathtaking scene before our eyes. Someone greater than us mere mortals has drenched these dunes in the most amazing colours. Awesome! Despite the excitement of the journey ahead, the thought of leaving this incredible wonderland was almost unbearable. From here the trail led us to Conception Bay and along the beach northwards towards Sandwich Bay. On this route, we took some time out to visit the famous wrecks of the Eduard Bohlen and Shawnee. The dunes continued to grow in stature, offering us an ever-changing experience of ultimate dune driving. We spent the night at Uri Adventures’ Sandwich Camp, close to Sandwich Bay and approximately 1,5km from the sea. Day six was our last day in the dunes. After we reluctantly broke up camp, we entered the ‘roller coaster’ – a series of massive slip faces. The panoramic view of
18 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Setting up camp on top of the dunes
Sandwich Harbour was another highlight before we dropped down on the beach. The last 50km of beach driving took us to Walvis Bay, where we ended our incredible journey with a fantastic lunch at a harbour restaurant. Thereafter, the ‘Katte’ bid their farewells as we split up to travel back home in our own time. During the trip ‘Fat Kat’ started joking around with some funny rhymes. So we decided to use everyone’s contribution and write a poem about this life-enriching experience. •
DIE NAMIB SAND Met n koue Windhoek in my han d staan ek met my kaal voete in hier die Namib Sand ek kyk uit oor n baie mooi land hier naby die see wys ek alle sleg te dinge van die hand. Met al jou geld in die bank kan mens nie koop wat jy sien in die Namib Sand ek wonder hoe hou al hierdie verb and is dit die sand dalk die blink klippies waarvoor baie mense al hul lewens verpand . Gesig na die onderkant soek almal na n blink toekoms sonder n veband in die vorm van groot diamand maar aan die ander kant le rykd om nie in kontant ons weet God se hand het hierdie land tot stand. Met weemoed in my hart, keer ek terug na my land en ek weet vereewig ek het n heg te band met hierdie Namib San d. CRD SandKatte gesang
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 19
& Photos by Francois Steyn DO IT NOW | inGEAR: Review Bike courtesy of Yamaha SA
Yamaha dominated the gruelling Dakar Rally in the nineties, winning it no less than seven times with the Dakar version of the XTZ750 Super Ténéré, which was in production from 1989 until 1996. With this impressive track record, the Ténéré became the machine of choice for many circumnavigations of the globe. For years the battle between the BMW R1200GS and KTM 990 Adventure has been a constant source of camp fire quarrels when it came down to which was the master of the large capacity adventure bikes. Very much like Land Cruisers versus Land Rovers. Perceptions rule our thinking, and for me its always been the BMW is for level-headed conformists who wear matching outfits, and the KTM is for the wild at heart adventure seeker who steers with the back wheel whenever possible. BMW will bring you safely home after a round-the-world trip and the KTM will spoil your garage floor and hurt your pockets with service and repair bills. At last, the Japanese have brought us an all-new bike that covers all the bases. The Ténéré name is synonymous with the Dakar Rally,
20 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
so its got pedigree. It’s also famous for its reliability and quality build, so you know it’s going to be bullet proof. But how would it compare to its main rivals? I had the use of a Super Ten, as it’s also known, for a couple of days to see what’s what. At first glance it looks huge and shiny. Not like something you would take off the tarmac. But once in the saddle, I was surprised at how light it felt. My wife, at just over 1,6m was able to ride it with me as pillion. When I picked up the bike from Yamaha, the weather was not playing along. However getting used to the bike was so easy that after a couple of kilometres, I totally forgot that it was pouring with
For more information, visit www.yamaha.co.za
rain. On gravel, it also doesn’t take too long before you gain the confidence to pick up the pace, even on loose surfaces.
an aftermarket switch to completely turn off the ABS, and there are tricks available on the internet on how to switch it off yourself.
The parallel mounted twin cylinder 1199cc engine delivers 80.9kW of power and 114Nm of torque. There are two modes you can choose from; T for Touring or S for Sport. In T mode, the onboard computer shows you’re averaging 20km/l at just above 120 km/h. With its generous 23-litre fuel tank, this equates to a decent range between stops. For the best sensation however, switch to S mode, gear down a cog or two and twist the throttle. This will make the engine roar like an angry lion and thrust you forward violently. It’s so much fun you’ll wish for cars and trucks to overtake.
The Super Ten has a shaft drive instead of a chain, tubeless tyres and all the electronics are mounted high up on the right hand side. The fenders are easily removable with the Allen key tucked underneath the saddle, and if you fit crash bars, you’re ready to bounce it off anything the African continent can throw your way. I am always a bit wary about too much technology on any vehicle that you take far from home, but after my week with the Ten I felt comfortable that it won’t let you down in the middle of nowhere.
I read about all the safety features beforehand and must admit that I was a bit apprehensive. Traction control that stops the back wheel from spinning or the front lifting. Linked front and rear brakes with ABS. Would there be anything left for the rider to do? The traction control, though, has two settings. TC1 reigns in the power when wheel slippage is detected. TC2 allows some wheelspin for small slides and if you switch it out, you’re on your own. And the back comes out rather quickly if you let the horses loose. The ABS works on- and off-road, always breaking in the shortest possible distance. On any surface, you only ever have to use the handbrake as the computer automatically transmits braking power to both wheels as needed. The massive dual 310mm discs up front will bring you to a very quick stand still if you grab a fistful. Yamaha can however fit
Whether it was commuting in peak traffic, playing on gravel or chasing up Helshoogte Pass, I always felt at home and as if the bike was made for whatever I was doing. If my wife ever decides not to ride her own bike anymore, this is the bike I’ll get as a twoup tourer, no question! It is fun if you want to play and practical if you’re on holiday, especially if you fit Yamaha’s hard luggage pannier system. Best of all though, it’s a Ténéré. At around R140,000 the Super Ten is well priced, and running it I suspect won’t be more expensive than its European rivals. I can understand why Yamaha expects so much from this model, and I bet it won’t disappoint the conformist or wild at heart adventurers. I urge you to take it for a spin before you consider the alternatives. •
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 21
DO IT NOW | inTRAIL: Words & Photos by Jessica Crewdson
Trans-Kalahari Adventure Run 1,000km The history of Botswana is filled with rich and varied stories that evoke so many emotions. Now its history will include the first-ever adventure run traversing the Trans-Kalahari!
22 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
support these athletes would need to survive 21 gruelling days, whilst running more than a marathon a day in the process. Each day was split into bite sized chunks with 29km being run each morning and a tough 21km later in the afternoon. When you consider that the average runner requires up to a litre of water for every hour they are out there pounding the routes, you can well imagine the detailed and meticulous planning required to facilitate an adventure of this nature. South African multi-sport event organisers Magnetic South provided the management skills required to make the Trans-Kalahari 1,000km Challenge a reality. The runner’s motivation to take on this off-the-wall experience was to raise awareness and gather support for the plight of the fastest creature on our earth – the cheetah. Botswana has the second largest population of cheetahs, after Namibia, on the African continent but it was all too evident from the many days spent in the Kalahari that it was a most rare animal to encounter.
The start of the Kalahari 1,000km Challenge began just outside the small town of Ghanzi, where the trio were warmly welcomed and wished well by Mr Walter Ramotadima, the District Commissioner of the area, and by two of the Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s (CCB) staff stationed in the Ghanzi area. The reason for starting in Ghanzi was to make the first day a symbolic one; as Kirsi, Greg and Jukka ended their first 26km run to the Cheetah Conservation property, they were given a fascinating guided tour and presentation by the CCB Ghanzi-based staff. The first night was a cold one and in the morning all the washing, which had been hung out on the tent’s roofs to dry, was frozen solid. The challenges endured by the early immigrants travelling to this harsh and uncompromising landscape were relived in some small way when three friends, Finnish Jukka Viljanen and Kirsi Montonen, and South African Greg Maud, got together to run 1,000km from Ghanzi to Mokolodi, near Gaborone, along the sparse and remote tracks and gravel sand roads that now connect this ancient and majestic region of Botswana.
Leaving at 06h30 was tough as their warm beds beckoned and the dark roads ahead looked very long and straight. The highlight, however, came as the sun started to rise and through the dust it was magnified and saturated in colours that resembled a large, floating grapefruit.
To make it possible, the country’s oldest safari company, Maun-based Penduka Safaris, handled all the logistics and provided the local expertise and ground
Just after midday, the first attack of cattle flies began in earnest. They were indestructible, fat red flies
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 23
Day seven finished at the Tropic of Capricorn. The Chief of a nearby bushman village, Ukwi, invited the runners to be his guests for the evening and entertained them with some local dishes and spectacular dancing by the Dipopo Cultural Group, who raised the roof with their amazing raw rhythms and moves. The ground vibrated as the trio sat mesmerised by the experience, as if in a trance, as the dancers clapped, ululated and stamped their feet.
Leaving Ukwi marked the beginning of predator country as the roads took a turn south towards the sparsely populated areas close to the Kgalagardi Transfrontier Park. The remote roads became more degraded and thick with sand, making each day tougher and tougher to get through. Temperatures had also begun to soar, with the afternoon runs becoming stifling hot and slower as Kirsi, Greg and Jukka fought the sand’s resilience and the sun’s cruel wrath. There were many days when the team took serious strain, especially Greg as he fought Bronchitis and various Achilles, quad and knee injuries. With the warmer temperatures there were an abundance of snakes that had to be dodged as they sunned themselves in the roads. It must have been breeding season because within approximately three kilometres, at least 10 little Puff Adders were spotted. This became a major concern as they were so well camouflaged that should someone get bitten, the chances of reaching a clinic in time were not good as the roads were so bad and towns far away. Despite these concerns, the trio’s commitment to the cheetahs kept them going. The overnight camp on day 10 was located near the Mazakhazakha Pan and is where we met Lillian, a well-educated and interesting woman. Lillian was a goat farmer and with her two little children in tow, they stopped by to welcome and greet the team as she had heard of their challenge on the local radio station. She spent the evening eating and sharing laughs with the Penduka team and later bid the runners well in perfect English before returning to attend to her goats. Incredibly she had even read books by a Scandinavian writer, which surprised the two Finnish runners.
resembling ticks with wings that latched onto any visible skin and bit with such ferocity that they made little welts. Day three brought the team to the 90-degree border point between Namibia and Botswana. As the road took them further away from the towns, the environment began to change dramatically from the over-grazed areas to grasslands, which resembled yellow savannahs. Just outside the town of Tshootsa, Greg, Kirsi and Jukka completed their first hurdle of 150km and passed the most beautifully dressed Herero women, who oozed grace, elegance and pride even in this hot, out-of-the-way and weather-beaten area. As the days passed, the roads became sandier and the runners started to feel the strain of the long distance already covered. Kirsi picked up a painful injury in her quads, which brought her to tears on many a day. Regardless, and a true inspiration, she gritted her teeth and pushed herself through the discomfort and pain. By the end of the first week, Greg had also picked up an injury, located in his Achilles tendon, which slowed the trio’s progress as the pain became unbearable in the thick sand.
24 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
It was the opportunity of meeting such amazing people like Lillian that added to the richness of the experience. During the day, Kirsi, Greg and Jukka faced hardships, injuries, sand, dust, heat and emotions. But the overnight camps were where they could recharge their batteries and gain newfound strength and courage from the incredibly supportive Penduka Safaris team of Rekang, Captain, KB and Maikano, and from the locals who gave them a bright and sometimes toothless smile whenever they needed one. The sand roads evolved into long, straight cut lines as the trio moved through the Kgalagardi Transfrontier Park boundary. With the distance, injuries and elements taking their toll, the pace became slower and they were now running up to nearly nine hours a day. Veld fires had spread across the whole district and there were times when you felt as if you were on another planet. The once lush grasslands now resembled a wasteland, with a sky filled with rank smoke and ash that found its way into all the equipment with the help of a persistent wind. Everyone’s clothes were stained with black smudges and the atmosphere of the land became eerie. Unfortunately, the fires had driven most of the animals away and so the promise of seeing lion and other big game was left unfulfilled. All that remained was their ashen spoor. Greg had been having more problems with his quad, which niggled throughout the rest of the challenge and hindered his pace. It was devastating, yet inspiring, to see such a strong man move with so much pain and discomfort, as he refused to give up and continued to press onwards with such determination.
Jukka on the other hand pranced around with more energy than an antelope, playing the joker and pushing the team forward.
JUKKA VILJANEN Age: 47 Nationality: Finnish On day 16, the cut line thankfully came to an end and a length of tar loomed before the trio as they ran through Kokotosha and along the picturesque Molopo Cattle Ranch roads towards their final destination: Mmathethe. It was a punishing final week, however as the days ticked by and the end drew nearer the pace once again picked up and morale reached new heights. Another contributing factor was the arrival of Greg’s family who met the team on the road on day 20, to give the runners a very warm welcome. His two children joined the run to the overnight camp and it was wonderful sight to see his little three-year-old daughter, dressed in a pink tutu and red paint all over her cheeks, tumble and skip as she enthusiastically joined the sprint to the camp. Emotions were high on the final stage, day 21, when the runners completed their final 12km and crossed the imaginary finish line. They were joyfully welcomed by family, friends and the Penduka Safaris’ inspirational support team. To finish the day, the team drove through to Mokolodi Game Reserve where the Cheetah Conservation Botswana project originated and is based. The Penduka Safaris team and many of the Mokolodi rangers joined Greg, Kirsi and Jukka for a short, ceremonial run through the park to the cheetah enclosure. They were met by Rebecca, the Managing Director of Cheetah Conservation Botswana, and given a guided tour around the park before being introduced to the two rehabilitated cheetahs, Duma and Letotse. The day and challenge were concluded with a celebratory and emotional lunch by the Mokolodi water hole. The Kalahari 1,000km Challenge could not have come to a more successful or better end. However for the cheetahs, their challenges and fight for survival continues, and we sincerely hope will also come to an end in the not too distant future. The Cheetah Conservation Botswana project is dedicated to the fight to save and preserve these majestic creatures, which are constantly misunderstood and mistreated. •
Occupation: Owner of a motivational speaker’s agency in Finland (Top Speakers Company). Experience: The North Pole Marathon, The North Pole Bike Extreme, Libyan Sahara Ultra Marathon and the Patriot Hills Ultra-ice Marathon in Antarctica.
KIRSI MONTONEN Age:
Nationality: Finnish Occupation: Hairdresser. Owns a hair salon in Finland. Experience: The Patriot Hills Ultra-ice Marathon in Antarctica and the Libyan Sahara Ultra Marathon.
GREG MAUD Age:
Nationality: South African Occupation: Runs the strategy and business development group for SA-based Scaw Metals. Experience: Has summited Mount Everest, Vinson Massif and various other climbs in his Seven Summits quest, and participated in the Comrades Marathon, Cape Epic, Ironman Triathlon, Otter-African Trail Run and Mont Aux Sources Challenge.
For more information on how you can help the Cheetah Conservation Botswana, go to www.kalahari1000.com or www.cheetahbotswana.com
DO IT NOW | inH2O:
Words by Emlyn Brown Photos courtesy of Emlyn Brown / www.shipwrecksafari.com
h tied up
SS Waratah under full steam: Model of ship as set up and photo graphed by Emlyn Brown
26 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
www.doitnow.co.za ď‚ Adventure >> 27
a DH-9 aircraft in the first experimental Air Mail service between Durban and Cape Town along the east coast. This service was to connect with the Union Castle mail steamers bound for the United Kingdom. While flying between the Xora and Bashee River mouths, he had noticed a wreck lying on the ocean floor. He was somewhat puzzled for there was no known wreck in the area and thought it may be the wreck of the SS Waratah. Lt. Roos was to pilot an aircraft accompanied by a young reporter, Lindsay Smith from The Star newspaper. Lt. Roos drew a map of the area and a flight path to guide their search. The wreck was approximately four miles off the coast between the Bashee and Xora Rivers, but more towards the Xora River side. Dogged by bad weather and engine trouble, nothing was accomplished on this search. Shortly afterwards Lt. Roos was sadly killed in a car accident. The map was lost and Lindsay Smith’s copy had also been mislaid. Ironically it was The Star newspaper that sponsored the 1989 expedition, using the salvage ship Deep Salvage 1 to confirm the identity of this wreck with a diving bell. However positive conclusion was drawn from this expedition. I found an authentic copy of the map with Lt. Roos’s father, Brigadier Roos. This is a side scan sonar image of the Nailsea Meadow shipwreck dived on with the Delta submarine.
In all, both maps had been lost for 42 years. Then in 1973, as Brigadier Roos was going through an old family album, he found a map. After reading this story in a newspaper cutting, I tracked Brigadier Roos down. We arranged for a meeting and he showed me the map, which had been placed inside an old family album full of warrelated photographs. So not only did I have my X on a map, I had an historical account of its placing and was now sitting with Lt. Roos’s son in his living room talking about it.
So where does one start finding facts on a ship that simply vanishes somewhere off the Cape of Good Hope late in July 1909, with the loss of all 211 persons on board? I was advised to go to the reference library to search newspaper accounts of the overdue ship headed for Cape Town. I was quite friendly with a young lady librarian who gave me a lot of information about where to look, index cards, references, microfilm and eventually the archives. I needed, if possible, an X on a chart, while understanding how it got there. An area or map of probability as I now know it. I needed a pattern of events to unfold because if someone was going to bankroll the project, I needed to tell them a story that was supported by some factual documentation. By May 1983 I had gathered some facts surrounding the last possible resting place of the ship to at least point me in the right direction. This mainly came in the form of a report of a Cape Mounted Rifleman who witnesses a ship roll over, an aerial sighting in 1925 by Lt. Roos and a side scan sonar report undertaken by the CSIR in 1977. Particularly of note was a meeting with Brigadier Roos, a former military attaché to Portugal and Officer Commanding of the Cape Town Castle. Brigadier Roos had found a map that had been lost for many years and on that map was an all important X. The story was beyond fascination. Brigadier Roos’s father was Lieutenant D.J. Roos, a South African Air Force pilot. In 1925, Lt. Roos was flying
28 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
There was something even more extraordinary that I had pieced together. I had obtained the military records of Cape Mounted Rifleman Edward Joe Conquer. The Cape Mounted Rifleman had been stationed on the Wild Coast in the early part of 1909. On the 28th of July 1909 the soldiers had been ordered to carry out live shell practise at the Xora River mouth with signalling exercises via heliograph. As it was a cloudy day, the exercise was suspended until the sun reappeared, as a heliograph requires the sun to reflect the mirrored signal. On that day, 16 years earlier than Lt. Roos’s aerial sighting, Edward Joe Conquer was stationed on a knoll on the right bank of the Xora River with signaller H. Adshead. He saw, through the eyepiece of his telescope, a large ship proceeding very slowly in a south-westerly direction and making very heavy weather. Conquer’s record notes the following:
“I watched this vessel through a telescope and can still see her in my mind’s eye. She was a ship of considerable tonnage with a single funnel. Two masts and a black hull, the upper works were painted yellow. I gave the telescope to Adshead who remarked that the ship was having a very rough passage. I watched the ship crawling along and saw her roll to starboard and then before she could right herself, a following wave rolled over her and I saw her no more.” About three days later, the East London Dispatch newspaper arrived at the camp and the main page carried big headlines of the non arrival of the SS Waratah. I thought this was an extraordinary observation. This was no theory by Edward Joe Conquer. This was an observation witnessed by other soldiers as well.
More excitement was to follow in the form of a side scan sonar report undertaken by the CSIR onboard the MV Meiring Naude. A research and survey ship was to later place under charter in 1989. The 1977 survey report was handed to me by Dr. Berg Flemming at a symposium at the University of Cape Town. The cruise report contained information of a shipwreck located off the Xora River mouth in 375 feet of water (117 metres). The side scan was not an intense sonar investigation, but most certainly confirmed an elongated anomaly on the ocean floor that was without doubt a shipwreck. On the face of it, it appeared on all accounts that what Edward Joe Conquer had witnessed in 1909 and what Lt. Roos had observed from the air in 1925 were now confirmed in the 1977 CSIR report. Evidence enough to warrant a full investigation, albeit circumstantial. I needed to take a closer look to confirm or deny. These events spanning some 68 years had always been the very basic ingredient for my search and the basis to sell the project on to find the finance to carry out further investigation. Now it was a matter of meeting the right people who shared my vision and passion for the project. Funding came from two sources in the early days, a private book publisher and The Star newspaper. Principle financiers were Clive Cussler and Adrian White from the UK. The wreck thought to be that of the ill-fated SS Waratah was the Nailsea Meadow. A 4,926-ton ship transporting a cargo of tanks and military hardware for General Montgomery’s Eighth Army on a voyage north towards Egypt via the Suez Canal, and torpedoed by the U-196 in
1942. According to records, the U-196 torpedoed the ship off Port St. Johns. But this is not where the ship eventually sunk. She had drifted south with the current to a point just off the Xora River mouth, where she finally settled on the ocean floor. This was the wreck the sonar had picked up in all the previous surveys. Nobody expected this! However, it was not the ship Edward Joe Conquer had witnessed roll over and sink, as the Nailsea Meadow sank some 33-years later. Neither was it the ship that Lt. Roos had apparently seen from the air. It only sank 17 years later. The 1977 side scan sonar survey report indeed confirmed a wreck off the Xora River, supporting both eyewitness accounts of Joe Conquer and Lt. Roos. The Nailsea Meadow was not even considered and at the time was an unknown wreck and ship for that matter. My own collective surveys and the 1999 high resolution survey with Dr. Ramsay seemed to prove beyond doubt that the wreck, with assistance of independent opinions in post survey analysis, confirmed the unshakable belief that this was the SS Waratah. It has to be the SS Waratah. I continue to review my research and survey reports from time to time in the hope that something will attract my attention enough to trigger my inquiring mind. There is something that bothers me though. It has to do with ships Inzizwa, Guelph, Harlow and the Tottenham, but more on these ships in the next issue of DO IT NOW. And so the SS Waratah continues to rest, requiring chance and not design to find her final resting place. •
ea Yellow submarine used to dive Nails
Meadow and Oceanos 2001
Stamps: Military tank on the Nailsea Meadow and Stern of the Oceanos explored by submarine.
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 29
DO IT NOW | inH2O:
Words by Perino Hanack Photos couresy of Liquid Force
It just requires a little more concentration and better execution of techniques. Once you know how to edge into the wake correctly and have control while you are in the air, the possibilities of what can be performed in the air are endless. If you havenâ€™t learnt how to edge progressively into the wake, please refer to my article in the previous issue of DO IT NOW. For those who have mastered this skill, here are some guidelines on the next step, how to execute a heelside wake-to-wake jump.
To set up for a heelside wake-to-wake jump, cut out about three to five metres into the flats on your toeside. Remain on the flats as you catch up to the boat, and it begins to pull you back in towards the wake. In the squatting position, keep your centre of gravity low and your weight towards your heels, almost as if you are sitting in a chair.
Increase your edge gradually as you approach the wake so that your maximum edge and line tension are when you are leaving the top of the wake. As you start to ride up the wake, put more weight towards your back foot so that the nose of the board doesn't catch the wake. This will also give you more of an ollie feel as you lift off the wake.
As you get to the top of the wake, start standing up so the wake isn't absorbed by your knees. This will give you maximum pop off the top of the wake. Timing is crucial here because as the board starts to lift off the wake, you will have to bend your knees again so that the board comes up with you and is in control.
The board will come off the wake with the nose higher than the tail. At this point, stay with it and keep bending your knees, thus allowing the board to rise up with you in the air. When you reach the peak of the jump, the board will level out and you will start to descend. Start to look for your landing and prepare yourself for the impact.
When landing this trick, keep your knees bent to absorb the shock and your centre of gravity low to maintain your balance. A lot of crazy things can happen at this stage, and you will be surprised at some of the things you can ride away from if you remain relaxed and focused. When you feel comfortable, stand up and smile smugly at your buddies in the boat hollering for you.
www.doitnow.co.za ď‚ Adventure >> 31
DO IT NOW | inH2O:
Words by Deon Breytenbach Photos by various photographers
Paddler Dewet Michau on Steelpoort river, photo by Luke Longridge
oying the hot Olifants ak French paddlers enj Olifants rafting an kay local boys river with some of the
32 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
Stock Photography: www.sxc.hu
"Some rivers are home to both crocodiles and hippos, and unfortunately there is no repellent for them."
Chilling in the eddie Flip turn - paddler Deon Breytenbach, photo by Dewet Michau
HOT DAYS AND
HAZARDOUS CRITTERS Stock Photography: www.sxc.hu
munity, but before we go charging Summer time is action time for SA’s kayaking com to consider and prepare for. headfirst into a river there are a couple of things This article is about the critters you may encounter on the river during the hot summer months and suggested courses of action. In my follow-up article in the February/March 2011 issue of DO IT NOW, I will focus on what happens to the water during summer and the do's and don'ts. Some of the best sections for summer paddling not only have great water and scenery, they are also home to things that bite. For the smaller biters like ticks, mozzies, midges and the like, a good insect repellent goes a long way. For extra protection against ticks there is a new ozone-friendly product available from Bayer Home called Bayticol Aerosol. You simply spray it onto your clothing and bags, and it will last for up to two to three washes so you don’t have to reapply often. For natural protection, have a look at Faithful to Nature products such as the Badger Balm. That covers the small biters, so let’s move onto things that can bite you in half. Some rivers are home to both crocodiles and hippos, and unfortunately there is no repellent for them. There is not enough time to go into detail about animal behavioural patterns or how to interpret their signals, but if confronted by one of them the best advice I can give you is don’t go swimming! Rather stay close to the other paddlers, keep your eyes peeled, proceed with caution and have a healthy respect for them. Remember they are wild animals and don’t always act according to what’s expected of them. The best solution is to enlist a local to paddler with you. Generally they are knowledgeable about the animals and area you are paddling in, interpret animal behavioural signals better than you can and hopefully know where all the favourite hangouts are. Thankfully hippos don’t see us as lunch; they do however feel threatened by us. They prefer a calmer, deeper area such as large eddies or slow moving pools. For those paddlers who slap the water loudly with their paddles as they enter a large pool, this noise tends to make the hippos rise to see what is going on. So although you can see them, it can also make them a bit tense. Others believe in staying very quiet and watching the pool for signs of hippo activity, such as when they surface for air, before proceeding. I have used both tactics, but favour keeping quiet as this option does not alarm the hippos as much. When you are paddling past hippo, stay as far as possible, move quietly and slowly so you don’t startle them with
any sudden movements, and as you move past the last of the pod, speed up a little and keep going until there is a fair distance between you and them. If you do get charged, make sure you have a good evacuation plan in mind. Now with crocodiles the scenario changes slightly as the larger crocs (in my opinion more than three metres) might think of you as lunch, especially if you are swimming. So stay in your kayak! In most cases, the size and shape of your kayak should be enough to keep most crocs uninterested and at bay. Crocodiles basking in the summer sunshine in and around the river are good crocodiles because you can see them. However, you must still scan the water for incoming crocs at all times. V-shaped waves or ripples coming towards you are an indication of incoming crocs. Basically you have two options, fight or flight. If the croc is some distance away and the entry to the next rapid close by, sprint for the rapid. If the croc is close, then stay close to your paddling partners and face the croc in a bunch, as you keep heading towards your escape route. There has been a case where a croc was between the paddler and his escape route, and as the paddler sprinted towards the croc, it dropped the attack. If you know you are heading into croc-infested waters like the Kunene River, you can use a decoy such as an empty container attached to a long rope behind a raft. This tactic, like everything else, has its own pros and cons. I can’t give you a golden rule that will always work as each situation is different. So look at your situation, make a plan, commit to it and make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page as you. One of the key things to remember with crocs is that you are much safer in your kayak or raft than out of it! Until the next issue of DO IT NOW, stay out of trouble and happy summer tripping. •
For more details on techniques to escape wild animals on the river, feel free to drop Deon a mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 33
DO IT NOW | inH2O:
Words by Deon Breytenbach Photos by various photographers
Freestyle white water kayaking has been around since the early ‘80s, and in the mid ‘90s the search for better playboat designs changed the face of white water kayaking forever. It was South African Corran Addison who revolutionised the white water kayaking design world with the production of the legendary Riot Glide; the boat that changed the rules. Although freestyle, or playboating as it’s often referred to, didn’t have the biggest following in South Africa back then, the sport has been gaining in popularity for a while now. It went up another notch after receiving a huge boost when Fluid Kayaks started up in South Africa in 2002. So what is playboating? Basically, it’s a really fun form of white water kayaking or canoeing where the paddler executes various cool and groovy technical moves in one place, a playspot, such as a wave, hole, the river, ocean or any piece of water. The moves and tricks range from lazy front surfing and flat spins to the gravity boggling Helix and crazy spinning-jumping Phonix Monkey, plus a whole lot more. With excellent freestyle kayak designs readily available, learning and performing these moves has become a lot easier for everybody. The local competitive freestyle scene has had its ups and downs, and is once again on the up with a number of events being held countrywide throughout the year. During a competition, paddlers get two to three 45-second rides on either a wave or hole to do as many different moves as possible. Each move has its own set of criteria involving rotations on the ‘x’ and ‘y’ axes. The more complicated a move, the bigger the score. You can also get bonuses for cleaning (not using your paddle), air (paddler and kayak are airborne during the move) and for going huge. Generally, you get three rides of which your two best scores are totalled, and from there it progresses to the quarters, semis and finals. Finals are done knock-out style, where the lowest-scoring paddler falls out
34 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
and so we carry on until the winner is the only one left. There are different categories that are split into male and female: Junior, Beginner (first timers and gumbies), Intermediate (you can do the basics like a pro) and Open (also known as the pros or experts). As we South Africans are such warm and friendly people, competitions have a fantastic vibe where everybody is welcome and the big boys and girls are always happy to share advice or lend a helping hand. Top places in South Africa to head for, to free your style, include the ocean, Gatsien Rapid on the Vaal River near Parys (Free State), Judgement Day Rapid on the Palmiet River (Western Cape), Oribi section on the Umzimkulu River (KZN), Lower Blyde River and Olifants River (Lowveld). If you’re not afraid of toe cramps from spending a full day in your playboat to make it to the take out before dark, then Steelpoort near Roossenekal is a gem on medium levels. However, as it’s such a long section to paddle in a day, you may want to consider making it an overnighter or taking down a river runner like a Detox.
The Detox kayak is the best of both worlds, great length and volume for river running and a playboat hull to keep things fun and crispy.
In the next couple of issues I will examine specific moves and how to get them locked down, so that you can keep growing your bag of tricks and amaze your friends. I’ll also look at how to prepare for the upcoming season’s downriver and freestyle events. •
by Ben Swart DO IT NOW | inALTITUDE: Words Photos by various photographers
ď ° The North Col, showing the old route under the snow cave where the Hungarian died. Photo: Lance Metz
www.doitnow.co.za ď‚ Adventure >> 37
Ben Swart climbing the Chimney, a technical section just before North Col camp. Photo: Vaughn De La Harpe Steep section on North Col. Photo: Lance Metz
the feared Second Step. Why then the decision to go North? The answer is simple. Sean and Vaughn De La Harpe wanted to go North, having already summited from the South, and myself and the other guys, Arthur Marsden, Donald O’ Connor, Barend Engelbrecht, Lance Metz and Jason Grove wanted to go with Sean and Vaughn. The correct choice of company for a two-month climbing trip is of vital importance. By then I had climbed with all of them and had come to like and respect them.
My relationship with mountains commenced in 2004 when an invitation from a friend, and a spur of the moment decision, led me to a peak in western Russia called Elbrus. After summiting, I learnt of Elbrus’s status as the highest peak in Europe. By chance, I had landed on the Seven Summit Circuit; the quest to conquer the highest peak on each continent. I immediately felt attracted to mountaineering. Summiting Aconcagua in South America followed in 2006, and Denali in North America in 2008. By then I had firmly resolved to try to complete the Seven Summits, which meant attempting Everest. Vinson Massif in Antarctica was already on my menu for January 2009, and no immediate decision was required. Decision time arrived when Sean Disney of Adventure Dynamics International (ADI) announced in March 2009 that a North Ridge Expedition was planned for April/May 2010. There was no turning back. The South Route from Nepal is far more popular than the North Route from Tibet. The approach from the South side is lush and scenic, whilst the North side is barren and exposed. Summit day on the South side does not pose any serious technical obstacles, whereas the North side has the notorious Three Steps, including
38 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
After a year of intense preparation, which included summiting Carstenz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea in October 2009, I left South Africa’s shores on 2 April 2010 for Kathmandu, the gateway to Everest. Kathmandu is a dump with a lot of charm. The city houses millions of people, most of them poor. There are virtually no traffic lights and rubbish removal is not a priority. However, amongst the chaos one finds fantastic bookshops, great bars, coffee shops and the most interesting people milling around - climbers, trekkers and hippies from all over the globe. It is a mystical and spiritual city, certainly worthy of Cat Stevens’s attention in his song ’Kathmandu’. We spent five days in Kathmandu to complete our logistics, which included obtaining the team’s vital Chinese climbing permit. On 8 April we flew to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Kathmandu is 1,300m above sea level and Lhasa 3,600m, which meant a three-day stay to acclimatise. This allowed for a visit to the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s residence and spiritual home of Buddhist Tibet. Words cannot sufficiently describe the vastness and splendour of this magnificent structure built on a hill overlooking Lhasa. What a sight it must have been for Heinrich Harrer, the author of ‘Seven Years in Tibet’, when in 1942 he and his friend managed to penetrate Tibet and travel all the way to Lhasa.
On 11 April we departed for Shigatse (3,800m) en route to base camp (bc). The countryside became more and more barren and inhospitable as we travelled further on the Tibetan plateau. On 12 April we left Shigatse for Shegar (4,200m). From the top of a 5,200m pass, still many miles away, we saw her for the first time Everest; Chomolungma, Mother Goddess; unmistakably towering at 8,848m above everything else. The goose bumps on my skin were not caused by the cold. After a night at Shegar we arrived at bc on 13 April. In two days we had ascended from 3,600m to just under 5,200m. We immediately felt the effect of the jump in altitude in the form of severe headaches. Bc is situated at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier on a vast barren plateau, with an unobstructed view of Everest’s North face in the background, clearly depicting the Northeast Ridge against the skyline. Our barrels, that had been shipped months before, and duffel bags transported from Kathmandu via the Friendship Highway, were already available to us. Being reunited with our gear provided a feeling of comfort and security. It was immediately apparent that Sean had gone the extra mile to organise a Rolls Royce expedition for our team. We each had our own tent. A huge tent was utilised by cooking sherpas who were continuously preparing hot meals, which we enjoyed in a mess tent complete with a table and chairs. A separate lounge tent was furnished with couches, a DVD player and even a fake Persian carpet! These luxuries would help us to temporarily forget about the arduous task that lay ahead. Our acclimatisation programme included three trips (rotations) to advance base camp (abc) at 6,500m. Our goal with the first rotation was to reach North Col camp (7,100m), without sleeping there, before returning to bc to rest. With the second rotation, we would attempt to spend two nights at the North Col camp without oxygen, and then return to bc to once again rest, with the possibility of leaving the mountain for a couple of days to recuperate at a lower altitude. From then on we would start watching the weather for a
summit window, and once we had identified our summit date, we would head back up the mountain for the final time. Everest lies in the middle of a jet stream and for obvious reasons, it is impossible to attempt the summit with a jet stream raging. The monsoon season starts moving into the region from approximately the 15th of May. High up this means heavy snowfalls, which also renders a summit attempt impossible. However, during the changeover there would be a couple of good days - a window – that would make a summit attempt possible. Except for the few climbers who attempt to summit when the process is reversed in August, which means climbing from summer into winter, this is the reason why virtually everybody climbing Everest is on the mountain during April and May. We acclimatised for six days at bc, and on 19 April we left for abc. Jason had been vomiting continuously since our arrival at bc, but nevertheless joined us on our first journey up the mountain. The distance from bc to abc is approximately 20km. It’s not technically challenging, but the jump in altitude from 5,200m to 6,500m is what makes it risky to attempt the trip in one day. This entailed spending two nights at interim camp (5,800m). As we travelled along the east Rongbuk Glacier, the route became more spectacular; on the sides massive ceracs and in the middle, what Mallory had described as the traversable miracle highway. At 6,500m, abc is 600m higher than the summit of Kilimanjaro and 300m higher than Denali. Humans can acclimatise fully up to 5,200m. However, prolonged stays at higher altitudes will result in fatigue and exhaustion. We would spend a month at 6,500m and higher. The challenge on an Everest Expedition is not the technical obstacles; it is managing the altitude. Jason and Donald were already showing signs of serious fatigue and we were concerned about them. From my first night at
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 39
North Col camp. The summit ridge and the fixed lines leading to Camp 2 can be seen. Photo: Ben Swart
On the North Col in bad weather. Fltr: Arthur Marsden (back to the camera), Vaughn De La Harpe, Lance Metz, Ben Swart (in front). Photo: Barend Engelbrecht
The North side route. Source: email@example.com Between interim camp and abc - the Miracle Highway. Photo: Ben Swart First view of the North side en route to base camp. Photo: Ben Swart Negotiating a crevasse on the North Col en route to North Col camp. Photo: Lance Metz
abc, I suffered from high-altitude sleep apnoea, a condition which causes oxygen deprivation the moment you start falling asleep. As a result, I got very little sleep at abc and higher. We met our climbing sherpas for the first time on 22 April. Their physical appearance and humble attitude made an immediate impression on us. A sherpa was assigned to each of us and I was entrusted to Pemba Rinjin Sherpa. On 26 May a Buddhist Lhama performed a religious Puja ceremony at abc. We, as well as our vital equipment such as ice axes and crampons, were blessed and each of us received a thin piece of red string to wear around our necks, to guard us on the mountain. From a spiritual perspective we were ready to go forward. On 26 May we left abc to attempt to reach the North Col camp. I wasn’t acclimatising properly and my blood saturation count had dropped dangerously low to 58%. I nevertheless made the decision to continue and slowly proceeded upwards. The fixed ropes commence at the North Col. Here hiking poles are exchanged for jumars and carabiners. At this daunting and dangerous ice face, the hike ends and the climb begins. It was on this day that we first experienced a death on the North side. We had just started on the ropes when Sean received a frantic radio call from a sherpa who told us that a cerac above an ice cave had broken, causing a huge avalanche. Two Hungarians were climbing
40 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
below the cave at the time. One of them managed to perform an ice arrest and survived, but the other climber was swept into a massive crevasse and buried under tons of ice and debris. It was a scary and sobering experience. It could so easily have been one of us … The avalanche necessitated a route change and we had to abort our attempt to reach North Col camp. I could barely walk back and at abc I was diagnosed (over the radio from bc) with acute mountain sickness, which was in the process of turning into a fullscale pulmonary edema. I needed to get back down to bc and I had to get there quickly. I spent the night on oxygen and various drugs before stumbling back to bc the next day, accompanied by Barend who had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, and Donald, who was severely exhausted. Jason had already descended by that time. The mountain had hurt me and I realised that my trip could possibly be over. At bc our team doctor, Torrey Goodman from Hawaii, diagnosed me with a light degree of HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema). The decision was made to monitor me for a day and then decide whether I needed to descend further, which would mean the end of my expedition. On 28 April, Torrey, in consultation with Duncan Chessell, an Australian who arranges logistical operations for outfits like ADI, decided that this was not necessary. Sean and the other team members who were still at abc had by then decided to also abort their attempt to reach North Col camp and returned to bc on the 28th. I was still feeling extremely weak. I knew however that we would stay at bc until the 2nd of May and hoped to recover sufficiently to take part in the second rotation. By the 29th I started feeling better. I realised that the mountain had given me a precious second chance and I resolved to approach
the rest of the climb on a day-to-day basis and to treat Everest with renewed respect and caution. On 2 May we left once again for abc. Jason was still coughing uncontrollably, but decided to go up again. We arrived at abc on the afternoon of 3 May and, after two sleepless apnoea nights, we left abc on 5 May for North Col camp. Jason was too weak to join us and it was clear that his expedition would be over in a matter of days. It had snowed heavily the previous night and it became immediately apparent that we had made a bad decision. The deep snow made for slow progress and there were no other teams on the ropes. Sean’s jumar was not getting any grip on the lines and he decided to return to abc. At 1,600m, leaderless and still far from North Col camp, the rest of us also decided to abort our effort and return to abc. We felt dejected and disillusioned. It felt as if we were never going to reach North Col camp. Our poor decision meant that we had to spend two additional nights at abc. On 7 May we left once again for North Col camp. On Torrey’s advice, Jason decided to quit and started making his way back. Donald, being a slow high altitude traveller, had started his North Col journey earlier than the rest of us. At Crampon Point, we found him sitting on a barrel. He told us that he was too weak to attempt the North Col and was going to return to abc. We finally reached North Col camp late afternoon. I had never before been above 7,000m. I felt knackered but totally exhilarated at having made it this far. North Col camp is still approximately 1,7 vertical kilometres from the summit. I could clearly see the fixed lines leading from there, up a snow slope to the rocks where camp two is situated. From the
ridge, the three technical Steps leading to the summit were clearly discernible. I spent another two apnoea-filled, sleepless nights on the North Col without oxygen. The temperature inside the tent measured -10°C. On 9 May we descended to abc. The wind had started blowing on the North Col and conditions were bad. To our surprise we met Donald and Sonem, our Sidar sherpa, on the way to abc. They were busy making their way up to the North Col. Donald had decided that it was not yet time to quit and I admired his courage. His determination paid off and on 9 May he and Sonem reached North Col camp and spent a night there, thus keeping his summit dreams alive. We had time on hand before the commencement of the summit window and had already decided to leave the mountain for a couple of days. We would descend to Zanmu, a town on the Tibet/Nepal border, to rest before our summit push. We were all exhausted and weak and the prospect of descending to 2,500m and sleeping in a bed for a couple of days had the same appeal as a first sea holiday for a child. On 10 May we walked back to bc and on 11 May we travelled for 11 hours in two rented Land Cruisers over the Tibetan plateau to Zanmu. The healing effect of the low altitude at Zanmu was incredible. Within three days our coughs had disappeared and we regained our appetites and spirit. When I looked into a mirror for the first time in a month, I could clearly see that my prolonged stay at altitude had caused the loss of kilogrammes of muscle weight. It wasn’t a pretty sight. In the next issue, please join me as I take you through my final attempt to summit the world’s highest peak, Everest. •
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 41
DO IT NOW | inALTITUDE: Words & Photos by Jurgen Vogt (www.swissphotography.co.za)
I frantically started to search the features of the rock for a suitable spot to place a piece of protection. Below me I could see a stretch of 10 metres of free-hanging rope from my last sketchy nut placement. My palms started to sweat as I realised that I would fall more than 20 metres if a grip or foothold broke off. Looking beyond at the 150 metres of open air below me, the world became a very silent place save for my rugged breathing and pounding heart. Returning to the task at hand, I noticed a crack in front of me and with a massive sense of relief, I placed a camming device into it. I pulled tentatively on the cam to test the placement and my heart sank as I saw the rock was loose and fragile. This placement would never hold a fall. Ok, time to take a deep breath, calm the nerves, chalk up my sweaty palms and climb higher to see what the rock above me was like.
Nigel, Chris, Steve, Stuart and I were climbing a well-known route on the Sentinel Peak in the Drakensburg called the Angus-Leppan Route. I had been warned that the basalt rock in the Drakensberg has the constitution of Weet-Bix. However, the thrill of climbing on unspoiled rock and feeling like the explorers of yesteryear, overrode the feelings of fear that come from knowing the only protection you have, in the event of a fall, is carried on your body and placed by your hand. This is undoubtedly climbing in its purest form.
42 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
At this point, some of you may be asking yourselves what is traditional climbing or ‘trad’ climbing as it is commonly known. In simple terms, trad climbing is the original form of climbing. The lead climber ascends a rock face of various heights and protects himself against falling by roping up to a partner or partners and placing protection in the form of nuts, hexes, camming devices and so on into cracks or holes in the rock face. The theory is that if the leader falls, he will only fall double the distance to the last piece
of protection. I say ‘theory’ because as you are placing your own pieces of gear into cracks and slots, there is no guarantee that they will remain in place and hold a fall. Therefore, the more pieces of protection you have in place, the better the chance that a fall will be held by the protection. And that’s assuming the rock doesn’t crumble. This is probably why Victorian climbers had the dictum that the lead climber should never fall! The consequences were too high a price to pay. This may well have restricted many lead climbers of the day from leading routes well within their grade that they could safely climb. It still amazes me to think that the original pioneering climbers of many splendid rock routes around the world, only climbed with extremely rudimentary gear such as hemp ropes, takkies and the odd nut or hexagonal bolt for protection. Thank goodness the scene changed dramatically in the ’60s and ’70s with the advent of more modern protection such as aluminium hexes and, more importantly, camming devices. The modern camming device is a mini marvel of engineering and has opened up a whole new world of safer, cutting-edge climbing. In essence, a camming device is a piece of mechanical protection that is placed in a crack, which you clip your rope onto via a sling or quickdraw. When weight is placed onto the cam via hand pressure or a fall, the device opens outwards and ‘bites’ into the rock. The downside is that this modern piece of equipment is expensive, with a single cam costing in the region of R700. A typical set would involve about 10 cams, and this excludes all the other equipment such as nuts, hexes, slings, quickdraws and carabiners needed to climb safely. Thankfully, all this equipment is retrieved by the second climber, who follows the leader up the rock, and is used over and over again. I think by now you get the picture that trad climbing is a serious business and not to be undertaken lightly or without considerable
climbing experience. This experience is exactly what I was thinking about as I started on my ‘airy’ traverse on the fourth pitch of the Angus Leppan route. Experience is what you call on when all logical thought is saying, “Hmmm, I’m really not sure that I ought to be doing this!” So there I was, pressed against the rock face in the middle of a delicate traverse and contemplating my options. I closed my eyes once more to compose myself and calm my breathing. Feeling more in control with the knowledge that my equipment is good and trusting in my belayer Steve, I chalked up my sweaty palms and started to edge my feet along the one-inch wide footholds. Halfway along the traverse, I glanced down between my rock shoes and stared for a brief moment at the 150 metres of openness below me. Instead of panic, there was the realisation that this was a very special moment and one that very few people will ever get to experience. Feeling at one with the mountain, rock face and a Bearded Vulture soaring behind me, an intense feeling of satisfaction settled in as I completed the pitch and made myself safe in order to belay up Steve and Stuart. Two-hours later Chris, Nigel, Steve, Stuart and I sat next to the cairn of rocks on top of the Sentinel, staring down at the cascading Tugela Falls nestled on top of the amphitheatre, as the sun edged toward the western horizon. It struck me that many may wonder why we do this, what could our motivation be for undertaking such a risky endeavor with no possibility of material reward. Looking across at my good friends and seeing the smiles on their faces and that far-away contented look that befalls someone who has done something worthwhile, was all the proof I needed to reconfirm why I do it. I knew then that some will get it and some won’t. And for those that do, the mountains and rock faces will forever be calling your name.
www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 43
by Claire Barnes DO IT NOW | inALTITUDE: Words Photos courtesy of Lida Robbetse
44 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
Out-landings Anyone who has ever had an ‘out-landing’ will have experienced the sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach when they realise that the area in which they are going to land, is far from their intended spot. These unfamiliar areas tend to be populated with power lines, trees, thorns or worse, buildings. Once you’re in the sky with your canopy above you, and despite your canopy’s capabilities, there is a limitation as to how much distance you can cover while descending at a gentle speed (but probably a little too fast for your liking). An open area, say a prison courtyard, might not be where you want to land, but you may have very little control over the matter. At least you can occupy your thoughts on the descent by formulating an explanation for the prison guards that this is not the next ‘Prison Break’, but rather that you really did fall from the sky and don’t belong there. Then once you have landed, there is the irritation of picking thorns out of your jumpsuit and having to hike for miles back to the drop zone, with a heavy rig and canopy in tow. Out-landings are usually a result of one of three things. Firstly, the pilot may have given a bad spot, meaning he did not drop his passengers in an ideal area that would allow them to make it back to the landing area. Secondly, the wind may be particularly strong, causing the jumper to be blown off course. This is more common with students and intermediate skydivers who are under large canopies and do not have the techniques to navigate the wind. Thirdly, and also very common among inexperienced skydivers, is a self-induced out-landing due to poor navigation and not flying in a correct pattern.
Object fixation We would all love a drop zone that is free of obstacles; a place of open ground stretching for miles where pretty much anywhere is safe to land. The reality is, there is no such place. Every drop zone has obstacles to watch out for: power lines, buildings, fences, the local abattoir or even the dog unit. Landing in a prison is one thing, but try explaining to a group of vicious canines that you don’t belong there is another! Object fixation is often discussed in the first jump course. The theory is that if you concentrate on a place or an object, you will land there. Consequently, skydivers, primarily students, will fixate on an object they wish to avoid, such as power lines or a wind sock. However, what often happens is that the student is so afraid of hitting the object that he will focus on it to the extent that he lands very near to the object, possibly colliding with it. This often corrects itself with experience, but the consequences can be damaging.
The PLF No, I’m not referring to the Penguin Liberation Front. The ‘Parachute Landing Fall’ is a safety technique designed to distribute the landing shock along the five points of contact: balls of the feet, side of leg, side of hip and side of back. During a PLF, the jumper's chin is tucked in and the risers are grasped in an arm-bar protecting the face and throat with the elbows tucked into the sides to prevent injury. The PLF is taught in the first jump course to prevent those who do not land like delicate fairies on their toes from hurting themselves. After a few attempts, the PLF becomes instinctive and can be executed so quickly that the jumper rolls over, hops up and hopes to convince everyone who wasn’t watching that he has completed a delicate fairy landing.
For those of us whose landings are less than graceful, here are a few tips: 1.
Tie your shoe laces tight. Losing a shoe under canopy or during landing is a nuisance. If you lose it during landing, where you go one way and your shoe goes another, it provides for an embarrassing entrance and ridicule in the bar later. If there is little wind and you come in quite fast, a very fast run or ‘takkie-slapper’ might be a necessity. If you’ve lost your shoes, it becomes more of a sock-slapper. And if you land out, it’s a long walk back without shoes.
Do not, for the fear of mockery, land where you think no one will see you. It’s an unnecessary hike back to the clubhouse and may be dangerous as no one will know if you hurt yourself. Plus, the other jumpers are there to help and provide useful insight from watching you land. Anyway, you’re a member of a skydiving club, not a hiking club!
Remember your PLF training. If you’re not planning on landing on your feet, tuck away those arms and legs. If you have already made this mistake, do not despair and refer to the next point.
A previous fracture or injury may actually make you a human barometer. Although there is no scientific evidence, people with previous fractures can feel an ache before it starts to rain. As a skydiver, this foresight is excellent to have. If you ‘feel’ it’s going to rain, take yourself off the next load, have a beer and avoid the pain of having to fall through the rain, which feels like needles trying to pierce your entire body.
Jokes aside, if your lousy landings are ruining your enjoyment of the sport, it’s important to address these issues now. Many minor injuries are preventable by learning how to safely land a canopy. The most important thing is to find a coach who can film your landings and identify your mistakes. Once you understand them, you can take the necessary steps to correct them. But the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes to correct these bad habits.
Here’s to enjoyable and safe landings! • www.doitnow.co.za Adventure >> 45
// [inTERVIEW] Jade Gutzeit, Enduro Extraordinaire - Part II // [inTRODUCING] Cape Adventure Bike Challenge 2010 • A Beginner’s Take on the Spirit of Africa • 2010 SA Waveski Surfing Championships • RACKETLON - The Iron Man of Racket Sports! • The Inaugural DO IT NOW Touch Rugby Tournament // [inACTION] DCM Cape Pioneer Trek 2010 • The Nissan MTB Series • Hansa Powerade Fish River Canoe Marathon - Big water, Big upsets and Big comebacks • Goodbye to the Swazi Xtreme // [inSHAPE] Spondylolisthesis, the Chiropractic Approach • Shin Splints or Compartment Syndrome? • Fast Fat Loss!
Photo by Schermbrucker/Slingshot Media Description: Pioneer Trek
by Paul Carrick, compiled by Francois Flamengo DO IT NOW | inTERVIEW: Interview Photos by Jurgen Vogt
An Interview with
Enduro Extraordinaire - Part 2
In the second part of our interview Jade Gutzeit, who is now the proud owner of the number ‘1’ plate in the Off-road Series and number ‘E1’ plate in the National Enduro Series, he shares some personal information, as well as tips and advice on how to get ahead in the exciting world of endurance riding. Q: What’s currently parked in your garage? A: Toys! Some of my race and practise bikes. I have two 250’s and one is actually my race bike, a 290. I’m a bit heavy for a 250F so it’s been modified by dropping a big bore kit into it, which gives it some more horse power and puts me into the big class. The other 250F is what I practise with on the motocross track. Then there is a race 450 and practise 450. I recently bought a trails bike for extreme enduros and use it whenever I get a gap.
I also cycle a lot. Colin and Kirk Meyer, the owners of Morningside Cycles in Rivonia and one of my sponsors, have been very good to me and helped me out with a Yeti. I use this mountain bike for training and although I don’t race mountain bikes, I really enjoy riding them. We train for around six to eight hours a week and it’s hugely beneficial to my overall racing performance.
Q: What other training do you do on an average week? A: I used to do a lot of gym work, but it was the worst thing to do for riding as I got bigger and heavier. But I’ve lost a lot of weight since I started cycling at the beginning of last year. If I can give any advice to a rider, cycling is the only thing I would do if I could only do one exercise. That said I still gym twice a week to keep the muscles firm because I get too skinny if I just cycle, and I need some strength to pull the bike around in an enduro.
Q: Any tips for the rider who suffers from arm pump? A: Hey man, I’m one of those guys! I have suffered arm pump all my life and to be honest, it has got a lot better in the last six to eight months now that I’m doing less gym work. When I do go to the gym, I try not to work my arms and rather focus on my back, shoulders, chest and maybe a bit of stomach. But you use your arms in all those disciplines anyway. So between the gym and riding my motorbike, my arms get more than enough exercise.
Q: What skills would you recommend a new rider to try and hone first? A: Enduro riding is all terrain based. The riders in the Gauteng area have grown up to do fast riding and I don’t wanna say that the Natal riders are better than the Gauteng riders, but whenever there is a tough enduro or race, the Natal riders always seem to do better. I would say it’s because they learnt to ride the right way. They learn how to do slow technical riding with proper clutch, throttle and brake control before they enter off-road races and go flat out down the mielie fields. So it’s really important to learn technical riding and motocross if you want to get ahead. If you look at the international enduro riders around today, you will see that many of them are motocross riders who have converted to enduros. As they have the fundamentals of how to ride a motorbike, they can easily and quickly learn how to read terrain fast.
Q: When you are going fast, what’s going on in your head? A: Sometimes I think about what’s on M-Net that night. I struggle to stay focused in fast races and it’s something I need to work on. But I always try to be careful as our off-roads are very dusty and when you are doing speeds of 150km per hour through the bushes, you also need to watch out for the cows that run in front of you; not my favorite. So I try to ride as fast as I can see and if I can’t see then I slow down, and it’s worked well for me. This year, I’ve had no issues or crashes, touch wood!
Q: The general weekend warrior will compare stories on who came short the worst. How many times have you come short? A: I haven’t had any big crashes lately because I’ve learnt how to ride a lot smoother and I always ride within my limits. But I had my fair share when I started out and was testing the boundaries of my skill levels!
48 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Q: Back to the motorbikes! What bike would you recommend for the average guy from the street? A: That depends on if you want to ride enduro or motocross. If you want to start enduro riding, I would recommend a 200 two stroke or
a bike with less power. Many people think they need to buy a four stroke 450, but what often happens is that it makes them scared and they end up crashing and stalling the bike a lot. An electric starter makes a big difference for the beginner, as he will stall a lot whilst learning. So a WR250F or any 250F is a good bike to learn on.
Q: Rumour has it that you also enjoyed the electric start at Romaniacs this year? A: I don’t want to harp too much on that because it’s not the bike that I ride here in South Africa. But the KTM two stroke with an
electric start has really changed the scene of riding off-roads on two strokes. KTM has been leading the market ever since the other manufactures canned two strokes, and KTM stuck with them. Normally I won’t ride a bike with an electric start because it adds another five or six kilogrammes to the bike. But in extreme enduro, it’s sometimes necessary and was good at Romaniacs!
Q: You rode a 250 Yamy at Erzberg, is that not more of a motocross bike? A: It started out as a motocross bike, then Yamaha and Shimwells in SA developed a WR gearbox for the two stroke Yamaha many
years back, and it works really well. So with a few modifications such as a heavier fly weight and enduro gearbox, you can transform this bike into a good enduro weapon. Erzberg was proof if this as I did quite well there. The Yamaha is also tough and you won’t break it easily! Add some radiator braces and you are on your way!
Q: What is the first component you would change if you had to use your own money? A: The BLING man, I would put an exhaust pipe on it. Q: How much of a mechanic are you? A: As you can see, I have all my bikes here in the garage so I do a lot of the work myself. I also do my own race prepping because I like to know that when I get to a race, the air filter is clean and the bolts are tight. I had a problem in my last race when I left my wheel loose though. But I don’t have many *DNFs because I work on my bikes myself and pride myself on knowing that they are always nice and clean. Come race time, they are the cleanest and best looking bikes there.
However, when the engine needs to be opened up, I go to Schummals Yamaha because I’m not a mechanic and they can help me; they know what they are doing. * DNF - Did not finish
Q: Tyre choice on races? A: I’ve used MC 4, a Metzeler tyre, for the last six, seven or eight years and don’t want to change as it’s a really good tyre. I’ve used it in hard-pack desert racing, at The Roof, Romaniacs and any slippery enduro from mud to rocks. What’s so great about this tyre is that it does not chunk or through nobs and lasts really well. So that’s my tyre choice.
Q: Safety gear ... top to toe? A: I use Fly gear as it’s really good quality stuff. I’m hard on kit, boots and gear, and the knees wear out from the knee braces constantly rubbing on the bike. But the Fly gear holds up to all my punishment. The guys who import Fly also import Gerne boots. I use their SG12s as they are very tough. Normally I’ll wear out a pair of soles in two months, but the SG12’s last me double that amount of time. For my helmet, I use a Thor helmet.
Q: Knee braces? A: CTI! It’s the only way to go! Before I started using knee braces, I only wore knee pads as I thought I had strong knees
and didn’t need to worry about them. Then I broke my knee, twice. It only takes a first gear crash or falling the wrong way ... I don’t wish a knee op on my worst enemy; it’s not a good thing! CTI was kind enough to give me a pair when I needed them, and they really are the best! You can get them off the shelves or have them custom made if you have funny legs .
Quickies: • Trees or rocks? Trees. • Mud or dust? Mud. • Wheelie or stoppy? Stoppy. • Chase or lead? Lead. • Fast or technical? Technical. • Beer or spirits? Spirits, I’m a brandy man! The DO IT NOW team would like to thank Jade for his valuable time and insights, and wish him continued success in the future … watch this space in the next issue of DO IT NOW for feedback on the 2010 Roof of Africa, which Jade will be competing in. Give it horns Jade!
Sport >> 51
DO IT NOW | inTRODUCING:
Words by Francois Steyn Photos by Francois & Tania Steyn
Held for the first time last year and attracting some 40-odd adventure bikes, the Cape Adventure Bike Challenge (CABC) looked set to become a very successful annual event. This year’s Challenge took place from 23 to 26 September and was held at Rooiberg Lodge, near Van Wyksdorp in the Klein Karoo. The field had grown substantially with more than 140 bikes of different makes and engine capacities coming together for three days of off-road riding and fun in the dirt.
Based on the concept of the BMW GS Challenge, the CABC caters for all makes and models of dual purpose bikes. Included in the very reasonable price of R795 per person for the whole weekend, is a spot to pitch your tent, breakfast, supper and a support vehicle on all out-rides in the event of a puncture or other mechanical problems. The whole family is welcome and there were chalets available for those who booked ahead. My wife, Tania, was one of only six women who rode her own bike there and back, but a lot of riders’ families joined by car. Registration took place from 14h00 on the Thursday before Heritage Day. We left home a bit late and only arrived at the farm after dark. We received a bag of goodies and pitched our tent near the dam, where everyone had already set up camp earlier in the afternoon. Next to each tent stood the bike that had brought it here.
52 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
That evening, the event briefing was accompanied by a short video clip of the first event in 2009, and then the three different outride options were explained to us. The green route was essentially an easy ride of mixed tar and smooth gravel roads, stopping at coffee shops in some of the neighbouring towns. The orange route was all gravel, with some small river crossings, rocky sections and the odd twee-spoor track over the farms in the area. The red route was not for the feint of heart and required a good amount of skill and fitness. After the introductions, we had a drink at the cash bar and met some of our fellow entrants. I spoke to a couple of people who had done the red route last year, and decided that we’d do the orange route this time round. After breakfast on the Friday morning, everyone met up next to the dam for the day’s ride briefing. The orange route would cover
Sport >> 53
100km of farm roads and we’d have vetkoek-burgers for lunch, somewhere in the veld, at R40 a pop. The first part of the ride was fairly slow, as the size of the group made for a concertina effect. By midday, we reached a very rocky section and one particular hill, covered in boulders, had some of the riders dropping their bikes while the sun took its toll on us. On our way back to base camp I picked up a flat, but luckily I was able to hitch a ride with Tania back to camp. The backup trailer returned my bike to camp and the guys from Extreme Tyre Fitment hooked me up with a new rear tyre. They did quite a few repairs throughout the weekend, and even let me pay the following week as I did not have enough cash on me. Later that afternoon, the first skills challenge took place. Riders queued at the start and had to negotiate traffic cones, narrow bridges and tight 360° turns without putting a foot down. At the end, we had to pick up a large rock from an oil drum with one hand and drop it on a second drum without stopping or stalling the bike. It looked so easy and I was fairly blasé about my run, but ate humble pie when I stalled the bike a couple of times and had to save the bike with a boot in the dust every now and then. This narrowed the riders down to the top 20 something, who were to complete in the next day’s gruelling skills challenge. That night we had a lovely dinner and went to bed exhausted from the day’s riding and excitement. On Saturday morning it was overcast with a very light drizzle, perfect for a long day’s riding. The orange route covered 140km, but we first stopped in Van Wyksdorp for fuel and a coffee. What a stunning ride it was as we rode through gate after farm gate until we reached the spot for next year’s CABC, Bonnydale Farm. Here we had skaap chops, boerewors and braai broodjies next to a large dam, after which we headed back in smaller groups for the main event: the final of the skills challenge. The rules were the same as the day before, but this time you lost points for not standing on the pegs as well. The route was also more than double the distance, with more tricky bits and lots of mud and water. After seeing the first obstacle, a 360° turn in thick mud, I was relieved my talent fell short the previous day, disqualifying me for the final. The challenge ended at the same spot where it started, with a 10-metre knee-high water gorge. This made for great spectator entertainment, with some of the bikes getting so stuck that the crowd had to get dirty helping them out. Watching some of these guys gently dancing their heavy machines around the course made you realise how much there still is to learn about biking. One guy, on his KLR650, still had his luggage on his bike and placed second overall. That evening, after another excellent supper, we gathered round for prize giving. The five guys with the most points in the skills challenge and the eight riders who had shown the most skill and camaraderie on the red route each won prizes. There were also lots of cool lucky draw prizes from the sponsors. That night, over a bottle of good wine with some new friends, we decided to head back through Seweweekspoort and Anysberg Reserve the following day. On Sunday morning we rode out in a group of five bikes and after a fuel stop in Ladysmith, we headed home the long way round. We reached Barrydale just in time to put on our rain suites, have a burger and cup of coffee before bidding farewell to our mates. Tania and I then rode home in the pouring rain for another two hours. What a stunning weekend of hard riding, getting wet and dirty and meeting like-minded bikers with whom we’ll hopefully share many more rides in future. •
For more information and photos of the exciting event, visit www.cabc.co.za
54 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
by Christiaan Greyling DO IT NOW | inTRODUCING: Words Photos by André & Frits Ernst
The Spirit of Africa Trophy; it’s man, machine and the wilderness all pitted against one another in a gruelling 4x4 test of engineering, endurance and extreme courage. This year’s event was hosted by the legendary Sarel van der Merwe and sponsored by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which supplied 23 of its purpose-built lifestyle workhorses, the Amarok, for the contestants to drive. Only launched in October, the name ‘Amarok’ means ‘wolf’ in the language of the Inuit people, who live in the incredibly rugged terrain of Northern Canada and Greenland. The Inuit regard the wolf as the ‘king of the wilderness’ due to its strength, endurance and superiority. Amarok has justly earned this name after being put to the test at the Spirit of Africa’s elimination rounds, which took place between 26 August and 21 October 2010. The hotly-contested finals were held in Windhoek, Namibia, from 5 to 13 November 2010. The qualifier consisted of 19 obstacles that not only challenged the ability of the vehicles, but also the experience of the drivers in some of the toughest and demanding driving conditions around. All tracks had an ‘ideal time’ that was preset by the experienced Sarel van der Merwe. Teams started each obstacle with 100 points and for every second longer than the ideal time, 10 points were deducted – this was going to be a blast! I entered the Spirit with the Ernst family, who are well-known timber farmers from Ermelo in Mpumalanga. We were scheduled to go off third and would be driving an average of 80km ‘TIA’ (This is Africa) gravel road per day. As we waited for our turn, it was not only our engines that were racing, but our heart rates too. With adrenalin coursing through our veins, we started off with a number of speed tests that included tight turns on a huge, sandy salt lake of more than a hundred hectares. This was done in 4x4 high range with traction control and ABS disabled, a great Amarok feature when working on a sandy surface. Unfamiliar with the vehicle, we decided to use the first time trial as an opportunity to get to grips with the handling and acceleration, both of which proved extraordinary for a bakkie. We tackled most of the track in second gear and only changed to third gear to fly through the finish. The second obstacle was a similar time trial, only a little shorter and with some additional technical turns between the poles. The third obstacle proved more difficult and quickly sorted out the boys from the men. It was also here that an incident lead to a team being disqualified and some double trouble when our good Samaritans, team 20, tried to help out another team who had got stuck enroute to the obstacle. As team 20 tried to pull them out, the hook came off the front of their bakkie and hit the other vehicle on the bonnet, leaving a long, deep track and cracked windscreen. This
56 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
is quite a common occurrence in 4x4 recovery, so it is imperative that any bystanders stay well clear when assisting another 4x4 in need. At this point I would also like to raise how important the co-driver’s role is in a 4x4 race. Without a doubt, it is just as crucial as the driver and this message was clearly driven home after we had a false start on the fourth obstacle. The valuable lesson we learnt here was that the co-driver should take control of the handbrake on the pull away at all times during the trials, to allow the driver to focus on clutch control and gear changes. The co-driver is also responsible for checking out what’s ahead, so that you don’t get caught unexpectedly on a tight technical turn. The Spirit challenged us in many ways and this included our reverse skills; something you seldom practice except in suburbia’s panhandle driveways. It felt like I was doing my K53 test all over again, and yes, I did fail it! The Amarok has a bit more meat than the average car, so any farmer planning on acquiring one will either need to enlarge their standard gates or go without side mirrors. No wonder a standard-size pallet fits on the back of an Amarok. The fun only really started on the second day when we ventured into big dune territory. This is also where we discovered just how remarkable the Amarok’s 4x4 overall capabilities were. Deflating the tyres to one bar, we attempted some big monsters and as the bakkies were more than competent, it was the drivers’ skills that were the defining factors on these obstacles. Most dunes were driven in low range third gear, and there was even time to switch to fourth gear before the ascent on some. The secret of sand driving is to stay on top of it. If you start digging, you stand little chance of moving forward as you burrow in deeper. And, you are messing up a nice track for the next competitor. Teammate Andre expertly navigated our bakkie over an enormous dune, which qualified us to proceed into the Valley of Fame while some teams had to wait in the Valley of Shame. The Spirit of Africa is not only a competition, but a great guy’s weekend away where you get to play with big, brand new toys, share old border stories and stand around a roaring bonfire to your heart’s content. After testing the Amarok, I can confidently say that this driving experience was enjoyable on so many levels. The bakkie is certain to cause havoc in the 4x4 market and I will not be surprised to see a number of them on the roads real soon.
A Beginner’s Take on
the Spirit of Africa
Sport >> 57
by David Park-Ross, Media Liaison SA Waveski Surfing Association DO IT NOW | inTRODUCING: Words Photos courtesy of SA Waveski Surfing Association
SA Waveski Surfing Championships
Magna Tubes, Jeffrey’s Bay
Competitive waveski surfing is an adrenaline-fuelled sport, which morphed out of the old paddleski scene of the 1980s. The old boards weighed 15kg plus, measured around three metres in length and were difficult to control. Today’s waveskis, as they are now known, are technologically advanced and typically weigh less than six or seven kilogrammes. They are approximately two metres long and riders strap themselves onto these ‘pocket rockets’ with a seatbelt and footstraps, enabling them to perform the most radical and outrageous aerial manoeuvres beyond the reach of even the hottest stand-up surfers. The legendary Magna Tubes reef break at Jeffrey’s Bay was the venue for this year’s SA Waveski Surfing Championships, where Border managed to wrest the majority of the honours from Western Province in grand style. A full spectrum of weather conditions combined with difficult surf produced a varied and exciting three-day event. After competing in near perfect conditions with two to three foot waves, wind free and warm at 26°C on day one, the weather took a turn for the worse. By day two, conditions had deteriorated and competitors had to battle it out in three to
four foot choppy waves, with a moderate cross-shore southwester reaching 25km/h and temperatures that had dropped to a chilly 18°C. And still the elements continued to play nasty. The arrival of a full-blown cold front on day three, accompanied by rain, a strong southwester of 40km/h and air temperatures that had plummeted to 8°C, resulted in thundering surf and fast-running seven to nine foot waves. Despite these miserable conditions, the powerful surf on the final day provided exhilarating, spectacularly long rides of 150m to 200m for the respective winners in the Senior, Master and Grand Master divisions.
1st Michelle Powell (Border)
1st Mike Cowen (Border)
2nd Western Province
2nd Tracey Sassen (WP)
2nd Dave Hammond (Border)
3rd Eastern Province
3rd Sandra Pienaar (EP)
3rd Ian Macleod (EP)
4th Lindi Williams (EP)
4th Pierre Slabber (WP)
58 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
In the Ladies division, an ecstatic Michelle Powell claimed her first SA Championship title after challenging the defending SA Champion Sandra Pienaar and the renowned Tracey Sassen, who has held the SA Championship title for the past 10 years. Although Michelle had taken a three-year break to have a family, her decision to take up canoeing during this period proved a wise one and helped to improve her paddling power, hone her skills and make a dramatic comeback. In the Senior division, 2007 SA Champion Mike Cowen won by a hugely satisfying margin of two points clear of his nearest rival, Border’s Dave Hammond. Mike wowed the crowd with numerous heart-stopping aerials and provided an unashamed demonstration of his world-class experience and style. In the Masters division, Doug Copeland easily took the honours after landing two ‘bomb waves’ and managing two spectacular rides in the final heat. This superb performance saw Doug being crowned ‘King of Magna Tubes’ by outgoing SA Waveski Surfing Association Chairman, Ken Clements. WP maestro, Percy Louw, claimed second place. The odds were against the current SA Champion, WP’s Chris Jones, as thundering surf prevented him from getting out into the take-off point at the right time, leaving him in third place. In the Junior division, Border’s Devan Kukard wiped out the opposition by skillfully choosing two ‘bomb waves’ in his final heat, similar to Doug Copeland’s, which gifted him two spectacular rides; one with a superb aerial and the second filled with classic,
consistent manoeuvres. Tiaan Podges took a well-deserved second, while third placed junior Ruan Brand, the current Cadet World Champion, bombed out due to the heavy surf in the finals. In the New Age division, current World Champion André Burger was the clear-cut winner. In the preliminary heat he scored a superb nine out of 10 with a magnificent spin aerial manoeuvre, a move which should only be attempted by seriously committed experts! Marcel Pienaar took second spot and Johan Zietsman third. In the Grand Masters division, Willie Grazer and Ronnie Ackerman fought the closest contest of all the divisions and tied all the way to the final heat. After an intense battle for top spot, Willie finally managed to pip Ronnie on the final wave with a margin of no less than 0.2 out of 10! WP’s Gerard Wilke came in third. In the Tag Team event, it boiled down to another closely fought competition between the six-man teams of 2009 Champions WP and Border. Border finally took the title in the dying moments as a result of their superior ‘Double Whammy’ tactical decision to hold back on their declaration to double their score. This move allowed their nominated rider, André Berger, the space he needed to produce an exceptional ride in the last few seconds and raise their score sufficiently to snatch the 2010 Tag Team trophy from WP. •
New Age Division
Grand Masters Division
1st Doug Copeland (Border)
1st Devan Kukard (Border)
1st André Burger (Border)
1st Willy Graser (WP)
2nd Percy Louw (WP)
2nd Tiaan Podges (Border)
2nd Marcel Pienaar (EP)
2nd Ronnie Akermann (EP)
3rd Chris Jones (WP)
3rd Ruan Brand (Border)
3rd Johan Zietsman (EP)
3rd Gerard Wilke (WP)
4th Rob Rumbelow (EP)
4th Brad Cawcutt (WP)
4th Mike Farell (EP)
Sport >> 59
DO IT NOW | inTRODUCING:
Words by Belford Hendricks & Patric Kalous Photos courtesy of Racketlon SA
Welcome to racketlon ... and it’s AWESOME! Dubbed ‘The Iron Man of racket sports’ and a younger cousin of the triathlon and decathlon, it combines the four most popular racket sports - table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis - in one exciting, energy-sapping and muscle-wrenching match. The concept of a single match involves the same two individuals playing each other in all four sports
60 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
consecutively, with four identically formatted sets of scoring (the first player to reach 21 points) in each sport. The sets are played in order from the smallest to largest racket: table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis. The player who wins the most points overall is declared the winner of the racketlon match. Besides short official rules, each of the four sports’ matches is governed by their respective international rules.
• History of Racketlon Although new to South Africa, racketlon originated in Finland and Sweden in the ‘80s and slowly evolved into its current form. The firstever World Championships took place in 2001 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The following year, the first National Team competition was played with teams from all over the world taking part including Finland, Sweden, Scotland, France and Germany. Such has been the popularity of the sport that some of these countries now boast their own official racketlon leagues! The World Tour, which takes place in 11 countries worldwide and features the sport’s top players, is now in its eighth year and includes separate Team and Individual World Championships that are held in a different city each year. Governed by the Federation International de Racketlon (FIR) since 2002, racketlon is currently billed as the world’s fastest growing sport in terms of the number of official players. It has grown by 300% internationally over the last three years with almost 2,000 ranked players from 48 countries worldwide, including former world number one players such as tennis legend Stefan Edberg, who won the first racketlon tournament he played in, Jonathan Power (squash) and Jan-Ove Waldner (table tennis). With its unique concept of ‘four sports in one’, it has definitely captured the imagination of the racket sport fraternity globally!
• Racketlon South Africa The sport eventually reached South African shores in 2007 when Racketlon SA was started by Patric Kalous, who had been enjoying the game since stumbling upon it in the UK. He now has the full support of the FIR to establish racketlon in South Africa. The first racketlon tournament in Africa took place in July 2007, in Cape Town, and was a resounding success! Although supported by a small number of players, three sections were competed in and the tournament was won by current SA number one squash player Stephen Coppinger. Since then the sport has grown steadily and there are currently three events held in Cape Town annually that attract top local players such as Dorian James (Olympic badminton), Stephen Brown (SA table tennis), Rodney Durbach (SA squash) and Stacey Doubell (SA badminton). The 2010 SA Open was held in November and with tournaments planned countrywide for 2011, should sponsors be found, next year promises to be even more exciting!
Junior winners and Orgnaisers
Racketlon SA aims to select the first-ever team to represent South Africa in the Team World Championships to be held in Milan, Italy during April 2011. Thereafter, the FIR officials in Austria have their sights set on taking the sport to the Olympics in 2016. So watch this space!
• A sport for ALL
this is repeated for a minimum of three roundrobin matches! I know from painful experience Racketlon is truly a sport for everyone. From the just how gruelling this can be. After my first professional to the amateur and from the junior day of racketlon I could barely walk the next to the veteran, players at all skill levels can take morning! part in different classes such as the Men’s A and B, Ladies, Juniors and Over 45s. Beginners can • A sport for the future enjoy it too. Whether you have played any of the sports before or not, the variety that racketlon So dust off the old badminton racket and get out offers will give you endless enjoyment and fight that ‘ping pong’ paddle! Racketlon is more than off boredom ... as if you will get bored! Matches just a combination of the world’s four dominating are always exciting and the scoring system racket sports. It has developed into a sport in means every point counts. So even if you lose its own right with characteristics, tactics and in three events, you can still win by beating psychology that is difficult to find in any other your opponent convincingly in the fourth. Most sport. With funding from much-needed sponsors, of the players have strengths and weaknesses, it has the potential for massive growth in South but the best players, such as the current world Africa! number one Christoph Krenn, are the ones who are dominant in two or three sports and good enough in the rest to ensure that they can pick up a respectable number of points, even against a world-class specialist. Apart from racket skills, fitness also plays a major role in the sport as a single match can last up to one and a half hours, with only a break of a few minutes between each discipline. As a result of the different types of movement needed for each sport, you are using every muscle in your body throughout the match, and in a tournament
It may be time that we not only ask who is the best squash player or the best tennis player? The question we should now also ask is who is the best RACKET PLAYER in the world? •
To get involved in the exciting sport of racketlon, go to www.racketlon.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sport >> 61
A compilation Photos by DO IT NOW, Xenephin Ludic (snr) and Nicolien van den Brugge
DO IT NOW | inACTION:
a r u g nau
O N T I l DO
u R h c Tou
The Start of Something Special By Xenephin Ludick It was a day like any other when Keane Ludick, who is responsible for DO IT NOW’s (DIN) brand awareness, and his brother, Xenephin, were casually chatting about touch rugby in general and the lack of top-class touch rugby tournaments, despite the abundance of sides in the local leagues. Later that same week, Keane and Francois Flamengo, DIN's Founder and owner, had the exact same conversation and felt that DIN had a lot to offer in this regard. And so an idea was put into touch and the DO IT NOW Touch Rugby Tournament became a reality. Says Francois Flamengo, “The simplicity of touch rugby is what makes it so unique; all you need is a rugby ball, a space to play and a group of friends. It’s exciting to play too as it is a fast moving, minimal contact evasive game that can be played by men and women of all ages and skill levels. It’s easy to learn and a great way to get and stay in shape. But what I enjoy most about the sport is that you and your partner can get involved – guys you can score some serious brownie points here – and the social atmosphere is awesome because there’s no need to rush home! “With this kind of appeal and DIN’s growing involvement in and support of local sporting events, it was a great fit for our brand and the perfect opportunity to be a part of a truly fantastic sport.”
62 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
r u o T gby
Nicolien van den Brugge
t n e am
What a Day! By Caron Clarke Secretary Northern Gauteng Touch Association The inaugural DIN Touch Rugby tournament kicked off at Wanderers Sports Club on 23 October 2010 and consisted of two main categories: 1-Touch Mens and the international version, Six Down Touch. The latter was a ‘mixed gender’ division as South Africa boasts some really competitive female players, as was seen on the day. There were approximately 160 players who took part, making up seven One Touch teams and nine Six Down teams. What was so encouraging to see was the number of teams from northern and eastern Gauteng and the Gauteng Provincial Associations getting involved, as well as a number of corporate sides and some national players. It was clear from the start that there is no shortage of local talent as far as touch rugby goes. South Africa will be competing at the Touch Rugby World Cup in Scotland in June 2011 and many of the SA players could be seen in action and doing what they do best. In the One Touch division, the finals proved to be a closely-contested game between The Flying Dutchmen, a well known One Touch team from Gauteng, and the Youngstars, who are actually a Six Down team from Pretoria and have some great provincial players in their side. However, it was The Flying Dutchman who proved to be the better team on the day, winning by 3 - 1. Congratulations to both teams on an excellent display of just how the game of One Touch should be played! Special mention should be made of Youngstars’ fantastic achievement, as it’s not easy for Six Down players to convert to the game of One Touch, due to the different rules and requirements. Well done Youngstars! The build-up to the Six Down final was equally as exciting with both semi finals going to a drop-off situation. The final came down to the Crusading Carrots, from Gauteng, and Mana Mayhem, from Pretoria, who wowed the crowds with their impressive performance of skill, stamina and non-stop action. As the final whistle blew, Mana Mayhem managed to squeeze a tight victory at 3 - 2. With so many talented and professional South African players in both teams it was an awesome game to watch and the high standard of play almost had one thinking it was a national tournament!
Nicolien van den Brugge
The Flying Dutchman, the winning One Touch team, won R1,000 for their efforts and Mana Mayhem, the winning Six Down team, claimed R1,500 in prize money. The top two teams in each division received DO IT NOW gym towels and the top three teams in each division received DO IT NOW caps. The teams also received some fun prizes such as water guns, yoyos and springs! Mana Mayhem won the prize for the most subscription entry forms completed and received their entry fee back! The sport is not always about winning, but about the participation, sportsmanship, fellowship and enjoyment that goes with it! So well done to all the teams that participated, and you all looked great in your DO IT NOW sponsored t-shirts! Overall it was a fantastic day and a hearty well done to the DO IT NOW team for organising such a professional, fun and action-filled tournament. Thank you to DO IT NOW for also supplying a ‘Game and water fountain’, a never-ending source of refreshment for the players throughout the day. The two mascots, ‘Roxie’ and ‘Gizmo’ were an absolute hit with the spectators and participants, as they wandered around the grounds and made friends wherever they went! The music rocked and kept the players’ pumped and festive spirit alive. When one considers how quickly this tournament was put together and the support it received, the future of this tournament looks bright indeed.
look forwarding to seeing all the familiar faces from this year's event, as well as lots of new ones at the 2011 DO IT NOW Touch Rugby Tournament." DIN TEAM
View more images and videos from this exciting day on the DO IT NOW website at www.doitnow.co.za
Nicolien van den Brugge
Sport >> 63
Event testimonials Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the effort you put into Saturday’s touch tournament at Wanderers. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the day immensely and agreed that we should have more of these kind of days to get the standard of touch up in the Gauteng region. To the DIN team, your support of the game is greatly appreciated! I really hope we are assisting you too in the promotion and awareness of your wonderful brand. Till the next tournament! Cheryl Gauteng Touch
Roxie - Mascot
A very big thank you from Northerns and the teams that attended from Pretoria – and on their performance – we were extremely proud to have two of our teams in the finals!! It was a great tournament and hopefully there will be many more of these to come. It went off extremely well and was enjoyed by all that we spoke to. To the DIN team – well done and congratulations on a great tournament! Thank you to Elri and Francois for looking after Glenn and I so nicely – and thank you for the flowers and biltong – much appreciated. As you said Keane – we do it for the passion and love of the game and to make all things possible for the players to enjoy themselves, while at the same time uplifting this wonderful game! Once again thank you to all! Caron Touch-4-U Northerns Touch
Nicolien van den Brugge
64 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
DO IT NOW | inACTION:
Words by Danie van Aswegen & Willem Botha (Team Virtuoso) Photos by Oakpics (www.oakpicks.com)
DCM CAPE PIONEER TREK
lier on a jeep track, “We started the journey from Chande towards the coast.” moving in a south westerly direction
Sport >> 65
RACE REPORT: TEAM VIRTUOSO By Willem Botha
STAGE 1 - Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay Start: Chandelier Game & Ostrich Show Farm, Oudtshoorn Start time: 07:00 Cut off: 11 hours Finish: Milkwood Primary School, Mossel Bay Distance: 135km Total vertical ascent: 2,820m
04:45 and the alarm goes off. Get dressed, pack the bags, feed the kids, load the car, eat, unload the car, drink, apply sun block, eat, drink … These are the thoughts that are rushing through our minds. It’s a bit of a rush, but we’ve dropped off the vehicles and filled our hydration packs just in time to join 126 teams poised at the starting line as the gun goes off. A last goodbye wave to the family and we’re off. We are right at the back but this suits us as moving up through the field always feels better than being overtaken. We started the journey from Chandelier on a jeep track, moving in a south westerly direction towards the coast. There is a good vibe among the riders at the back of the field and we enjoy a laugh when one of the riders comments that we should change the wording on our shorts to ‘DON’T TOW’ instead of the ‘DO IT NOW’. I bet that rider wished later on that someone would offer him a tow, as the 135km Attakwas stage of the Cape Pioneer Trek alone is regarded as the toughest one-day mountain bike marathon in South Africa, and was already starting to take its toll. This was only Day 1 and there were still five more to go. After 8 hours and 38 minutes, we crossed the finish line in Mossel Bay in 27th position in the Open Men’s category and 52nd position overall. Having struggled with cramps and faced an unforgiving head wind over the final few kilometres, we took heart in the fact that what should be the toughest stage of the 2010 event was thankfully behind us. Our physio sessions completed, we sat down to supper and some video and photo footage of the day. We applauded the last team to cross the finish line more than 12 hours after the start. They’d had a very long day, but even Christoph Sauser, ex-world champion mountain biker, complained about this being the longest day in the saddle throughout his illustrious career. Commentator and MC Paul Valstar mischievously suggested that another well-known South African stage race now is the official training ride of the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek. Hear hear! It’s 20h30 and we are off to bed. It’s been a tough day and tomorrow we DO IT NOW AGAIN!
STAGE 2 - Mossel Bay to George Start: Milkwood Primary School, Mossel Bay Start time: 07:30 Cut off: 10 hours Finish: Van Kervel School, George Distance: 110km Total vertical ascent: 2,495m 05:30 and the audio system signals the start of Day 2. Having spent the night in our two-man tents, we pack our race bags andset off for
66 >> DO IT NOW October/November 2010
breakfast. Tummies loaded with a mixture of carbs and protein we then treated our racing machines to a bit of TLC just to be sure that they’ll carry us through to George. The excitement wells up again as we join the rest of the teams at the start, and at 07h30 we set off on a lovely, leisurely ride behind the official race vehicle through the streets of Mossel Bay. The neutral zone, where no racing is allowed, took us all the way to Diaz Beach for a low tide beach ride before swinging inland through lush, green farmlands and towards the towering Outeniqua Mountains. With legs protesting we forged up some steep forestry roads onto a contour road, which provided some amazing views over the landscape and ocean beyond. The water points were once again outstanding and the school kids manning them were eager to assist riders with their every need; not even shying away from rubbing sun block on the riders’ sweaty bodies. Dropping down into the greater area of George, we entered a mountain biker’s haven as single track carved out in the indigenous forests greeted us. Not even our tired bodies and weary legs could stop us from having some fun through these sections. We rolled through the streets of George and across the finish line in 06:11. We were warmly greeted by some lovely Scooter ladies, who were handing out complimentary pizzas and posing for pictures with the, all of a sudden, completely revived male riders. This was great ... and the pizzas weren’t bad either! The biggest challenge of the day for one of Virtuoso’s team members was still to come. This occurred when a trip to the showers left one team member, having lent his towel to his teammate in the adjacent shower, waving and shouting for assistance when he realised that his partner had walked off to the tents, a couple of hundred metres away, with the towel around the neck. With a teammate like this, who needs enemies I thought! A scrumptious lunch was followed by another ‘bring the body back to life’ physio session; an absolute must on these multi stage races. After supper we once again enjoyed the day’s footage taken by the photo and camera crews out on the trail, and then concentrated on what lay ahead as the Race Director took us through the details of the next stage. In the inaugural 2009 event, the toughest day by far included a section through the Kamanassie Mountain and knowing that we would confront this mountain on Day 3, we sat bolt upright … in fear! We finished this stage 23rd in our category and 44th overall. At least we were moving up through the field; let’s just hope Katot, the route designer, doesn’t kill us in the Kamanassie tomorrow …
STAGE 4 - De Rust to Prince Albert Start: NG Church grounds, De Rust Start time: 07:30 Cut off: 10 hours Finish: Zwartberg High School, Prince Albert
STAGE 3 - George to De Rust Start: Van Kervel School, George Start time: 07:30 Cut off: 10 hours Finish: NG Church grounds, De Rust Distance: 106km Total vertical ascent: 2,450m A different day, the same routine, but even more excitement as we lined up for the start. Setting off once again behind the race vehicle in a neutral zone, which took us down the Saasveld road at a constant 20km/h, we headed out of town. Whilst in the neutral zone we realised that we were in an event with a number of local and international elite mountain bikers; there were entrants from 13 countries after all. At least we had the experience from last year’s event under our belts and knew that a few of the rookies in the leading group would probably pay dearly for their overly-eager, early-day efforts. We started the climb up to Duiwelskop, towering about 900m above the tented race village we had left behind. At the first water point, 26km into the race, one of the riders asked for some lubricant and was quite disappointed when he discovered that Squirt Chain lube was all that was on offer; he apparently had something like KY jelly in mind. Reaching the top of Duiwelskop we carefully negotiated a very technical descent down to the Louvain Guest Farm, where we were pleasantly surprised to once again encounter the lovely Scooter ladies in their skimpy bikini’s and a porta-pool on hand. Just imagine the excitement of the KY jelly guy once he got to this water point … At this point, the sweltering heat of the Karoo greeted the riders and many longed for the cool sea breezes that had followed
them everywhere they went on Day 2. The Kamanassie lived up to its reputation even though we only crossed the ‘big toe’ of this fearsome mountain range on this stage. Temperatures in these mountains peaked at close to 40°C and riders battled their way to water point three, 40km from the end. We thought the worst was behind us … only to realise that we faced a 30km/h headwind most of the way home. We crossed the finish line in 06:39, battered and nearly broken, but in spirits high after hearing that we were now lying 19th in our category and 39th overall.
Distance: 110km Total vertical ascent: 1,465m Day 4 started with a ride through Meiringspoort; to many a natural wonder of the world, and the riders enjoyed the stunning views and cool surrounds its towering cliffs offered. A single track climb towards Bloupunt, a valley nestled between the great Swartberg Mountains and the Karoo, ended with a short technical downhill and it is here that an unexpected event changed the day for team Virtuoso. A moment’s loss of concentration on the descent resulted in Danie’s arm becoming entangled and dragged through some vegetation on the left of the track. As we emerged onto the open gravel roads a 100m further, it was clear that something had pierced his arm and was trapped under the skin. Attempts at the first water point to remove the foreign object were unsuccessful, but a pressure bandage helped to reduce the discomfort and pain he was in. We headed off on a fairly level section of tar road and tried to catch up to a group of riders that had passed us while the paramedics were attending to Danie’s injury, but a strong headwind limited our progress. A very rocky climb took us to the highest point of the day at 1,200m above sea level; hardly imaginable in the normally flat Karoo landscape. The descent to the second water point was technical to say the least and I was impressed with Danie’s ability to cope with the pain. The final 50km over the open Karoo plains had a charm second to none, but a headwind once again made the going tough. With 10km still to go, we joined a group of riders and more bad luck struck when an incident with another rider saw Danie come off his bike. Barring the loss of some skin nothing serious resulted from the crash, but team Virtuoso broke their number one rule: ‘Virtuoso’s members stay on their bikes.’ We all agreed that the incident was out of our control and felt blessed that nothing more serious had happened. We crossed the finish line in 06h24; still in 19th position in our category and 39th overall, and were well pleased that we hadn’t slipped back despite our challenging day. A 40-minute procedure under local anaesthetic saw the doctor at the medical facility remove the offending object, a nasty thorn more than one centimetre long, from Danie’s arm. We thought that was pretty rough until we saw another guy lying flat on his stomach with his pants around his ankles and no skin left on his behind. The medical facility was also shared by all the lovely lady physiotherapists at the event; no skin … no dignity … things could have been worse for us!
Sport >> 67
STAGE 5 - Prince Albert to Calitzdorp Start: Zwartberg High School, Prince Albert Start time: 07:30 Cut off: 10 hours Finish: Calitzdorp High School, Calitzdorp Distance: 105km Total vertical ascent: 2,030m Another day, another mountain; this time it was the Swartberg. The stage started in very chilly conditions and riders were warned that they would encounter temperatures of between 0°C and 5°C during their hard slog to the top of Swartberg Pass. The climb up the pass called for some ‘vasbyt’ as it ascended more than 1,000m over the 20km distance; the steepest section being over the final 13km. The descent tested concentration levels as it lasted in excess of 25 minutes for most riders during which some sharp bends had to be skilfully negotiated. We joined another group of riders that included the leading ladies team of current world champion Nathalie Schneiter and Renate Telser, and arrived at the second water point where we indulged in some great eats and filled our hydration packs with energy drink. From here we headed up a hill along a single-track section from days gone by and when ox wagon was the preferred method of transport. Word has it that this route was last used in the 1890s and we shared in the spirit of the original pioneers of this country as we made our way to the top of the hill nearly 300m above the last water point. The rest of the day was spent speeding along the open gravel roads that lead to Calitzdorp, the Port capital of our country. We managed to out perform the other riders in our group, climbing up to the school sport fields to finish off the day in a time of 05:09, good enough to claim 13th position in our category and the 26th team in for the day. A chat with Kevin Evans, the mountain bike marathon and road time trial champion of South Africa and finisher of multiple Cape Epic events, later that afternoon confirmed that this was indeed one of the toughest races out there. It felt good knowing that we were only one stage away from completing an epic journey. A surprise visit by Danie’s wife and kids was hugely motivational and energising, and we powered through the last stage back to Oudtshoorn and across the finish line.
STAGE 6 - Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn Start: Calitzdorp High School, Calitzdorp Start time: 07:00 Cut off: 9 hours Finish: Oudtshoorn High School, Oudtshoorn Distance: 114km Total vertical ascent: 1,895m It’s the last stage. I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad as we joined the other riders on the starting line for one last time, praying that we’d enjoy another good day without incidents. Uncharacteristically, the final stage was the second longest stage of the race, but Katot apparently couldn’t resist taking us through the Vaalhoek Reserve on the other side of the Rooiberg Pass. Once we had crossed the top of the 12km long climb up Rooiberg, no man-made structure was visible for as far as the eye could see. At the bottom of the descent we entered the reserve and as it is not used commercially, we had the rare opportunity of cycling through
68 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
one of the natural homes of the elusive Cape Leopard. The mighty Gouritz River was crossed twice and a definite highlight of the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek of 2010. Leaving the reserve, riders made their away along 80km of undulating gravel roads to water point three, and from here it was downhill to the finish. We cycled across the finish line with some friends we had made during the week and it was a real pleasure ending this incredible adventure with them. High fives and hand shakes were exchanged as we celebrated our achievement and life in general, feeling more alive now than when we started six days ago. Our efforts on the final day were rewarded with a time of 05:31, finishing 13th in our category and 25th overall. Our tactics to start slow and finish strong paid off handsomely as we steadily moved up through the ranks on each stage we completed. In the end, and after a total of 38 hours and 35 minutes of racing, we were placed 16th in the Open Men’s category and 34th overall; a very satisfying result. Celebrations continued at the official finisher’s function that evening during which the official prize giving took place. Friends and family joined in the festivities, and everyone enjoyed and had a good laugh at the photos and video of the past week’s highlights. Stories of heroism and stupidity were exchanged and nothing could muffle the feeling of pure exhilaration experienced by all the riders. Spending six days and nearly 40 hours in the saddle over a distance of 680km and ascending more than 13,000m might sound like madness to some, while others just dream about such an achievement. To us it was a real privilege and an experience we would not exchange for many other things in this world. We believe in living our dreams and not just dreaming about them. We believe in DOing IT NOW!
Team Virtuoso was sponsored by: DO IT NOW Magazine, Channel Mteto (Audio-visual communications), Build It (Rustenburg), Kinetic (Gear for active people) and Parsons Attorneys.
Stage Racing Preparation and Tips - By Danie van Aswegen Stage racing is slightly different to a one-day race and your approach to a stage race should therefore be different.
SURVIVING THE STAGES
Some people believe that what you put in is what you get out. Although this is partially true, I’m a strong believer that it is not necessarily quantity that matters, but rather quality. If you are a part-time rider like myself and need to squeeze some training time into your busy schedule, you simply can’t afford to train in vain. Here are a few pointers to get the maximum out of your training.
Another difference between a stage race and a one-day race is that a stage race has more than one stage. It might sound like a trivial point, but you would be surprised how many people just don’t get it and never complete the race because they didn’t look after themselves during ALL the stages. Below are a few tips to help you survive the stages.
Tip 1 - Riding or racing? It is important to determine up front what your goal is for the race as this will dictate the sacrifices you will have to make in your preparation. If your objective is to race for a position, your training approach will naturally be more intense than if you are only going out for a finish.
Tip 1 - Pace yourselves. The aim for most people is to finish a race and I always feel sorry for those who paid to get to the race, have made countless sacrifices during the months of training and then go out way to hard on day one and two, never to see day three. A stage race is never won on day one – it is won at the finish line! This not only applies to the top riders that compete for a podium finish, but also to the riders competing for a finish; where completing 680odd kilometres in six days is considered a victory in itself. A good strategy is to start slow and then improve on your overall position every day. You will be pleasantly surprised at how this approach does wonders for morale and motivation, especially when you are the stronger team flying past your competitors on days four, five and six. Remember that the potential to make up time on the other teams increases drastically when they are fatigued and you are still going like a steam train.
Tip 2 - Get your family on board. As in many other cases, it is easier and thus more likely that you will steal family time over work time for your training. So sharing you goal with your family before you make any kind of race commitment will greatly assist. Instead of having to bargain or potentially upset the family every time you want to go for a long training ride, your family could be part of the journey to motivate, assist with special dietary needs and even make it more fun for you. Tip 3 - Different strokes for different folks. We don’t all have the same gene pool so some people will need to put in many long hours to make it through the first stage, whilst others are just blessed with super genes. If you were in the back of the queue when super genes where dished out, you may need to prepare yourself for some additional sacrifices. Tip 4 - Simulate race conditions. I have personally seen how people who have put in the hours suffer during the race because those hours were not representative of race conditions. For instance, if most of the race takes place in the heat of the day where temperatures can rise to 43°C in the hot African sun, you should think about breaking out of your early morning riding routine and include some rides in the heat of the day. This is also true for technical, tough climbing, long durations in the saddle, tough descents and high altitude conditions that should, if possible, be simulated in training rides.
Tip 2 - Eat well. At the CPT I burnt, on average, about 5,000 kilo calories every day; a total of almost 30,000 kilo calories over the race. This can’t be replaced with a singe meal and you need to get into the habit of eating almost all the time. A good rule of thumb is to take in solids every hour and energy gels only every second hour to avoid a runny tummy. Also keep in mind that as tempting as it might be to skip the last water station on a stage as you think you can easily make it to the finish, you should not fall into this trap. You are not refuelling for the last 20 or so kilometres, but for the next day. Tip 3 - Don’t let the total distance of the race psych you out. If you spend day two thinking about day six, you could become demoralised and will find it much more challenging to keep your morale up and the legs going. Rather take each stage on its own merit. I find it quite useful to even break each stage up into smaller portions such as the legs between water stations.
Tip 5 - Make training fun. When you consider the number of hours you will spend training and the sacrifices you’ll make in the build up to the race, it just doesn’t make sense not to have fun whilst doing it. To make it fun consider training with friends, avoid too much of the same, do a few smaller races and try to alternate your training between power, technical, stamina, speed and so on.
Tip 4 - Extrapolate your average speed. It is useful for me to do a quick calculation of the time I will have to spend in the saddle each day and between water stations. If you know that the stage is say 100km and by taking the terrain and vertical ascent into consideration, at an average speed of about 20km/h, you can prepare yourself mentally for a five-hour ride. This is also useful to determine fuel levels required between water stations.
Tip 6 - Be strong. Stage racing requires fitness in more than just one specific muscle group. General fitness and overall body strength will go a long way. You can, for instance, get away with a weak core in a one-day race. Your core will be stiff and sore the next day, but who cares as you don’t have to get back on the bike the very next day. With stage racing this is not the case. Muscles you don’t even know exist start getting sore on day three and four, and then you still have to get through days five and six.
Tip 5 - Keep your mind busy. Stage racing, in my mind, is probably 70% metal and 30% physical. Try to find ways to keep your mind off the pain and remaining distance. Conversations with fellow riders are a good option, but not recommended if you are 60% up Swartberg Pass. Having a good sense of humour and enjoying the beautiful scenery mountain biking offers also helps.
Tip 7 - Look after yourself. Avoid injuries by listening to your body and giving it enough rest between hard sessions. Remember to keep your immune system in a super state by taking the right supplements. Tip 8 - Get some rest. Make sure you are well rested in the week leading up to the race. The saying that goes around is that it’s better to be unfit and rested, than fit and over tired.
Tip 6 - Stay focused. When fatigue sets in, it’s so easy to lose your concentration, which could cause you to crash and burn. It is also funny how this seems to happen on the open and boring flat sections, and not necessarily on the technical sections where the risks are higher and one would anticipate more casualties. Tip 7 - Look after your bike. As is the case for your body, your bike also needs to last the full duration of every stage. Don’t leave your bike check to 10 minutes before the stage start. Rather have it properly cleaned as soon as possible after each stage and then inspect all the critical parts thoroughly so that you have enough time to do any major repairs if required. •
Sport >> 69
DO IT NOW | inACTION:
Words by Chris du Preez Photos courtesy of Nissan MTB series
... The starting line was a tense affair with lots of nervous faces evident amongst the neatly sorted SAS batches of riders ... #4 Down & Dirty, 4 September – Smuts Museum (20 minutes from JHB) A good time, manageable trails, a great atmosphere and all out family fun has become synonymous with the Nissan MTB Series. The 2010 Nissan Series #4 Down and Dirty was certainly no exception to the rule. Laying out a course that is enjoyable for beginners, whilst providing professional athletes with a challenge is no mean feat. However, the organisers rose to the occasion and, finding just the right balance, delivered on this in near-perfect proportions. This year’s start was moved from Southdowns College to the Smuts House Museum in Irene. The new venue proved ideal as it could easily accommodate the sizeable field of mountain bikers taking part in this penultimate event in the Series. The starting line was a tense affair with lots of nervous faces evident amongst the neatly sorted SAS batches of riders. However, some light-hearted chirps and words of encouragement could be heard floating around to break the ice. From a racing perspective a few of the big names were absent, but Adrien Niyonshuti, BenMelt Swanepoel and an almost full complement of Garmin riders (minus Philip Buys who was competing overseas) were present, ensuring that the race would be fast and tightly contested. Theresa Ralph, Karien van Jaarsveld and Carla Rowley were also present to represent the fairer sex, thus guaranteeing that the eventual ladies winner would have to work very hard for it. A short and rocky uphill almost immediately after the start quickly sorted out the men from the boys (and the girls from the um, slightly stronger girls). After a rough climb, the course meandered around the hills behind Smuts House, crossed underneath the R21
highway and continued on some rough grassy farm tracks, which would later become nicely flowing jeep- and dirt tracks. The course looped back on itself onto a jeep track next to the R21 and straight into a mean head wind before crossing back over the R21 and finally looping back towards Smuts House on some technical and rocky single tracks. These single tracks were a welcome skills tester after the hard slog into the head wind next to the R21. A special mention has to be made about the rocky single track downhill section, which dropped riders back into the valley behind Smuts House and great fun was had by those fearless few who either had too much courage or too little ‘brains’ to be scared. The race was won by an on-form Adrien Niyonshuti (02:23:13), followed by Hendrik Kruger - and this was surely also the performance of the day – in second place and Marc Bassingthwaite in third. Theresa Ralph (02:52:42) rode a very impressive race to win the ladies event by quite a large margin over Carla Rowley, with Karien van Jaarsveld rounding out the women’s podium in third place. In the men’s half marathon distance, Xander Botha (01:20:48) rode a strong race to cross the finish line first, followed by Ruan Pretorius and Michael Casey. In the ladies half marathon race, Sandra Prinsloo (01:37:23) beat Angela Egeland and Tarryn Brent for a well deserved win. For the mere mortals among us, the finish venue proved a very welcome sight. Food, cold drinks and plenty of shade was enjoyed after a hard, but thoroughly memorable day on our mountain bikes.
#5 Van Gaalen, 13 November – Van Gaalens Cheese Farm (1hour from JHB) The Nissan Series concluded with its grand finale at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm in Skeerpoort, on 13 November. The route boasted some of the finest single track this country has to offer with new trails added, existing trails groomed and the addition of even more bridges, gnarly climbs and leg testing tight and twisty tracks showing our southern friends that you do not need an ocean and a flat-topped mountain to have truly epic trails. The 70km event, which featured 900m of vertical ascent, was not to be underestimated. The reward for all this climbing was however worth the effort. Riders were rewarded for their hard slog up the mountain with fast downhill sections in a variety of terrain. On the mountain’s side of the main road the terrain was rocky and dusty with a river crossing and some bridges thrown into the mix of technical single track. As soon as one headed back to the farm’s
side of the main road, the terrain changed to tight but flowing riverside single tracks with a number of river crossings and short, sharp drops and climbs. The Nissan Van Gaalen race was a true mountain bike race, providing riders with challenging climbs, rough rocky sections and all kinds of single track that tested the riders’ technical ability while still being heaps of fun. This event is certainly not to be missed for 2011!
For more information or to view the full results from the Series, please visit www.mtbseries.co.za.w
CONCLUSION As was predicted, the Nissan MTB Series provided some thrilling racing throughout the year. The whole series has become an absolute must-do on the Gauteng mountain bike calendar. If you haven’t attended an event yet, make sure you keep an eye on the website for the 2011 dates and bring the whole family along to enjoy some great mountain biking and have some good ‘clean’ family fun. •
70 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
by Amy Witherden DO IT NOW | inACTION: Words Photos by Mouton Van Zyl
FISH RIVER CANOE MARATHON
72 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
This year was no different and the first weekend in October 2010 saw the number of entrants grow to 1,720 paddlers, as they took over this small town in the sweltering Karoo heat, in anticipation of hitting a full Fish River, flowing at 26 cubic metres per second of water. Racing proved highly competitive this year as 2009 K1 champion and six-time Fish winner Len Jenkins (KZN) aimed to make the 2010 Fish his seventh win. However, his hopes were dashed as the 2008 K2 defending champions, Hank McGregor (KZN) and Grant Van der Walt (ex GP, now KZN), took line honours in a spectacular display of tenacity and strength. Jenkins, who claimed bronze at the World Marathon Championships in Spain the week before, and ski-paddling phenomenon Matt Bouman (KZN), blitzed the competition on Day 1 and finished first in a time of 02:43, almost two minutes ahead of McGregor and van der Walt after a tough day’s racing in which the lead changed several times. The first 46km stage started ‘le mans’ style as paddlers sprinted to their boats in the shallows of Grassridge Dam, before taking off on a flat-water dice to the dam wall, portaging over it and hitting the fast-flowing river.
minute buffer between the defending champions and themselves. Leading the way through the next major obstacle of Soutpansdrift, with its long wave train, Jenkins and Bouman worked tirelessly on their own for the remainder of the day and set a new stage record of 02:43:56 upon reaching the stopover below Knutsford Bridge. Following in their wake was McGregor and van der Walt in second place, and the German crew of Max Hoff and Stefan Steinhoffer taking third. In the lady’s race, it was the pre-race favourites 2009 K1 champion Robyn Kime (WP) and Olympian Michele Eray (EP) who finished comfortably having gained an 8 minute and 30 seconds lead over second placed Tiffany Kruger (KZN) and Olympian Jen Hodson (GP). Abby Adie (KZN) and Lindi-May Harmsen (WP) came in third. In the junior boy’s race, it was the unstoppable combination of Brandon van der Walt, the junior silver medal winner at the 2010 Spain World Marathon Champs (also ex GP and now KZN) and Ivan Kruger (WP), who cruised to victory in their category and eleventh overall. Toti school girls, Jenna Ward (KZN) and Kerry Segal (KZN), also set a punishing pace to lead the junior girl’s race.
Paddlers passed a number of obstacles including Colletts Weir that now boasts the exciting two-stage Double Trouble chute, and Toastrack, a low-level bridge, before reaching the notorious Keith’s Flyover, a Grade 3+ rapid and the biggest of the race, at the 10km mark.
After a superb day of racing and with the sun setting, the overnight camp soon turned into a hive of activity as boats were mended with fiberglass, resin and grinders, in readiness for Day 2. Some of the boats were irreparably damaged and so their occupants opted to enjoy the festivities rather than attempt to finish the gruelling race in a holey canoe.
Coming into Keith’s, McGregor and Van der Walt, Mark Mulder (KZN) and Lance King (WP) and Jenkins and Bouman were leading, with 2010 SA K2 champions Jacques Theron (GP) and Piers Cruickshanks (GP) hot on their tails. Gauteng’s hopes were dashed when Theron and Cruickshanks smashed their boat in the mayhem of rocks and big waves.
The atmosphere at the Fish is legendary and Friday night always means a big party in Cradock. With Watershed headlining the Hansa Powerade Fish party, this event did not disappoint. More than a few of the paddlers started Day 2 feeling decidedly sensitive. However, it was all business for the main competitors at the front of the field, who were bright-eyed, fresh and ready to race.
Jenkins and Bouman managed to gain an edge on McGregor and Van der Walt just after Keith’s when Van der Walt steered into a dead-end channel, which Jenkins knew to avoid. Taking advantage of the situation, Jenkins and Bouman moved into the lead and a lightning quick portage around Brak Rivier Weir added a three-
One of the fun highlights of the event is the ‘fancy dress’ competition, and the decoration of body and boat has become increasingly overthe-top. This year’s theme was ‘pimp me lumo’ and it was a UKZN crew who were the show-stoppers, winning their weight in Hansa and Powerade.
Sport >> 73
The 36km stage on Day 2 started on the river with elapsed times; the paddlers that finished within half an hour of the leaders on Day 1 took off in the order they finished on the first day. The rest of the field set out in batches thereafter.
RESULTS Senior Men
Overnight leaders Jenkins and Bouman lost time soon after the start having made a bad choice of put-in after the first portage. With the leaders in sight, McGregor and Van der Walt made a tactical decision to switch positions with McGregor taking the driver’s seat, as Van der Walt was battling with fatigue following the World Marathon Champs held the week before. With heads down, the duo increased their pace to catch Jenkins and Bouman.
Name 1 (Prov/Nat)
Name 2 (Prov/Nat)
G Van der Walt (KZN)
H McGregor (KZN)
L Jenkins (KZN)
M Bouman (KZN)
S Stieffenhoffer (Ger)
M Hoff (Ger)
The first major obstacle of the day was Gauging Weir, a fairly straight-forward drop. This was followed by Marlowe Chute, a very high slide with a wicked stopper at the bottom. It was just above this chute and three quarters of the way through the final stage when McGregor and Van der Walt managed to catch the leaders.
R Knebl (Cze)
T Slovak (Cze)
The two crews paddled neck-and-neck from Marlowe to Cradock Weir, a three-metre high, v-shaped and double-sloped weir that is so often the deciding factor of the race. After a flat-out sprint, it was McGregor and Van der Walt who made it over the weir first. Jenkins and Bouman popped a splash cover on the drop, taking on water and putting an end to their chances of victory.
P A Rabie (WP)
A Birkett (KZN)
D Bird (KZN)
N Burden (KZN)
S Bird (Aus)
J Phillips (Aus)
L Vinysale (Fr)
Q Bonnetain (Fr)
G White (WP)
Z Courtney (WP)
M Mulder (KZN)
L King (WP)
Senior Ladies Pos
Name 1 (Prov)
Name 2 (Prov)
M Eray (EC)
R Kime (WP)
J Hodson (GP)
T Kruger (KZN)
A Adie (KZN)
L M Harmsen (WP)
J Ward (KZN)
K Segal (KZN)
S Maree (GP)
H Maree (GP)
In the ladies race, favourites Kime and Eray finished first, despite swims at Marlowe Chute and Cradock Weir, with a 14-minute lead over second placed ladies Kruger and Hodson, and twenty-first overall. Third place went to a solid Adie and Harmsen.
B Van der Walt (KZN)
I Kruger (WP)
M Haw (KZN)
J Speed (KZN)
J Williams (WP)
The junior men’s race continued to be dominated by Brandon van der Walt and Ivan Kruger, who finished thirteenth overall. The junior ladies’ title went to overnight leaders Ward and Segal.
D Pieterson (WP)
B Beresford (KZN)
D Hattingh (KZN)
A Houston (KZN)
D Pearce (KZN)
K Segal (KZN)
With the finish line in sight, McGregor and Van der Walt put the hammer down once again to retain their title in a time of 01:57.45. A disappointed Jenkins and Bouman came in 2 minutes and 20 seconds behind. Third place was settled with a fierce struggle between German crew Hoff and Steinhoffer and the classy Czech Republic combination of Robert Knebel and Tomás Slovák. However, it was the Germans who took the better lines in the final rapids to edge the Czechs out of podium contention. Pierre-Andre Rabie (WP) and 2010 Dusi winner Andrew Birkett (KZN) rounded off the top five.
The event also saw the paddlers stage a fundraising and awareness drive for the Cradock Cancer Care Unit, by paddling in speciallymade pink caps and raising almost R80,000 during National Breast Cancer Awareness Week. A total of 864 boats consisting of K1s, K2s and K3s, recognised as an official category for the first time this year, plus a few crazy K4s, finished the 2010 Hansa Powerade Fish River Canoe Marathon and a big party followed the big drama on the river that night. •
Junior Ladies 1
J Ward (KZN)
T Haw (WP)
B Haw (KZN)
B Peterson (KZN)
K Shuter (GP)
For more information and a full set of race results, go to http://www.fishmarathon.org.za
74 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Sport >> 75
compilation DO IT NOW | inACTION: APhotos by various photographers
Team Gijima Swazi Xtreme Race Report
By Adéle Esterhuizen Team Gijima: Alwyn and Adéle Esterhuizen, Christiaan Greyling and Landie Visser
The excited cyber-chatter of the online adventure racing community introduced me to the ultimate challenge on the southern African adventure racing calendar; the legendary Swazi Xtreme, a multi-day adventure race in the remote wilderness of Swaziland. The lure of adventure in untouched wilderness sowed a seed in very fertile soil, and less than a year into adventure racing and with only one brief introduction to multi-day racing, my husband and I entered our very first Swazi Xtreme (pro) race in 2007 as a mixed pair – 250km of non-stop blood, sweat and tears. Needless to say, our baptism into this unpredictable and extremely adventurous race was a most intense awakening! So after days of bush whacking and multiple ‘where-the-hell-are-we’ moments, we put our tails between the legs and vowed never to return … But alas, as the wounds healed and battle scars disappeared, the call of the wild returned, with only the challenge of conquering the kingdom remaining. This time round we decided to join forces with another mixed pair, Christiaan and Landie, to represent Team Gijima at what was to become the grand finale of a decade long, adrenalin-infused adventure – the Swazi Xtreme. Reminiscent of a bona fide stage rage, the start venue was stylish and professionally run. The air was filled with a buzz of excitement and festivity, and it was easy to forget the physical and mental battle that lay ahead. This illusion was short-lived however, and true to his reputation, Darron revealed some nasty surprises at race briefing. We were in for some ‘value added’ racing and whatever that might entail, we were soon to find out. Expecting the unexpected, Team Gijima enthusiastically entered the race rearing to go. We crossed rivers, scaled mountains and banked an incredible 220km of racing before 24 hours had even passed! Cruising into the overnight transition at daybreak, our phenomenal seconds treated us to a five-course, safari-style breakfast. As one
76 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
day glided into the next, we wondered how much ‘value’ has been added to this race course … Feeling pampered and nourished, we embarked on a short bike leg to the main paddling section of the race. This leg was to be one of the race’s highlights for me, with the deep ravine of the river coursing through the Swazi wilderness and gushing rapids only occasionally dispelling the tranquility. The 20km trek out of the valley was quite a psychedelic experience. As the sun began to set, a magnificent display of multiple rainbows broke through the clouds. As nighttime fell, the rain started to pour down. Huddled together underneath our rain shelter that resembled a giant multipede, we continued to march into the night. We had been racing hard for more than 24 hours non stop and with the Sleep Monsters on the prowl, we were soon entertaining each other with some weird and wonderful hallucinations! At this point we didn’t want to miss the cutoff for the pending jumar section on the final hike leg, but our bodies demanded some shut eye. The vote was unanimous and we treated ourselves to four hours of desperately needed sleep. Day 3 turned out to be the ultimate test to body and soul. The supersized jumar was topped with a spectacular cliff jump into a rock pool looming over a 80m drop below, and then the grand finale; a tough bike leg up and down the Lebombo Mountains to the finish, just in time for breakfast! This time round we came and we conquered – but the Swazi Xtreme remained the ultimate winner … What a way to end a legendary race and era. Mr Raw – you are a legend!
After 10 incredible years, the Swazi Xtreme has sadly come to an end. A highlight on the southern African racing calendar, the event was known as the toughest and biggest African adventure race and gained the respect of those who took part. Having pushed the boundaries of body, mind and soul, whilst keeping the spirit of adventure alive, race organiser Darron Raw decided to call it a day at the 10th Swazi Xtreme, held from 5-9 August 2010; a suitable round number to conclude their efforts on. If you haven’t experienced the Swazi Xtreme, you’ve missed an opportunity to forever carve your name alongside this crazy and extreme adventure.
“THIS IS NOT A GAME!” rang in my ears at various points along the 446km route. This was teammate Phillipe van der Leeuw’s way of letting ‘Muffin Girl’ (Jane Swarbreck) know that THIS WAS NOT A GAME; it was the epic Swazi Xtreme (SX) and her first long race! This SX would be a game of hide and seek, with an extreme twist, which the Swazi cartographers and race organiser Darron Raw had concocted to present us with the ultimate challenge; finishing the SX. However, challenges such as this was something the Red Ants thrived on. As most of the original team had decided to forgo the final SX, it was up to me to coerce some unsuspecting friends to join me. After several phone calls, emails and gentle persuasion, the Red Ants were mobilised and ready to invade Swaziland, with Phillipe ‘I train 24 hours a week’ van der Leeuw, Tim ‘So when can we sleep?’ Deane, Muffin Girl ‘This is my first long AR’ and myself, Brian ‘The last standing Red Ant’ Gardner. We were pampered by our outstanding seconds, Walter ‘I led the convoy to T5’ Dhooge and Hardus ‘Where’s my bike?’ de Bruyn. The race briefing revealed that the Pro event would be packed with ‘added value’. Our mission: to collect all the OPs and have as much fun as possible!
Leg 1: Hike/Run (12km)
Friday, 06h00: teams were nervously lined up for the last-ever start of the SX. This leg would be crucial and a strong start was called for. We set off jogging through the Nisela Game Reserve in the chilled pre-dawn air, colleting two OPs on the hill and making it to T1 just behind Team Jabberwok.
Leg 2: MTB (93km)
We mounted our bikes at T1 and were hot on the heels of Jabberwok. We soon caught up and had managed to take the lead. After a small nav error we were quickly back on track and heading for T2, a long slog with only a quick stop at a roadside shop to refuel on coke and sprite.
Leg 3: Canal Paddle (17km)
After a quick transition, we reached the paddle put-in at the start of the irrigation canal. Jane and I would drive the two boats, and as she had never steered a boat down anything flowing before, was told to try and stick to my rudder and follow my line. But about 200m down the canal, Phil and Jane tipped. After some hasty reorganisation and boat emptying, Jane joined me in the back of my boat and Tim was upgraded to driver in the other! With no further incidents, we paddled into T3 in a couple of hours.
Sport >> 77
Leg 4: Hike (8km)
Making quick work of the tran sition at T3, we continued to T4 at Van Eck Dam on the outskirts of Big Bend. The sun was sett ing as we proceeded to CP18, which was not where we thought it sho uld be … After a good 10-minute search and intense map read ing for fine features, we finally found it! With CP18 in the bag, we hea ded towards OP104 in the fading light. We collected our new map s for the next few legs and were still clueless as to what lay ahead.
Leg 5: Hike (17km)
After a satisfying pasta meal, sore and blistered feet were atte nded to before setting off into the night. The initial stages of the hike were fast and flat, allowing us make it to CP21 in good time. CP21, however, heralded the star t of a two kilometre, 600m ascent up the Lebombo’s on a narrow foot path . Huffing and puffing our way up to the top, it was a flat four-kilomet er walk to T5. The aimless traip sing along this dirt road induced the dreaded Sleep Monster in som e of the team members …
Leg 6: MTB (75km)
T5 was an unassisted transitio n at a mountain-top school. We quickly donned our cycling sho es and were off. Navigating the first section was straightforward and an awesome six-kilometre dow nhill ride into the lowveld. You just gotta love the feeling of hurtling down a mountain at 50kph at night with only bike lights to guide the way. We were joined by Alex Pop e and Paul Bothma of Ciprale x, and found the first couple of OPs fairl y easily. But sleep deprivation and some navigation issues prev ented us from finding OP209 at the pump house. Once we figured out where we were on the map ,I decided to hit the tar road, skip OP209 and return to T4. We arriv ed just before 06h00 and caught the star t of the Sport teams hea ding off on their next stage.
Leg 7: MTB (14km)
Tired from a long night on the bikes and knowing that the next couple of legs would be just as gruelling, we took our time in transition. Tim, Phil and Jan e had a 30-minute power nap and I worked on the maps, before setting off on a quick 14km cyc le to the paddle put-in.
78 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Leg 8: River Paddle (18km)
Although none of us had muc h river paddling experience, we surprised ourselves with a flawless paddle through the beautiful Lusutfu River valley! We were able to keep up a good rhythm except for thos e damn sandbanks that kep t popping up. This section was the highlight of the race for us!
Leg 9: Hike (2w2km)
Having been off our feet for a good three hours paddling, the ensuing 22km hike was tortu re. Not much can be said for the insane slog up and out of the valley except for our encounters with the Sleep Mon ster! We pushed on and collected two OPs en route to T8 as the sun set on Day 2. The hike had taken its toll, nec essitating time being spent at T8 to remedy the feet, refuel our weary bodies and indulge in a back massage before con tinuing. The mist was rolling in and it star ted to drizzle, so we pushed on although we were desperate for sleep to rech arge our batteries for the long night ahead.
Leg 10: MTB (60km)
Leaving transition we collected OP300 and a few small circles later we located the single track at OP207. From here it was a blissful downhill ride back into the lowveld. The track became insanely rocky and steep, and caution was the name of the game. Tim, howeve r, managed to claim some Swazi bushveld dirt on the way down and his wrist, which he had injured two weeks prior, had star ted to flare up. Negotiating the decent of the Lebombo’s for the second time, we headed north towards T9. I decided to ask for directions from the ‘friendly’ loca ls, who had helped us on previous occasions. Keeping my distance, I greeted two young guys politely and ask ed if the school was in that direction (pointing). Not gett ing any reaction or greeting in return, I asked again but sen sed that something wasn’t quite right. I immediately turn ed my bike around, by which time one of the youths had walk ed around a clump of aloes and tried to cut me off from my escape route. Summing
up this situation quickly and des pite my sleep-deprived state, I pedalled hard to escape back up the road. The youth ran at full speed after me, shouting dero gatory remarks and trying in vain to grab hold of me as I sped up the hill, only stopping just sho rt of where the team was sitting. Heaven help that fellow if he did get hold of me … Needless to say, we were all wide awake for the rest of the bike ride to T9!
Leg 11: Hike (18km)
Arriving at transition fully awa ke and pumped with adrenali n after the attempted mugging (or whatever that fellow had in mind!), we decided to keep goin g and hit the hiking leg right away. In hindsight we should have slept because the whe els came off about three hours later. We nailed OP302, OP3 03 and OP304, but CP36 proved to be our nemesis. Soon afte r arriving at OP304 we came acro ss another team who claimed to have bundu bashed for hou rs. The bushveld between us and CP36 was impenetrable, so we planned to hike around the bush to the other side. After a couple of hours of going bac k and forth, we opted to backtra ck to our last point of certaint y, OP304, and hit a bearing thro ugh the bush to CP36. We only realised later that we were at a different cordon fence just 300m away from the right one , at exactly the same altitude and direction. It’s amazing wha t exhaustion can do to one’s reasoning and sense of directio n! The sun was just star ting to rise on Day 3 and having lost considerable time earlier, we skipped the OPs around Site ki town and headed straight for T10. As we approached, Jan e suddenly kicked into overdrive and ran ahead. We told her that long-haul adventure racing is not always about running and that she should conserve her energy (knowing full well that we had been truly outrun on that section!). We received the final maps for the last two legs at T10, and I wanted to jump for joy when I saw ‘finish’ printed on them. We had been racing for approximat ely 52 long hours, covered ove r 350km and only slept for about 45 minutes in total, and still had another 100km, approximately 16 hours, to go. Wrrrrong!
Leg 12: Hike (17km)
At this stage, the sun was blaz ing and we were attempting to make the 14h00 cutoff at the Jumar. Jane was in overdriv e
again, and following on from her spirited run earlier, she took off leaving us in her dust and gas ping for air! Catching up to Alex and Pau l once more, we plunged into the kloof and negotiated the first few steep sections before kicking up a gear to make the cutoff. It was about 13h30 and in our haste we missed the OP that indicated the split to the Jumar, and the cutoff by 25 minutes. Despite missing the official cuto ff we could’ve done the Jum ar, but as it was getting late we decided that scrambling out of the kloof would be quicker than Jum aring. Increasing our pace we adv anced to T11, our last transitio n, finally! We had planned for a quick transition, but hightailed it out of there when Tao, the marsha l at T11, told us that if we didn ’t leave in the next 10 minutes, our race would be over! Physica lly exhausted, but mentally stro ng, we were still very much in the game!
Leg 13: MTB (75km)
In second place behind Team Kinetic, I wondered if we still had a fighting chance. Jabberwok had pulled out earlier in the race, so it was now up to Kinetic and us to race to the line. If anyone talks about a ‘sting in the tail’, it is this exact leg and place they are talking about. Dar ron’s sense of humour was out of control and our sense of hum our was left somewhere near T11. Needless to say, the last 75km leg was an EPIC end to an EPI C event, and an EPIC conclusion to 10 extreme years of SX! We arrived to a warm welc ome at Simunye Club afte r 75 hours and 28 minutes of racing, at 09h30 on Monday. We were BROKEN, but had finis hed second behind Team Kine tic, who had a solid race and sho wed us that slower and stea dier (with more sleep) wins the day ! Well done guys! To my teammates, it was an absolute pleasure racing with you! Thanks to Darron, Anita, the marshals, our awesome second s and everyone else who support ed and cheered for Team Red Ants. We couldn’t have finis hed this EPIC race without you. THANK YOU for making the last Swazi so memorable! Phil was right, this was not a gam e, it was the most incredible AR experience ever and we’re sad to see it end.
80 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
me Event Organiser, 200
By Darron Raw, Swazi Xtre
tion adventure race. This reputa st ge lar a’s ric Af en be s i Xtreme ha ssic distance For many years the Swaz ld of competitors in a cla fie st ge big the g tin rac – or living large’. was built by regularly att ich was about ‘going big wh y, ph so ilo ph r ou d an rket, which is in itself a adventure race rket in the multi-sport ma
turn re truly a niche ma sport market, and this in in 2001, when we we he market of the endurance nic are Since its inauguration we ible red So t. inc e rke tak ma g to rtin enture racers of the overall spo amazed at the ability of adv heat is a niche market group of all the sm up a ed and turn dge we wly slo the of we edge obstacles in their stride, . The talking about a thin slogans sums this and more risky challenges . In fact one of our T-shirt ple peo que uni each year – adding more le sib pos y inary race!” And anl ord hum no is – at ple wh e of fectly, “No ordinary peo per up closer we got to the edg ut abo ed ahead. rav s still re our par ticipant it day whilst we were and impossible, the mo n a we decided to call dow d rge cha we rs So ed us on. sion for the past 10 yea the experience and egg our following However, our main driving pas and s t’s ser tha ani org and e’ us aliv er, ure pretty wild path togeth ps, ran has been to keep the ‘spirit of advent jumped bigger kloof jum has been all about. The e, em Xtr azi of adrenaline addicts. We Sw ted fes nd, c-in bra what the ideal and tches, swam across cro aren’t giving up on this crazier white water stre e work sections and good news is that we rop of plans for ple s cou cliff a got her ’ve hig dams, found g it to die a quiet death. We win allo SX is the r, year or the year afte generally had a ball. up our sleeves … Next t will tha nt ge poi llen a cha hit ’d 8, when I felt that we lve into an entirely new enture to This continued until 200 ng likely to evo adv goi for s n wa sio – pas risk a of s with – in term e to allow those where going any bigger comes a continu our competitors. There but ns. us, hor t it e jus giv not t hur to , and push your luck any further years gone by point when you shouldn’t a mm dile rable moments fromhow mo s left us with a bit of a Me Thi nt. poi t tha at fast the adventure re we we ands. shocked by ned for its extreme dem In our first event we were inaugural route our out as the race was renow of laid I’d ville . ns with Lisa de Spe ers could cover ground cer rac con my red ms of the day, sha tea g Havin l mood one of the top a great feel for the genera and even pre-tested it with of the race day the on www.AR.co.za, who has but us er, foc ckey led by Max Clu cept that we should Ro con m the Tea with up e estimates. e cam tim of AR, she event k most of our er decision making in our the leading teams overtoo of them ad ahe ed spe h more on strategy and rac ch hig rs this was our approa ber having to run at em yea e rem I thre t we’d pas ich the wh for ts, design. So t-minute checkpoin attributes to place a few of the las ‘cunning’ to their list of e lipp Phi and w Piro rs Pie and racers had to add ing the event went ‘soft’, opted to lay out on the day. It was say not e I’m pac s. the ces ing suc required for extreme a pair, who were forc d to keep finding more van der Leeuw, racing as er nee und n’t did ver Ne we : st day lea t at tha but all-time le lesson race was probably my and taught us a valuab thrills. In fact, the 2008 won in adventure racer! s an wa of It ed s. spe nes the itive te pet ima com est favourite in terms of its e som section at de ma o wh m Cyanosis, we had laid out a tricky the last 30 minutes by Tea a In our second event, a large with e has hom ich ak wh e, sne to Min ns Ore culatio historic Ngwenya Iron the precision last-minute cal pool sh fini the in the t oin ore ckp bef placed a che ute to spare pool and sheer sides. I’d victory, leaving only a min Lion the of site the at e min of the and another over the lip ce line cutoff. den evi wn kno of the oldest al Cavern, the preserved site mpted to attract internation the t atte tha er s wa nev n e pla hav My we . h ide Althoug pared of human mining activity worldw rd that our event com bottom via competitors, I’ve hea It has teams would be forced to exit the pool at the as. rse ove es rac t bes the of ep hillside e ste som the e with y ers favourabl ms from a narrow cleft and then slowly trav some of our regular tea s therefore wa I nt. poi ond sec been awesome to see the ent ch rec outside the mine to rea ng well in events like the my marshals during the SX competing and doi I’d like to think quite shocked to get a call from one of in. Spa in ps am Ch rld , but one of the this ieve bel n’t Adventure Racing Wo on them and strengthen the event to say, “You wo diti con to bit our of the mine, and e e don sid that we’ve ny race teams is just climbing straight up the ly haven’t heard of ma tain cer I shouting at her . lief ps kee f-be sel and ir g the n ours over the past it’s a woman who is leadin tha e rem ext re mo are t mine was not t tha challenges tha ers will teammates to speed up.” The side of t our current crop of top rac tha bt unstable from dou hly I hig so rs, and yea se few their experiences at just 70m high, it was also loo ilst wh not … e from that pris sur ever be taken by m was Team Kinetic and years of blasting! The tea in a risky h. ing fres eth s som ain ng rem nni the SX s whenever I was pla ard onw day ely ss what larg nt gue to and right and try day after this year’s eve environment, I’d look left We decided to call it a 10 Heidi ely and ak nam n, bre a stio que like sers, would ure racer like the lady in ent adv an because we, as organi nt eve The speed up her team. number to end off on. ller, would try and do to seemed like a nice round adventure racing is Mu and r nne spi ney mo itself is not a big
Sport >> 81
DO IT NOW | inSHAPE: Words by Garth Olivier - Physiotherapist
Stock photography: www.bigstock.com
Many of us trail runners have experienced pain in our shins at one time or another and most of the time we've diagnosed ourselves with shin splints. But is it? Shin splints can be defined as a painful inflammation of the muscles around the shins and is frequent among runners, or as a pain and tenderness experienced in the lower leg as a result of damage or strain to leg muscles and tendons that is usually caused by exercise. While the term shin splints is often used, especially among the athletic population for pain in the shins, it does not represent a specific clinical pathology. A condition that is very common in runners and falls under shin splints is Compartment Syndrome. This syndrome can be described as an increase in volume or reduction in the size of an enclosed compartment or space causing increased pressure, which then compresses the nerves and blood vessels contained therein and leads to impaired blood flow with muscle and nerve damage. It occurs most often in the anterior (front) compartment of the lower leg (calf), but can also occur in other sections in the leg, as well as in the arms, hands, feet and buttocks. Anterior Compartment Syndrome can occur as a result of an impact that causes bleeding within the compartment and therefore swelling that takes up the space in the sheath, or a muscle tear in the calf that causes bleeding. But the most common problem we see in runners is overuse injuries. This is tissue damage that results from increasing the mileage too much, too soon and can cause swelling in the sheath. In this instance, the athlete will complain of a sharp pain in the muscle on the outside of the lower leg. As the runner continues running, the pain will worsen as more blood is pumped to the calf muscle until he eventually has to stop due to the increased pressure in the sheath. After a couple
82 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
minutes of rest, the pain normally subsides as the pressure is relieved. Weakness, when trying to pull the foot upwards against resistance, swelling and tenderness over the front shin muscle, as well as pain when the foot and toes are bent downwards are other symptoms the athlete may complain of.
Treatment of Anterior Compartment Syndrome, including overuse injuries, can be either conservative or surgical: • Firstly, rest from any activities that cause pain such as running or walking. Cycling and swimming are non weight-bearing exercises, so they should be fine. Ice and compression will help alleviate any swelling in the sheath. • A couple of visits to a physio can help to assess any biomechanical fallout, which can be corrected by way of orthotics. Many of the runners I see with Anterior Compartment Syndrome have tight achilles tendons, so a strict stretching regime of the calf muscles is included in their rehabilitation programme. • If all conservative treatment fails then the last resort would be a fasciaotomy. It’s a simple surgery whereby a small incision is made in the sheath to relieve tension or pressure. The only drawback being that every time you go for a run and the pressure builds up, the muscle ‘pokes out’ of the incision and it looks like you've smuggled a sausage into your socks. Not painful at all, just aesthetically not normal! So next time you start experiencing shin splints, visit your local sport practitioner and get it assessed properly. The sooner you can sort it out, the sooner you'll be back on the road! See you on the trails! •
Figure 1: Shin Splints Definition: It's a general medical term denoting medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), a slow healing and painful condition in the shins, usually caused by exercise such as running, jumping, dancing or other sports. Figure 2: Compartment syndrome Definition: It's the compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscle inside a closed space (compartment) within the body. This leads to tissue death from lack of oxygenation; the blood vessels being compressed by the raised pressure within the compartment.
ď ° Figure 1: Shin Splint location
ď ° Figure 2: Compartment Syndrome location
by Dr Rikus Scheepers DO IT NOW | inSHAPE: Words Photos courtesy of Dr Scheepers
Spinal and Joint Wellness through
Spondylolisthesis A forward or backwards movement of a spinal vertebra on another vertebra.
>The Chiropractic Approach Why is this foreign word important to me? Spondylolisthesis means: a forward or backwards movement of a spinal vertebra on another vertebra. Symptoms of this include chronic back pain, leg pain, hamstring tightness, numbness and tingling in the legs. This is more common than would be expected and occurs in around 8% of the general population and in up to 30% of active sportsmen suffering from lower back pain. Although this is a fairly serious condition, it can be managed conservatively and successfully in most cases where there is no instability or abnormal neurologic signs. There are different causes including trauma, repetitive extension of the spine, degenerative changes, birth defects and pathogenic processes like infections or tumours. According to the cause and amount of slippage, a type and grade is given to the condition that will determine the appropriate management.
Treatment options Most of these conditions can be treated conservatively with physical therapy, core strengthening exercises, bracing and activity modifications. In cases where the symptoms persist, spinal fusion surgery should be considered. This topic for an article came to my attention recently when an elite ultra marathon athlete and friend, Johan Oosthuizen, was diagnosed with a combination of isthmic and degenerative type spondylolisthesis. Johan holds the world record for the fastest time for three marathons in three days, and has run three Comrades in gold medal winning times, to mention a few of his many achievements. Johan was competing in the JFK 50 Mile race in Haggers town, Maryland, USA, when at about the 40 mile mark as he moved into
84 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
the top three, he felt a burning pain in his right leg. The pain was so bad that he had to stop and walk the last 10 miles to the finish. On his arrival back home he was in so much pain that he had to consult a Sports Physician, who didnâ€™t find any injuries to the muscles in his leg. He was referred to a Neurosurgeon, as a back problem was suspected. After an MRI scan, the doctor found a Grade 1 Spondylolisthesis on the last two lumbar vertebrae, with slight nerve pressure. This was bad news for him. The recommendation from the specialist was that he should stop running competitively and that a spinal fusion would be a likely option to reduce the pain. Johan was very despondent, as running was his life. I saw Johan a couple of weeks later on his bicycle (not running). He explained the diagnosis and that his days as an elite athlete were over. I recommended he come to my rooms so that we could review his scans and see if there was another option available. The images of his spine showed a degenerative/isthmic Grade 1 Spondylolisthesis that was stable. The slippage seemed to have been present for a while. I suggested that he follow a spinal rehabilitation programme and chiropractic treatment over the next few months. His recovery would show if he would be able to run again and he was very keen to try to revive his running career.
Treatment programme Johan attended twice-weekly treatments at my practice. Being the disciplined athlete he is, he never missed a rehab, treatment or training session over the next few months. The treatment consisted of soft tissue therapy followed by different modalities including ultra sound, interferential current and acupuncture. Biomechanical assessments were done during every session, followed by manipulation
and mobilisations to most joints (toes to neck). Johan was also given a home-strengthening programme for his spine and core muscles. The treatment was initially aimed at reducing the inflammation and pain, after which the movement of the spine and surrounding joints were improved. When full and pain free movement was achieved, a gradually increasing strength and endurance training programme was introduced. He adapted his training methods to put less stress on his spine and after approximately six weeks, he was able to run short distances without any pain. Six months later, Johan was back to his normal training routine of between 120km and 150km per week. Johan started running trails in preparation for next year’s Comrades marathon, enjoying it more and more. He then entered the ultimate trail running challenge for him and his spine, the Swiss Alpine 78km Ultra Marathon race. This is the world’s biggest ultra marathon with 5,000 competitors running at 2,800 metres above sea level in the Swiss Alps. Johan and his training partner, Shaun Henry, started the race without knowing what they were letting themselves in for. The race was very technical, and despite sustaining bruises and bleeding after an almost fatal fall, Johan finished fourth. This is an amazing result for a first-time entrant and a man whose running career was almost over 12 months earlier! Shaun, another recipient of regular chiropractic treatment, finished thirtieth and second in the veterans. According to Johan, “I realised the true benefit of regular chiropractic treatment only after my injury. I feel a stronger and more balanced athlete than ever before.” Johan is heading back to the JFK 50 Mile ultra marathon in November to complete ‘unfinished business’, and then it’s all focus on the 2011 Comrades. Your spine is irreplaceable! With regular care and assessment by a chiropractor, you can prevent serious problems and improve your function and performance. •
Johan back on the trail again in full stride
by Samuel Sithole DO IT NOW | inSHAPE: Words Photos by DO IT NOW
The festive season can be a time of over indulgence; turkey, gammon, mince pies, Christmas cake and the list of treats goes on and on. The following exercises will help you to burn away those extra calories that you just canâ€™t say no to.
1: Skipping Rope Position Stand on a flat surface with your skipping rope and make sure you have enough space around and above you to move freely.
Movement Skip by jumping up while moving the skipping rope past the bottom of your feet and as you go down to land, the rope goes up and over your head. Sets: Skip 30 seconds as fast as you can and rest for 30 seconds. Reps: 4 times for 5 minutes. Muscles trained Target: Full body workout. Dynamic stabilizers: Ankle (gastrocnemius and soleus), knee (quadriceps femoris and hamstrings), buttocks and upper legs (gluteus maximus, adductors, gracilis and pectineus). Advanced: You can advance this exercise by either upping the time to one minute per set or jumping on one leg at a time.
2: Jump Squat Position Stand with your feet slightly apart on a flat surface and your arms next to your sides. Make sure your stomach muscles are tight to activate your core and ensure better balance. Movement Bend your knees slightly and then jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately go down into a squatting position. This is one repetition. The next repetition starts from this squat position. Be careful not to go down to low to avoid injuries. Reps: 25 Sets: 3 Muscles trained Target: Quadriceps and hamstrings. Dynamic stabilisers: Upper legs (quadriceps and hamstrings), hips (hip adductors), lower back (erector spinae) and lower leg (tibialis).
86 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
3: Jump Lunge
Position Stand with your feet spread slightly apart on a flat surface. Movement Step forward with your right foot into a lunge position, keep your balance and then jump upwards while switching your legs. Land back in a lunge position, but this time with your left leg in front. This is one repetition. In the lunge position, make sure that your front knee does not go over your front foot and remember to keep your legs at a 90° angle as much as possible. Use your arms as momentum to power up into the jumps. Reps: 25 Sets: 3 Muscles trained Target: Quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Dynamic stabilisers: Lower leg (tibialis anterior), upper leg and buttocks (gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, quadratus lumborum and obliques).
4: Walking Push Ups Position Get into a push up position with your hands aligned under your shoulders and step onto your toes. Make sure there is space to your left and right sides. Movement Lower your chest towards the ground while keeping your elbows pulled in tight to your body, then press up. Once in the ‘up’ position, move your left leg and arm inwards towards to your right leg and arm, as if walking sideways. Then move your right leg and arm outwards, away from the left leg and arm. This is one repetition. Reps: 10 (push ups including the side steps) Sets: 3 Muscles trained Target: Shoulders (scapula and clavicle) and upper legs (quadriceps and hamstrings). Dynamic stabilisers: Knee extension and spine rotation.
5: Weight Crunches Position Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Hold a weight in each hand close to the centre of your chest.
Movement From the starting position, lift your torso (upper body holding the weights) upwards towards your knees, while squeezing your stomach muscles tight and crunch up. Hold this position for one count then lower your torso back to the starting position. This is one repetition. Reps: 30 Sets: 3
Muscles trained Target: Stomach (rectus abdominis). Dynamic stabilisers: Chest (pectoralis major, sternal and pectoralis minor) and shoulders (clavicular).
Sport >> 87
// [in THE HOLE] 20 Questions with Arnold Geerdts • Grip it to Rip it! • 40 Year-Old Rookie - Stuff to Keep You in the Swing of Things // [inNATURE] Pursuing Moments of Perfection • Leopard Tracking in the Cederberg // [inTRANSIT] Open Spaces and Little Places • Hwange National Park via Hunters Road • The Expense of Southern Africa’s Shoestrings // [inCREDIBLE PLACES] Ibo Island Dreaming - Sea Kayaking the Quirimbas • Borneo: Sipadan – a Divine Paradise // [inDULGE] Islay – the Home of Big, Peaty Malts • Bubbles, Glorious Bubbles // [inSURE] Life Assurance // [inTERTAINMENT] Music, Movie and Gaming Reviews // [inFOCUS] SHOOT! The Southern Storm // [inSPIRATION] When Quitting is Not an Option // [inVOLVED] Planning is for People who don’t know what they’re doing! • Do It Day – Dressing of the Princess
Photo by Erik Vermeulen Description: Capturing a Moment in Time
by Michael Scholz DO IT NOW | in THE HOLE: Interview Photos by Catherine Kotze/SASPA
90 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
You have been doing radio and TV commentary for years! How long has it been and what was your first gig? I have been at it for 26 years and the first job I had was as a race announcer, as an 18 year old. But I auditioned for my long-term career in the army - I was a signaller and learnt to ‘broadcast’ under pressure to a certain degree.
2) In this lifetime of time behind the mike, you must have had numerous tongue slips, bad hair days and near death experiences with sporting icons? Tell us about two of your most memorable incidences? Well there have been many, but most notable for me was when I had been at SuperSport for about nine months and was sent to cover the first South African cricket tour to Australia after isolation. After a particularly long day, I said: “And now back to the Tops … aahhh SuperSport studio!” I had been with Topsport for seven years after all! Another clanger was with the head of a South African sport, who came into the studio for a live interview on SuperSport AM. When I asked him the first question, his eyes tilted and he said: “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” So I asked the same question in a different way and he then just got completely stuck. Could not say a word. The moment was too big! I don’t know which one of us was more embarrassed. 3)
Is there any sport that you haven’t covered? No not really. I’ve done everything from ten pin bowling, to women’s darts, to the mainstream. It’s been a joy. I do something that most people would give their eyeteeth to do. It is something I have a passion for, which I live, eat, breathe and sleep. What is the strangest event or sporting practice that you have covered? Gee tough one, but I have been a Master of Ceremonies where there were horse races and people spun large dice and raced each other on a grid for charity. That was off the wall. I’ve almost had my clothes torn off by a raucous bunch of women at a girl’s night in Boksburg when the Chippendales performed. There have also been times when I could hear absolutely nothing in my ear piece, yet went live on air … ah, the joys of job!
Have you ever had to ‘go to an advert break’ to catch your thoughts or shake your head in disbelief in a sporting moment? Well no, it doesn’t quite work like that. The breaks are planned in advance and have to go out at certain agreed and specified times, so there isn’t even a question of using them as escape hatches. If there is a problem on air then you have to handle it. Whether it’s your thoughts or a technical hitch. However, a moment that did leave me stunned and speechless was when my wife Lily proposed to me live on air. She was in cahoots with Niel Andrews and the Super Saturday team and they all knew about it, while yours truly had no idea. They hauled me in and then Lily stepped in, and dropped her bombshell. I was very pleased to say yes though. She is a stunner!
Have you ever been threatened with your life by any sporting icon or perhaps a fanatical sports fan after offering constructive criticism or passing an honest comment? Yes. Balie Swart once threatened to break the part of me that keeps my back attached to my head after he had shown Andre Watson that red card on the field. Naas Botha and I both had a full go at Balie and so help me if I don’t MC a Lions bash that Tuesday. He glared at me and I must say Balie’s glare could make a flower wilt. So he had me scared there for a while. Former referee Tappe Henning also promised to change my facial features once, but we got over that. One must remember that people are passionately in love with their sport and will do just about anything in the heat of the moment!
You have been pegged as one of South Africa’s all-time television hunks and were recently approached by one of the world’s leading cosmetic houses to be their ‘Face of the Man’. Have you had any hair implants, botox treatments, tummy tucks or cosmetic surgery to uphold and enhance your dapper appearance? No not yet. But if it had to be done I may consider it. Had you asked me this ten years ago, I would vehemently have said no. But I now realise that I trade and earn a living on my appearance (I did not say face!) and as such I have to take care of what I look like, but I certainly don’t pfaff about my hair or any other body part!
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 91
You are an avid marathon runner and it has been said that you should have won 16 Comrades marathon titles had you not been contracted to do studio commentary work for the event. Does Bruce Fordyce pay you royalties based on his success from you not being in the field? Well to be honest, NO. But it would have been nice if Fordyce had realised that I was just soft on him. I mean, I did after all gift him nine wins! Nah. Not in my wildest dreams could I ever have got a Comrades win. Squeaked a gold? Perhaps. With the wind from behind and deep heat on my butt! Perhaps? How many Comrades and Two Oceans have you run? I’ve run nine Comrades and five Two Oceans. I have completed 140 marathons with a personal best of 2 hours and 29 minutes, and in May next year I will have clocked 150,000 km.
10) We’re sure that you have ventured abroad and competed in a few of the more prominent city marathons on the world stage. Which have you competed in and how many have you done? I’ve actually run the odd race overseas but never notched up one of the biggies. I do however plan to run Boston before the old leggings give in completely. 11) We saw footage of a Russian runner scooping poop out of his shorts whilst on the move in a marathon. Any moments like this that you choose to erase from your memory banks? No, but it’s been close. However, I am the master exponent of peeing on the run. It’s a complicated maneuver with all hands on deck and a squirting action that goes with it. Saved me the 90 seconds I needed this year at Comrades to get a silver medal! See, it works. 12) You are also an avid golfer. Handicap, best round and favorite golf course? Current handicap is 12. I’ve been down to a two when I could practice a lot. I long for those days. My best round is a 69 at Roodepoort CC and the same at Randpark. A 74 off the back at Gary Player CC I guess would be the best of the whole lot! Favorite course is tough, there are so many great courses to choose from. Top three in no specific order: GPCC, Pecanwood and Humewood. 13) Who is the most famous person you have ever played golf with? Gary Bailey. Cause he said so! 14) Describe the worst golf shot you have ever played? The worst shot I have ever played is still coming. The
frightening thing about it is I don’t know where and I don’t know when. But I do know that it is coming! 15) Have you ever taken money off a famous golfer through your golfing prowess? If yes, who, which event/course and how much did you take? Gary Bailey. Because I am a much better golfer than him (that doesn’t exactly say much!) and I think it was the princely sum of R20! He said it was some of the money Man United had paid him, so that made it ok. 16) In your previous life you lived under the pseudonym ‘Martin Locke’. Why did you change it to Arnold Geerdts? Well I believe that it sounds sexier, is sexier, and that I would earn a lot more money. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad! 17) You recently got your butt whipped by 17-year-old Brandon Stone, who also beat all the pros in the field at the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf Final at Oubaai, who shot 61! Was this the best round of golf you’ve ever witnessed? Up close, yes. I have been privileged to see some of the world’s best in action between the ropes, but young Brandon certainly has what it takes. He has a great swing, can find an extra 20 yards if he wants to, chip, putt and to top it all he is a great kid. The golfing world is his oyster! 18) On that topic, any other South African youngsters in any other sports that you would single out as potential world beaters? I saw a young winger from the Cape in action at the St Johns Easter Rugby Festival, who I think we will hear from again. Then there’s a guy called Gary Bailey … oh, sorry, just remembered that he’s a has-been. Although he is always quick to remind me that I am a never-been! 19) You are nearing the ‘senior’s’ mark and there are rumors that you will be wielding a golf club on the USPGA Champions Tour in the next couple of years. Would you like to offer a few words of warning to the pros out there ahead of your professional golfing debut? Yes. Please don’t kill yourself laughing when you read this. I must say that it sounds great, but these days they four-spot on tour so what would I have to shoot to get in? The rest of the field I figure! 20) Lastly, who would be your ideal partners to make up your four ball and why? I would love to be able to tee it up with Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ and Gary Player. That would sort out all the world’s problems and mine too. I would learn patience from Madiba, love from Jesus and a better swing from Gary. God Bless! •
DO IT NOW | in THE HOLE:
Words & Photos by Darren Witter
Grip it to Rip it! In this issue I will focus on the most important aspect of golf, namely the grip. Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game, said: “Good golf begins with a good grip.” He believed and taught that a fundamentally correct grip allows the hands to work as a unit on the golf club, so important for consistent shot making. Hogan felt that golfers downplayed the value of a sound grip in terms of its contribution to speed, consistency and control of the club head through impact.
The only contact we have with the club is through our grip. So by placing your hands on the club correctly, it allows the club to be swung freely and the clubface to arrive back at the ball, squarely to the target. For a beginner golfer learning to grip the club for the first time, you may feel that you don’t have enough of a power hold on the club. This is the correct feeling. If you feel that you have strong control over the handle (grip of the club), you may well have your hands incorrectly placed on the club. So here’s how to achieve the perfect grip. Place the handle of the club in your left hand so that the grip of the club lies across the fingers, with the end of the club fitting under the meaty pad. Closing your hand around the club, with the left thumb placed slightly to the left of the club’s centre line, you will see the two knuckles of your left hand as you look down, which also creates a V between the thumb and forefinger that points to your right ear. With the right hand, the handle of the club is placed mainly across the finger’s middle knuckle joints. Now place the little finger of the right hand over and between the left forefinger of the second finger, and place the handle of the club mainly through the fingers of the right hand. Fold the right hand over and onto the left hand, making sure that the valley made between the right thumb pad and the pad on the back of the right hand folds over the left thumb. Complete the grip by placing the right thumb on the left quarter of the club and move the right forefinger away from the trigger finger. •
If you have any queries or would like to book a golf-changing lesson, please contact our new contributing golf instructor, Darren Witter at The Martin Whitcher Pro Shop via email on email@example.com. Randpark Golf Club and Martin Whitcher Golf Schools, “The professional’s professionals.”
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 93
DO IT NOW | in THE HOLE:
Words by Michael Scholz Photos courtesy of the 40 Year-Old Rookie
When playing on the Sunshine Tour, travel is extensive and so it’s important to have the best accommodation available. A lean-to in the bushes on the right of the 1st tee just won’t suffice. The 40 Year-Old Rookie chooses Southern Sun hotels, who's rates are superb, rooms big enough to practice chipping and putting (sorry for the divots!) and the beds are more comfortable than your own at home.
If you like to drive, as does the 40 Year-Old Rookie, you will love the Sunshine Tour! East, west, north and south, then north, south, west, then … a reliable car is vital and a dash of speed is also helpful when trying to outrun the Metro! My faithful old ‘Beemer’ does the trick nicely.
This clever piece of plastic will help you make more putts. If it doesn’t, you have a styling new yellow doorstopper!
94 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Being a typical male, asking for directions is way below me! With that, what could be better than having a sexy female voice instruct you (correctly) as to where to turn and where the Metro’s streetside photo studios are? The TomTom even lets you get directions from Darren Scott or DJ Fresh!
When you get to 40, you need as much sustenance as is possible without developing breast milk or having to undergo a gender test. This little blue pill … I mean pink pill will sort you out. The blue pill will sort her out!
Curb your overswing with this simple gadget. It will optimise the position at the top of your backswing. If not, at least you will look like a pro trying to do so.
So many leading sports personalities can’t be wrong! This holographic technology will help you optimise your performance. There are loads of generics that are better suited as hair bands, golf towel loops or to keep your wood cover on your driver.
There’s nothing worse than packing for fair weather and then spending four days playing in *rain, wind and subzero temperatures. Log onto www.golfweather.co.za and get an accurate seven-day forecast at the golf club you will be destroying, or you can feign an injury if the weather is forecast to be kak!
Do as some of the top European tour players do … perfect your stroke in your hotel room, henhouse, outhouse or anywhere for that matter. The Zenio Putting System does everything a SAM Putting Lab does, except that it weighs 56 grammes and fits in your pocket. Simply clip it onto your putter, switch it on and the system’s ‘bluetooth’ data is sent to your phone or laptop about how fantastically great your putting stroke is! Nice!
This broadcast-quality, high-definition camera is a pro golfer’s lifesaver for video swing analysis and taking video footage of tournament courses, as well as filming a few bikini-clad lasses on the beach. The Flipcam plugs directly into your USB (I still don’t know what that stands for) port and voila … Sheila’s on your laptop!
Sharing my life’s thoughts, information and general drivel with you, my good people, is important to the 40 Year-Old Rookie! Become a fan of the 40 Year-Old Rookie on Facebook and share in the madness!
With loads of phone options available, I chose a Sony Ericsson Xperia phone as it has Windows Mobile for my Zenio Putting System, and enough features to threaten NASA’s space shuttle launch procedures. It can also make phone calls and receive SMSes!
The laptop has become the 15th club in the pro golfer’s bag to access email and get onto that vital communication channel, Facebook. When shopping for a laptop I kept it simple, reliable and cost efficient, and went with a Dell notebook. With awesome DVD and music features, this keeps me out of trouble and in my hotel room.
Listen to some soothing tunes when you practice and nobody will distract you when you have the ‘phones’ on. Even when you run out of power you can avoid the discussion about how many earthworms get killed annually from skied drives, taking place behind you at the range.
A nifty gadget developed by coach Martin du Toit that stops you from swaying like Anne Heche between men and women. Bolt yourself onto mother earth and see if you can move our good planet? You will lose this one and your knees will stay steady!
Great for hotel room golf. Hole 1 - over the bed, through the bathroom door and into the dustbin placed on the basin. Three carpet divots and one ceiling fan are the victims so far!
These reflective plastic sticks will keep your alignment in check. All pro golfers have these in their bags, so do as they do even if you don’t use them. They also deliver a fair welt when swung at speed onto the derriere of your better ball partner when he misses a short putt!
* You have to question the Scots for inventing golf in weather like this?
On a cold winter’s morning (or on a summer’s day in Scotland), keep your hands warm and avoid your teeth from shattering with every thinned shot you hit.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 95
DO IT NOW | inNATURE:
Words by Alan Hobson Photos courtesy of Angler & Antelope Guesthouse
96 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
It provides the tools to examine your character whilst pursuing moments of perfection. It’s like a personal CSI investigation that combines the constantly changing clues offered by nature with your character traits, so that you can reflect on them. Fly fishing is many things, but one thing it is not about is just standing on the edge of a stretch of water going through the motions of trying to fling a fly that weighs almost nothing and hook that fish of your dreams. Regrettably it is not instant gratification and hence does not necessarily appeal to everybody. In life we constantly strive to improve as individuals and fly fishing offers us the opportunity to do just that. Let me explain. The art of fly fishing requires that you master many skills. For the men reading this article it doesn’t necessarily mean multi tasking, but rather that you execute each element competently. Fly fishing is a personal challenge as we attempt to outwit our opponent. In the case of our fishy foe, this means eliminating one of its strongest attributes for survival, the sense of smell. We generally use flies made from fur and feathers that hardly smell to fool the fish. It is also an active sport where your success depends on your ability to make things make. If you consider that Salmon in Canada for example, breed naturally in the rivers, swim out thousands of
kilometres to sea to grow into those monster fish people travel the world to catch, and then come back to that exact same spot where they were born to spawn purely through their sense of smell, one can appreciate the challenge. Add to this the fact that flies weigh next to nothing and should be presented as naturally as possible to the fish cruising by, and the challenge becomes even more difficult. Understanding the principals of physics to use your rod to transfer energy to the line and propel the fly, and acquiring the perfect timing to achieve this successfully, is an art in itself. This is where your personality is tested. The frustration with yourself at not being able to achieve the hand to eye coordination and sense of timing to keep your fly out of the bush behind you or whipping the water to a foam in front of you that will send any fish in the area skeltering for cover. It requires tenacity, an understanding of your own capabilities, your willingness to adapt and learn and an avenue for success through feeling the presentation. The precision of presenting the fly on the proverbial tickey, taking into consideration the wind, vegetation and fact that your line must be in the air for the shortest time possible at a moment’s notice, at any given distance and direction where a fish has just moved, is a skill that requires hours of practice. But once mastered, will boost your self-confidence tremendously.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 97
The life cycle of an insect generally transforms within twentyfour hours to twelve months. It progresses from an egg, which has been laid by an adult and is attached to a structure under the water, to a crawling nymph, a swimming nymph and then an emerging nymph where it starts to develop wings and legs just below the water’s surface or in the meniscus, before hatching into an adult, mating and starting the cycle all over again. Although man has landed on the moon, we have yet to discover nature’s trigger that causes insects to hatch. At each stage of its life cycle, the insect is vulnerable to fish. It is these hatches that induce certain behavioural patterns in the fish. Find the food and you’ll find the fish!
Owning one of the many off-road vehicles that promise a lifestyle of taking you to the ends of the earth on the road less travelled is definitely an advantage. However, it is the areas where the fish live that transport you to the outdoor corridor of nature’s bounty. This is exactly where one can break free from the exoskeleton of everyday life. When one looks at a stretch of water, where do you start fishing and with what fly? Well, the way a fish feeds will tell you what insect the fish is eating and at what stage of its life cycle it is in. This knowledge will help you to select the most appropriate fly, in other words match the hatch and you will increase your chances of being consistently successful. Whilst many people say that catching a fish is not that important but rather a bonus as you are always in magnificent surroundings, this is true. However, catching fish consistently is very gratifying. By becoming totally absorbed in the immediate environment and observing insect behaviour both in and out of the water, you arm yourself with ammunition
98 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
to strategise the fish’s demise. If you aspire to become a more knowledgeable entomologist by slowing yourself down to the pace of the bugs and seducing your soul into feeling your surroundings, your physiology pulsing to the beat of Mother Nature, you do walk away rejuvenated. The dynamics of the environment are constantly changing, so to succeed you too need to change your fishing tactics. By understanding what to do, elevates your fishing to the next level. This in turn determines your strategy as to whether you are going to fish a floating line, at what depth should your fly be and what shape, size and colour it should be? How does the insect move? Can you piece together the evidence before you to solve the mystery? This is what makes you think and stimulates such a fascinating challenge around fly fishing; the dynamics of the environment surrounding you, the flowers and plants, the beauty of the water reflecting your mood, the setting sun and the sound of
the birds coming to roost. Whilst you connect your soul with Mother Nature you notice mosquitoes hovering closer now that they have picked up your scent, so you tie on a suspender buzzer. It’s as if you’ve turned nature’s key as a fish breaks the mirror reflection of the mauve water as it porpoises at one o’ clock, just 10 metres in front of you. Calmly, you pick up your line, majestically moving it through the air, stopping your rod it straightens with purpose, presenting your buzzer gently.The fish hears the fly land, turns and devours your offering. Piecing together nature’s clues, choosing the correct fly, which is even more rewarding if you have tied the fly yourself, casting and presenting the fly precisely on the spot, the fish fooled into taking your fly, THAT is a moment of perfection! That is why we fly fish. The more you fish, the more frequently you achieve those moments of perfection and the more addicted you become as the sense of achievement in the success of that moment is enormously satisfying. •
DO IT NOW | inNATURE:
Words & photos by Jurgen Vogt www.swissphotography.co.za
etting a cam
trap Driv e ou
100 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
“We need to lie very still behind these rocks. Try and get comfortable as we might be here for a while and whatever you do, don’t make any noise. Try not to move around and only talk in whispers,” whispered Quinton.
Quinton, Elizabeth and I got comfortable in amongst the jagged red and brown sandstone rocks on a high ridge in the Cape’s Cederberg Mountains. We are on the trail of a seldom seen animal, the highly specialised and incredibly elusive Cape Mountain Leopard. Locals and visitors to the area have long been aware that there are leopards in the Cederberg Mountains, but due to their lack of visibility very little was known about these magnificent cats until Quinton Martins began to study them. Quinton is the Project Manager and one of the principal researchers at the Cape Leopard Trust. The Trust has been working on several research projects involving leopards in the Cape and elsewhere in South Africa, including a comprehensive conservation genetics project to estimate gene flow, genetic variability and genetic relatedness among South African leopard populations. A key aim of this study is to determine whether the leopards of the Western Cape region should be considered a unique genetic unit – a group of small leopards only weighing up to half of that of their northern cousins. Quinton and Elizabeth Martins live a life that most of us only dream about. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this married couple stays in a refurbished farmhouse that has stood in the heart of the Cederberg for 150 years. I love the fact that they have no cellphone reception here - remember those days? Their lives are wholeheartedly dedicated to their work and passions. Elizabeth, who coordinates the Cape Leopard Trust’s Education and Outreach Programme, passionately explains that this is a very exciting programme with endless possibilities. “It is primarily aimed at children and providing them with quality experiences
that teach them more about the wilderness and themselves. The Cape Leopard Trust runs these camps with a variety of themes. Depending on the nature of the group, different themes are explored including biodiversity, leopard biology, animal tracking, geology, rock art, astronomy and survival skills. For the older children, we look at current issues such as human/wildlife conflict, the role of tourism in conservation and the value of research. All camps have an underlying goal and that is for young people to develop an understanding of and a connection with the wilderness. We use a combination of adventure, art and science to this end.” Quinton is in the final stages of writing his PhD through the University of Bristol (U.K.), on the subject: The ecology of the leopard in the Cederberg Mountains. “Twelve leopards in the Cederberg have been collared with GPS transmitters, which have uncovered some remarkable information on home range and activity patterns,” explains Quinton. “A leopard population density study using camera traps has also revealed further valuable information on these elusive predators.” Our objective for the day was to visit a few of the camera traps and see what images they had captured. “There is also a very slight possibility that we might get quite close to one of the collared leopards,” explained Quinton. As an ex-game ranger, this possibility certainly appealed to me. “We’ll use a combination of VHF radio tracking, as well as the functions of the GPS radio collar to see if we can locate Spot,” says Quinton, giving me the technical lowdown. “If Spot is close to the area that we are in, we can also try to get additional GPS downloads to determine her exact location,” he adds. This all sounds pretty easy to me thinking back to my game ranging days when we tracked leopards by their prints alone.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 101
Female leopard leaping up cliff face
Following signs of a leopard
Stadsaal rock formations
ack opard tr
At this point Quonton should have added that these cats are magicians too. They can simply vanish before your eyes amongst the myriad of rocks in the blink of an eye. In fact, you can find yourself within a few metres of one and not see it. Spot, the leopard, has secured a very special place in Quinton and Elizabeth’s hearts. Spot is the first Cape Mountain Leopard to have its denning behavior monitored since her two cubs were just a week old. Presently it is unknown if the second cub has survived. “We are monitoring her movements really closely,” explains Quinton, “as we would really like to try and get video footage of the cub, but without impacting on her or her mother. So we will have to try and shoot footage from a long distance, which is never easy when you are constantly on the move.” As we were driving down a rocky road towards the end of a beautiful barren valley, the radio monitoring Spot’s VHF signal suddenly beeped into life. “She is somewhere up on the slope of the valley on our right,” said an excited Elizabeth. “We’ll try and get a GPS download at midday to get a better fix on her location. We have no chance of seeing her if we start following her trail from behind. What we need to do is to determine her path and try to get
102 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
above and ahead of her so that she hopefully walks past us without knowing we are there,” says a cool and calm Quinton with a grin. I’m ready to jump out the window with my binocs and start looking now, but decide to bow to his superior knowledge. Arriving at the first camera trap, the first thing we do is check for tracks in the soft gravely sand. Excitedly we noticed Cape Fox as well as leopard tracks. We removed the memory card from the camera trap and inserted it into a digital camera to see what the camera had captured. First image – Cape Fox; second image – male leopard. WOW, this is fantastic. A short drive on roads only made for a Land Cruiser, which was kindly sponsored by Leopards Leap Wines, and an exhausting onehour hike later brought us to the second camera trap. This one sits above a cliff face high on a mountain slope. Elizabeth explains that they would never have guessed that this was a well used animal path without the help of the GPS tracking collars. All the location points are downloaded onto maps of the area and show the routes the cats most often use. I peered eagerly over Quinton’s shoulder as he starts to view the images. This camera has captured an amazing variety of animals including Klipspringer, Cape Fox, Honey Badger (all the way up here?) and once again a male leopard. This is a different male leopard to the previous camera trap and only about five kilometres away. Territorially, things might be hotting up in leopard land. “While we are so high, why don’t we get a GPS location on Spot,” suggests Elizabeth. A few minutes later we await the outcome on the laptop screen. “She’s close. Quite low down on the slope on the opposite side of the valley,” exclaims Quinton. “It’s time to go leopard tracking,” I add happily.
A Cederberg view
I stare at the beautiful, desolate rocky tops of the peaks surrounding our hiding place in anticipation. What an incredible location to find so much life, I think to myself. We’ve been in hiding for over an hour, waiting patiently for the leopard to make her way past us. My camera is ready and my finger twitching in the hope of getting my first glimpse and image of a Cape Mountain Leopard, but there is still no sign of movement other than the wind and persistent alarm calls of the dassies that can obviously see what we can’t. Into our second hour, Quinton decides to get another GPS location on her. Spot has remained about 420m away from our position, just out of sight behind a rocky outcrop. There is no use going after her so we decide to wait a while longer. By this point our water has run out and I’m beginning to realise how hot this winter day has become as we bake on the dark rock with no shade to crawl under. Once again I am amazed at how harsh this environment is and can’t imagine how tough the conditions must be in summer. Quinton explains that they monitor the leopards at all times of the year, even through the hottest months. These are seriously tough and dedicated people.
d Liz o
next to Quinton’s trusty Land Cruiser and how good that water is going to taste. My day dreaming is shattered when Elizabeth exclaims, “There she is!” I turn around at first stunned and then spurred into action. My eyes are frantically sweeping the slopes above us for a glimpse. In the fast fading light, I see the surreal form of this small amazing cat as she leaps up the cliff face above us. She is too quick for me to shoot an image, but fortunately Quinton manages to capture a few images before she vanishes into the rocky ridge. As suddenly as Spot was there, she is gone and the valley returns to its peaceful, silent state. With our adrenalin rush starting to subside, we inspect the remains of a dassie that she had been feeding on. A few quick images and measurements and we head back to the Land Cruiser. We know she will return to her kill once we are gone as nothing gets wasted out here. Walking back in silence, no words are necessary. Quinton and Elizabeth share one loving look and smile at each other, and as for me, I can’t keep the grin off my face. “One fleeting glimpse makes all our work worthwhile,” says Quinton. How right he is!
An hour later, the sun starts to set and our chances of seeing her are dwindling along with the source of our heat. We decide to hike out via the last location we had of her, having concluded that she must have made a kill to have kept her stationary for so long. Part of Quinton’s study is also to see what kills Spot is making and gather data on the prey.
As I ponder on the details of this incredible day, I keep coming back to the thought that the best experiences in life really have to be hard to achieve, to be fully appreciated. I think how privileged I am to have had a fleeting glimpse of this special leopard and I hope that one day everyone will truly appreciate the work of this small group of dedicated conservationists.
We walk slowly and alertly towards Spot’s last known location of a few hours ago and all is absolutely still. Even the dassies seem to have lost interest in this direction. I lower my camera and start to think of the cold, clear, sweet river flowing further down in the valley
I know that whenever I take my first sip of a Leopards Leap wine, my thoughts will always return to the beautiful and elusive Cape Mountain Leopard who lives her silent, solitary existence in the majestic Cederberg Mountains! •
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 103
DO IT NOW | inTRANSIT:
Words by Jaco van der Westhuizen Photos by various photographers
“Harde klein blikskottels,” is what I remember one of the local farmers saying about the visiting boys, as we stood on the sidelines watching our local U19A rugby side take on the visiting Philippolis U19A rugby team. This was back in the mid ‘70s, and at that time my dad was the reigning School Master in Keimoes, a small town on the banks of the Orange River and where I grew up. This was my first contact with Philippolis and when I think of the people who lived there, I remember how in awe I had been that day. As a six or seven year old, seeing these huge boys - for me - with their thick, hairy legs rumble down the ‘tunnel’ to the rugby field in their rugby togs, I can also remember thinking that this is a place where boys are men. My first actual visit to Philippolis came some 35-odd-years later, when my wife convinced me to go on a road trip with her to the south western Free State. That trip took me back to my childhood in Keimoes; to a time of carefree wonder, camping
104 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
with my friends and long dusty roads on a dikwiel Challenger. But above all, it showed me a world where the roads are still safe, the people really friendly, accommodation very affordable and where the innocence of my childhood could still be heard running down the dusty streets with a troop of friends in tow. Only much later, once back in Johannesburg, did I realise that I had fallen for the south western Free State; fallen big time! I had found a place where the opportunity to have a great time cycling and mountain biking abounded; a place that should really be on every cyclist’s mind if he or she considers a weekend getaway; a place with wide open spaces, relatively good roads, very little traffic and breathtaking natural beauty; a place where one visit will make a visitor look for a reason to stay, a reason to ‘sell up shop’ and relocate; a place most
visitors could quite easily consider calling HOME one day, and a place slap bang in the middle of our wonderful country! This place is the area that embraces the towns of Gariep, Philippolis, Trompsburg, Fauresmith and Vanderkloof. For all cyclists and mountain bikers, there are good distances on both tar and gravel to make a trip to these parts a challenging, though rewarding adventure. Starting at the village of Gariep, on the shore of South Africa’s largest man-made lake, a combination of tar and gravel will take riders for approximately 50km via Donkerpoort and Waterkloof to Philippolis, the birth place of Sir Laurens van der Post. This is a town just waiting to be the next Clarens, Parys or Riebeeck-Kasteel. Accommodation in Philippolis represents truly great value for money and with a great variety to choose from, this town is ideally located to be a base for cycling and MTB excursions in and around the town. There are also interesting tourist attractions to visit, like the Old Jail, one of only two habitable jails in South Africa that is used as B&B accommodation for Joe Public, and a place for a family adventure that will remain a talking point for decades. Then there’s John Varty’s Tiger Sanctuary at Tiger Canyons, but be sure to book in advance for an opportunity to see a unique and world class conservation effort first hand.
From Fauresmith, there is 56km of gravel to Luckhoff, and then another 35km on gravel and tar to Vanderkloof, the village above another of South Africa’s large man-made lakes, the Vanderkloof Dam, previously PK Le Roux. Roadies can tackle a route of around 137km to Vanderkloof from Fauresmith, via Koffiefontein and Luckhoff on good, wide tar roads with very little traffic. This allows riders and their families or support teams the opportunity to drive in support, whilst enjoying
If the gravel roads and hills around Philippolis do not prove enough of a challenge, the choice between 61km of gravel to Fauresmith or 111km by tar via Trompsburg and Jagersfontein, offers mountain bikers and roadies a good day’s riding, either there and back to Philippolis, or onwards to Fauresmith.
For more details on tourist attractions in Philippolis, contact Kim Mann of the Philippolis Tourism Committee on 051 773 0018 / 071 605 9689 or Ingmar Maree of the Renosterberg Tourism Forum at firstname.lastname@example.org. For details on Vanderkloof and its surrounds, contact Ighmar Maree. If you require the assistance of a specialist tour operator, feel free to contact Marius or Lorraine Malherbe of FLYING SOUTH at email@example.com for a custom-made holiday in these parts. Old Jail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) John Varty’s Tiger Sanctuary at Tiger Canyons (www.jvbigcats.co.za)
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 105
Philippolis Old Jail
one of the most beautiful parts of our land. The municipal camping site in Vanderkloof shows the signs of severe neglect that so many municipal camping sites suffer nowadays, but good accommodation is available in the Vanderkloof village. You are invited to get to know this world of wide open spaces and intriguing little places, its people and the many opportunities that exist to fertilise one’s soul here ... So come on Mr. City Man, get out of that starched white shirt with a powder blue collar, red buttons and pretentious cuff links, and load the bike, your missus and the kids and get some sun on your face and song in your heart! If you have ever thought you needed a break but weren’t sure where to go ... the incredible south western Free State is there and waiting for you! And remember the cyclist’s code, “Leave nothing but tracks in the sand.” But do take your ideas, passion and businesssavvy spirit, and help establish this area as the cyclists’ haven it really can be. Graham Green of ‘The Quiet American’ fame once wrote, “Man needs a challenge, like he needs a meal or a good night’s sleep.” This summer make the south western Free State the destination to challenge you and your bike! •
106 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Entrance to the Philippolis Old Jail
Beautiful Victorian Jac Library Building. Phoobson to by Jens Friis
DO IT NOW | inTRANSIT: Words & photos by Xen & Adri Ludick
Usually travelling on our own, we always make sure that we are well-equipped and have a satellite phone with us for any unforeseen situations. My husband, who would give MacGyver a good run for his money, has an amazing ability to fix just about anything with some ‘borrowed steel’ from elsewhere on the vehicle and hey presto, we’re off again. Needless to say, a vital item in our toolkit is binding wire. Our first foray into the unknown was in July 2006 when we were travelling from Nkojane to Ngwatle on our way to KAA in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana. I had read about Botswana’s deepest borehole, the result of an unsuccessful search for oil, and the ‘blue’ grass, both of which I really wanted to see. The GPS took us on a road that had not been used for many years and in some places was non-existent. Whilst we were unable to find the borehole, ‘Old Faithful’, as I like to call our Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series, was the recipient of a few extra tattoos, bumps and scrapes, which added to its character on this exploratory journey. More recently, we decided to take to the road again earlier this year and visit Hwange National Park, previously Wankie and the largest national park in Zimbabwe. About 40km after Nata, on the road to Kazangula, we opted to take Hunters Road, which is on
108 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
the border between Zimbabwe and Botswana. We had only driven about 15km when we came across a no entry sign. After being given permission from a game ranger to continue on this road, our initial frustration turned to excitement in anticipation of the unknown adventure that lay ahead. The first part of the road was not too bad except for the fact that we had to regularly stop the vehicle so that I could remove the broken branches strewn across it; the leftovers from some hungry elephants’ meal. Along the way we spotted a beautiful Kudu ewe, a huge buffalo and a number of elephants. As the sun began to set, we started looking for an open area to camp at for the night and discovered a beautiful waterhole at the Tamafupa Pan, an area that was just perfect. The solitude and silence of the evening plus the millions of twinkling stars was amazing. Travel weary, we
decided to turn in early and get a good night’s rest. During the evening we heard some elephants at the waterhole and whilst we have slept at many different roadside spots in Africa, this was the first in an elephant-populated area. After the ellies had quenched their thirst, we heard them moving into the nearby bushes to satisfy their insatiable hunger. With no other noises disturbing the night we could clearly hear them stripping the leaves off the branches, and it sounded like this was happening right next to the vehicle. In a roof top tent, the noise was very intimidating and loud. Morning thankfully arrived and to our relief, we realised that the trees and bushes were actually 30 metres away from where we were camped. This experience once again highlighted how sound travels at night. After an anxious night, we were leisurely enjoying a steaming mug of coffee and watching a beautiful sun rise when we heard lions roar. We both agreed that it was time to pack up, post haste, and continue our journey to Pandamatenga. It was a typical ‘twee-spoor’ dirt road and easy to travel on. However, I would not like to travel this road in the rainy season as was evident from the deep tracks left by previous travellers who had battled to get through the thick, black cotton soil found at many of the pans. Although there were few animal sightings here, it was the stunning
landscape that made the road less travelled well worth the effort. After re-fuelling at Pandamatenga, we were ready to experience the border control points. Botswana was a breeze and then it was onto the Zimbabwean side. Many articles have been written and stories told of the corruption and blackmail by the Zimbabwean officials at the various border posts. I am pleased to report that we didn’t experience any poor behaviour or solicitation of bribes. The immigration and customs processes were conducted in a professional yet slow manner, and with great relief we entered Zimbabwe. Hwange was just around the corner and promised to be another great experience. The main road in the camp from Robbins Camp to Shumba Picnic Site was in fairly good condition, but the halftar, half-dirt road from Shumba to the main camp was terrible. The loops were a different story altogether and it was clear that not many people used them. Our first challenge was when we took the loop to Little Tom’s Platform. At one stage we lost the road and after a while, decided to cross the half-dry river at an opening that looked ok. We drove down the riverbed for about 400m before we were able to see where the ‘road’ was supposed to cross the river.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 109
After visiting the very dilapidated Big Tom’s Platform, we found a possible road on the GPS, but couldn’t see it in the veld. We decided to put our trust in the GPS and followed the indicated route. At most sections of the road, the elephant grass was taller than our car and the undergrowth hid the road completely. So between the GPS, our teamwork and instinct, we managed to progress slowly. We passed a salt pan and a beautiful unknown dam, a bird lover’s paradise attracting many different species. We also saw some huge crocodiles and hippos. The next day we travelled from Sinamantella Camp to the main camp and took the Kashwe loop that led us to a deep ditch, with a non-existent bridge. There was no other option but to turn around and follow another loop. At this point, we realised that we couldn’t trust the road signs, of which most lie in pieces on the ground, or the park’s map. Onwards we pressed and after passing the scenic Baobab Pan and negotiating a few more ditches, we arrived at a river that we couldn’t negotiate due to the soft sand and boulders. Searching for a path on foot, we found the sand to be very wet and knew the Landie would get bogged down. On our walk we came
110 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
across the fresh tracks of what might have been a cat and thought it best to hightail it back to the vehicle. Getting out of here proved to be rather difficult, and turning around once more we found a road sign saying main camp via Tshompani Pans. Again we had to trust the GPS, our teamwork and instinct. After some 500m we completely lost the road because of water erosion. We retraced our tracks and had a good laugh when we saw the ‘spaghetti breadcrumbs’ on the GPS. Eventually we found another possible route, but had to stop often to plan how to get through, over or around an obstacle. Most of the time the road was merely an elephant path, which crossed the mountain. A few hours later, we came across a split in the road and two friendly rangers with AK47’s who asked us, in a very polite manner, if we were lost. They had a good laugh when they heard where we had come from and kindly suggested we head for the main camp via Shumba picnic site. We finally got there. Hwange intrigued us. The three main camps are old, but clean. The staff can’t do enough for you and made us feel very welcome. Of the three camps, we personally prefer Sinamantella because of the incredible view over the valley. We also had a Brown Spotted
Hyena visit us at night, often heard the roar of lions and watched an elephant graze about 20m from us. The restaurants and shops are closed so you need to be self-sufficient when visiting this reserve. The fencing around the camps is non-existent, and most of the time we were the only people in the camps. The ‘picnic’ camping sites were all booked out, and were added to our must-do list when we return to Hwange. On our way to Robin’s Camp we had yet another interesting road experience. We were following a route marked on Tracks 4 Africa from Mandavu Dam to Cingahobi Dam and initially the road was very visible, until we reached a ranger’s camp. From there it was back to a prayer and instinct. After driving around for a few hours, we had reached the stage where this was no longer fun or funny. When we eventually reached the main road, it was with a big sigh of relief and a promise to ourselves to be less adventurous for the next few days. At Robin’s Camp the ablution block had been upgraded, but water pressure was a problem. The facility is clean and the staff eager to
assist at all times and make a fire in the ‘donkey’, an old fashioned, yet effective bush hot-water geyser. The museum here is a must for any visitor to Hwange. • We learnt a few very important lessons from this trip: 1. Work together as a team (husband, wife, GPS and paper map). 2. Trust your instincts – especially your wife’s. 3. Always get out of the car and plan when you are unsure of the road ahead. 4. Drive very slowly. 5. Be prepared to help yourself should you break down. And remember – always stop, when safe, and help others in need. You may just be the next one who needs help. So till next time, happy adventurous travels to all of you!
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 111
DO IT NOW | inTRANSIT: Words & Photos by Dawie du Plessis
Touring Southern Africa
Sitting in a coffee and chocolate shop in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands set in the Vumba Mountains, I was staring at menu prices that matched those of London’s High Street or New York’s Starbucks restaurants. I was shocked at the concept, but as we had made a 250-mile detour for the specific experience at this specific proprietor’s venue, we agreed to consume his offerings regardless of price. We were alone in the café and I understood why. Before long another couple arrived and were in a similar situation. They had been referred to the café specifically and were joined by a group of four travel agents who suffered the same fate. I could see the emotion run through each face as the eyes slid down the menu, recognising the $ sign in front of the extortion, but coming to the same conclusion as we had; with the effort of getting there, it would be silly to leave without drinking something at the very least. There was only one responsible thing for me to do; a subtle conversation had to be started within earshot of the owner and then try to engage him to find out his reasoning. I talked about the ridiculous percentage increase Zimbabwe’s National Park fees had seen some months earlier and how I felt they were losing masses of regional business. They hiked their rates from $10 per person to $100 per campsite overnight. They had a serious rethink after many cancellations and dropped their rate significantly a month or so later. This sparked an array of interesting travel stories from the group and after brushing over the insanely high prices of the east African parks, the owner joined the conversation. His own price justification was simple; he had to earn a number of $ per annum and if he lost 90% of the clientele, he had to charge the remaining 10% over 90% more. My jaw dropped at the short sighted stupidity of the argument, but my wit was dulled by the copious amount of chocolate I had consumed. I had no quick comeback. A month later we wanted to camp at the Kolambo Waterfall in Zambia. They had a recent price increase and wanted to charge the two of us $65 to enter, park the vehicle and camp for one night. To put this into perspective, in South Africa all waterfalls are free to visit. Camping on average, during a six-week trip in South Africa cost us $20 a night all-inclusive and we were never asked to pay a vehicle fee. Victoria Falls on the Zambian side of the river costs $10 per person entry and camping at the closest site costs $6 per person. For reasons unexplainable to the tourists, the greedy Zambian government had decided to declare all the minor waterfalls national monuments and charge accordingly. All their minor national parks carry a $15 per person entry charge. For our $65 at Kolambo Falls, we lingered around the viewpoints for 10-minutes longer that it should have taken to absorb the sight and get our money’s worth, making our total visit 25-minutes long. We camped in their car park with no running water and a hole in the ground for a toilet. The more prominent park of North Luangwa in Zambia charged us $65 to transit through. They had cornered the market as the only other way to get to our destination of Mfuwe involved a two-day and 400-mile detour. South Luangwa National Park’s charge was $75 for the two of us per day and the park did not offer any budget accommodation. So we opted to camp at a site that was a 10-minute drive outside of the park’s boundary. With the exception of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and Zambia’s Kafue and South Luangwa National Parks, all the parks we visited had little sign of life and pitiful excuses for maintaining infrastructure.
112 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
The officials however still insisted on shamelessly charging the extortionate rates. We felt ripped off! The interesting thing we found was that the places with no government influence had very reasonable rates and offered great facilities. We stayed at the privately-owned Mukambi Safari Lodge on the border of the Kafue National Park and at Kapishya Hot Springs for $20 a night respectively. On questioning the owners/ managers about the Zambian Wildlife Authorities prices, they contributed it to simple government greed. As a born Zambian, Mark Harvey from Kapishya was shocked at the prices we were paying to visit his country and could offer no explanation as to where our money went to or what it was used for. He did list the luxury 4x4’s seen at ZAWA’s HQ on a daily basis and we debated the required visitor number per park to cover the running costs of their private fleet. Our experiences in Zimbabwe and Zambia seemed to set the trend for the rest of our southern African adventure. It was apparent that any official with any inkling of a tourism-related, money-making scheme had a clear image of wealth every time they saw these ‘Muzungus’ in their self drive vehicles. You could almost see the $ signs in their eyes when they spoke to you. What I felt they had failed to grasp was the shoestring budget overlanders usually have and how the theoretical budget of $30 a day, which seemed to be widely agreed upon by recently printed guidebooks on African overland travel, was what overlanders had in mind. Although that budget may have been a useful guideline in years gone by, we had found that with careful planning you may be able to get away with three times that. Our recommendation for people to follow us would however be around $100 per day, and even that would not include the amount of national parks or government-run sites that we would have liked to visit and explore. The sad realism is that you could visit similar places and have comparable experiences without entering the national parks and government-run institutions. And by doing that, you rather line the pockets of the ‘reasonable’ entrepreneurs who, in our experience, always involve themselves in community enhancement projects and incredible acts of charity that their local governments are seemingly uninterested in, regardless of the ridiculous fees charged by the latter. This brings to mind the question: Are these greedy governments intentionally trying to kill independent self drive tourism in their countries’ best known tourism destinations, or are they simply ignorant enough to believe that all tourists are wealthy and should be milked for every dollar they have? •
... The interesting thing we found was that the places with no government influence had very reasonable rates and offered great facilities ...
Hwange main road
South Luangwa NP
North Luangwa Pontoon
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
South Luangwa Croc
Zimbabwe camp site
by Mari-Jane Kellett DO IT NOW | inCREDIBLE PLACES: Words Photos by Andrew Kellett
Sea Kayaking the Quirimbas My husband and I received an invitation from Kevin and Fiona Record of Ibo Island Resort, also the owners of an adventure company that specialises in wilderness rafting trips on the Orange River, to join one of their dhow supported sea kayaking trips in the magnificent Quirimbas Archipelago, northern Mozambique, and give them feedback on the trip. There was only one answer, a resounding YES!
114 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
Northern Mozambique is quite a slog from Cape Town, so after a number of plane changeovers, we finally boarded a 10-seater light aircraft that acts as shuttle for three or four lodges dotted along the Archipelago, for the last leg of our trip. The view from the aircraft was quintessential tropical island; gorgeous turquoise seas with darker ribbons of indigo where the deeper channels cut through, lush mangrove forests, romantic dhows sailing with the gentle trade winds and picturesque islands dotted with small settlements. Twenty-minutes later, the plane banked and came in to land on the grass strip on Ibo Island. The Ibo Island Lodge Landy was waiting for us at the ‘terminal’, a roofless shell proudly marked Ibo. We were met by Harris, who was to be our host and guide for the next few days. As we disembarked the plane the warm tropical air felt great after a wintry Cape Town, and we knew we were in for a real treat. The Quirimbas Archipelago is a string of 32 coral islands scattered along the coastline between Pemba and the Tanzanian border. Many are occupied by local subsistence fishing communities, some are designated to the National Park and parts are destined for Unesco World Heritage status. Ibo Island, or as the locals call it ‘Ilha do Ibo’, is a one of those rare and special places that lingers in your mind long after you have left. Ibo is beautiful, remote and untouched by commercial developments and one of the most intriguing, idyllic and romantic islands you could dream of visiting. It has a fascinating history of Portuguese occupation, trade routes, conflict and torture, but when you visit Ibo now all that is left is the ghost of bygone days. The long abandoned but beautifully proportioned colonial buildings and the three forts that speckle the island offer clues as to its past, and it’s well worth hearing the full story on a guided tour. Ibo has been sleeping and dreaming for the last century or so, but is slowly waking to a new vision of the future. Tourism is slowly coming to the area, but thankfully it seems to be in a low key and responsible form. There is a backpackers lodge, bicycle hire shop, the up market Ibo Island Lodge and not much more. This gradual development of tourism has also stimulated the growth of some artisanal craft projects including traditional handmade silver jewellery that is intricate, beautiful, inexpensive and well worth acquiring. Located right on the beachfront, where the dhows sail out to sea on each high tide, the lodge offers a classic island experience. And with just two waterfront villas that have been beautifully renovated, and a third in progress, guests are assured of excellent service and a memorable stay. The rooms are spacious and airy with high ceilings and chalky lime washed walls, boast huge four-poster beds and open plan bathrooms. Furnished with a mixture of new and old colonial style furniture, much of it is hand carved. The emphasis is on elegant simplicity and the luxury of space. Rooms either look onto the sea or the enclosed tropical gardens, and each villa has its own private swimming pool. The food on offer was just as superb as the setting. We enjoyed sundowners and snacks, consisting of peri peri prawns and deep fried green banana chips, on the roof top restaurant before sitting down to an amazing seafood spread. The feast started with a smoked crab taster and spicy Ibo Island seafood soup. This was followed by a gluhwein sorbet to cleanse the palate before indulging in a seafood platter laden with Kingfish, prawns, calamari and the biggest crabs I have ever seen. To finish, there was coconut sorbet, coffee sponge and the most divine hot baked chocolate pudding imaginable.
Andrew is a keen photographer and was up with the sun to capture early morning on Ibo. I lazed in bed and enjoyed my wake up coffee, which is grown and roasted on the island, delivered to the patio outside our room as I watched a Burchard’s Coucal hunting geckos among the bougainvillea. Afterwards we strolled down to the lodge’s rubber duck that was waiting to carry us across the waves to our breakfast destination, a sand island that appears only at low tide. A meal on this sandbank is one of the highlights of a visit to Ibo Island. A beautifully laid table under a Bedouin tent had been set up and after a quick swim, we sat down to a delicious breakfast. We collected shells to decorate the table and this became a premeal ritual for the rest of the trip. Then we set off on our voyage of discovery, paddling along the coast in two-man sit on top sea kayaks. Our first paddle entailed a couple of hours crossing to the mainland. The wind was behind us, the sun warm and we all got burnt! Harris and Debbie, a travel writer who had also been invited on the trip, spotted a massive sting ray and we were also privileged
116 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
to see a large group of crab plovers wheeling over us as we pulled into our camp around lunch time. Camp was situated at the mouth of a river, with its banks cloaked in lush mangrove forest. Harris was ably assisted by two marineros (boat men) who were in charge of the dhow, a chef and our eversmiling waiter, Pemba. They unloaded all of the gear and quickly set up camp; walk-in canvas dome tents equipped with stretchers, mattresses and sheets, a hot water bucket shower and a spacious gazebo for the dinner table. We relaxed for the afternoon and then went exploring the neighbouring village before sunset. The people were friendly and happy to be photographed, examining the results with amazement. Sadly, there was evidence of large scale harvesting of cowrie shells. Huge bags filled to the brim were waiting to be picked up by traders. Think about this the next time you consider buying that pair of sandals or ornament decorated with cowries!
We started out early the next morning so that we could explore the mangroves before paddling to our next destination. Harris explained the different mangrove types, as well as the bird species and their various individual adaptations to the salt water environment. The next sea leg was a long slog, so we opted to hop onto the dhow and experience the pleasure of sailing under one of these ancient rigs. After lunch, served on the upper sun deck, we pulled into Mogundula Island in the late afternoon. We would spend the next two nights here. The sea was a perfect tropical blue and looked so inviting that we lept in and swam the last section. Mogundula is part of the designated Quirimbas National Park and has no permanent inhabitants. Ibo Island Lodge has a concession here, so we had
the place to ourselves. It’s a fascinating little island with an interesting history about the locals who suffered from Elaphantitis being sent here to prevent the spread of the disease. There are still a few graves that can be seen today. It is also know as the ‘Island of the scared lake’, due to the amazing sea water lake that it situated in the centre of the island. The sea water somehow filters through the porous coral rock and fills the depression at the centre. The interesting thing about it is that the lake fills up on the outgoing tide and empties with the incoming tide! The top end of the island has a pristine soft sand beach, with a view to a coral sandbar that is an easy swim away. There are amazing shells to be found here and our dinner table boasted an impressive collection that evening. Our first morning was spent snorkelling in the corals and we had some great sightings of the small coral reef species that abound here. Lunch was served on the beach and was fit for a king. In the afternoon, and after a siesta, we paddled around the island returning in time for a hot shower, before sitting down to another mouthwatering spread of prawns, calamari, crab and octopus. An early departure on the dhow saw us sadly leaving our desert island paradise for the mainland and our flight home. The four-hour drive took us through a wooded landscape, rural villages and finally, back into civilisation. The roads were all in great condition and it was a relaxing drive to the sounds of a very ‘80s Bryan Adams’ album on repeat. Our driver kindly took us to the local market in Pemba to buy some fabric and I think it’s the first time a car has driven down that particular lane, as the stall holders literally had to move their wares out of the way so we could squeeze through. This was one of those trips that was short in duration, but big on impact. We returned home feeling like we’d been away for ages, well rested and revived. So would I recommend a trip to the Quirimbas Archipelago of northern Mozambique? Without a doubt, it’s paradise on earth! •
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 117
DO IT NOW | inCREDIBLE PLACES:
Words & Photos by Steven Yates
Schooling Baracuda Pygmy Seahorse
Kapalai water paradise Green Angler Fish
Part 3 of 3 Sipadan – a divine paradise If Borneo’s terrestrial diversity is our creator’s gift to the planet, then the underwater world which exists along Sabah’s south east coast is surely divine paradise! Sipadan is a diving mecca and having dived in many of the world’s most renowned dive sites, I can honestly say that it is one of the very best.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 119
Sipadan can be dived from a number of accommodation locations. There’s cheap, and to be fair a bit nasty, but great for backpackers in Semporna, to a number of more up market options off Mabul and then the ultimate in luxury at Kapalai. When diving at Sipadan, take note that only a limited number of permits are given out daily for people to dive this marine reserve. So make sure that you give yourself an absolute minimum of three diving days in the area to try and get at least one day here. The good news though is that you will definitely get to experience the superb ‘muck’ diving of Mabul, Kapalai and if you are lucky, Siamil.
Travel and transport • The nearest airport to Semporna is Tawau, about an hour’s drive from Semporna. It is an international airport and the best route is to fly in from Kuala Lumpur, as this can be your international connection to South Africa. • Air Asia has three flights a day from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau and costs approximately 350 Malaysian Ringgits (about R850) one way. • No additional visa is needed for entry into Sabah from Malaysia’s mainland. • For transport between Semporna and the airport, you can book a minivan for approximately RM40 (R100). You’ll actually need two mini-vans: one to transfer you from the airport to the city centre and a second one to get out to Semporna. Cabs are available as well, but are more expensive. Also check with your accommodation provider as they might have other transport options available. Accommodation • Kapalai Island Resort is the most amazing way to experience Sipadan and the surrounding islands (www.sipadan-kapalai.com) • Kapalai Island Resorts offer free transfers to and from the airport if you are staying with them. • Scuba Junkie is a great backpacker’s option when planning to dive Sipadan, and offers a private shuttle between the airport and Semporna, but there is a cost involved (www.scuba-junkie.com) We arrived in Semporna and spent one night at Scuba Junkies, a well-run backpackers establishment in the main port town. The next morning we caught our connecting speed boat to the Kapalai Island Resort. The boat ride took us an hour and past amazing floating villages on the edge of the port town and again off the shore of Mabul. We also passed an old decommissioned oil rig, the Seaventure, just off the coast of Mabul, which has been turned into a budget resort for divers. It is said to have the best ‘house’ reef and is home to the local Pigmy Seahorse. As we reached the Kapalai Island Resort, the sight before us took our breath away. Kapalai is more of a sand bank than an island in the Celebes Sea, on which stands the stilted, sunny water village of the Kapalai Island Resort. The resort is pure decadence and the stunning private cabins, luxurious bath from which you can watch the fish swimming beneath you and the never-ending supply of sumptuous food all make Kapalai an idyllic haven to unwind in and forget about the stresses of every day life. And then there is the diving! With a minimum of four dives a day, there is no excuse for any water lover not to see all the Celebes Sea has to offer. We were dismayed to learn from our local guide that our first dive would be an orientation dive on the Kapalai ‘house’ reef. The ‘house’ reef is a combination of reef and sunken structures on a sand base. The structures are a mixture of old boats, piles of rubble that have become home to some interesting creatures, and
120 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
wooden building frames. The residents of Kapalai are permitted to dive as often as they wish on the ‘house’ reef as long as they have a buddy and notify the dive staff, so there is a surface crew. If the oil rig has the best ‘house’ reef then it must be truly amazing because Kapalai’s was pretty special. We dropped into five metres of water and made our way to a max of about 21 metres before returning to the surface some 50 minutes later. During that time of ‘miserable orientation’ we saw Crocodile fish, Banded Sea Pipes, Titan Trigger fish and no less than four Anglerfish (two giants, one green and one black), which was incredible as I had only ever seen two in the 20 years I have been diving. We were in Kapalai for five days and lucky enough to go to Sipadan twice. On the other three days, we dived Mabul once, Kapalai once and Siamil once. These three sites offer some of the best ‘muck’ diving in the world – probably second only to Sulawesi’s Lembeh Straits. On one dive we discovered over 10 different types of nudibranchs in some of the most beautiful and iridescent colours imaginable. We also saw a multitude of different crabs, Mantis Shrimps, robust Ghost Pipe fish, ornate Ghost Pipe fish, juvenile Harlequin Sweet Lips, cowries and a plethora of other underwater marvels. One of our deeper dives, off Siamil, afforded us the rare sighting of a Pigmy Seahorse that was completely camouflaged in the soft coral polyps. No bigger than a thumbnail, it took a keen eye to spot this very cute creature. I also had the privilege of seeing the even-rarer Mandarin fish in the company of my two new Swiss friends, Toby the Swiss German and Francesco the Swiss Italian, who funnily enough could not communicate with each other except in English. The three of us embarked on a twilight dive to see the elusive Orange and Blue Dragonette fish. Twilight is the only time these tiny fish come out from their hiding places and we were lucky enough to spot one darting through the broken coral, but not lucky enough to witness the mating ritual the Mandarin is well known for.
What is muck diving: Muck diving gets its name from the sediment that lies beneath most dives: A normally muddy or ‘mucky’ environment. Other than the muddy sediment, the standard muck dive may consist of dead coral skeletons, discarded fishing equipment, tyres and other man-made garbage. In addition, the visibility is usually sub par to the reef or wreck sites of the area. Why people muck dive: It’s the ‘muck’ itself that makes them so different and interesting. The muck is the perfect habitat for unusual, exotic and juvenile organisms that make their homes in the sediment and ‘trash’ that compose a muck dive. Creatures like colorful nudibranchs, Anglerfish, Shrimp, Blue-ringed Octopus and rare Pygmy Seahorses. Source: Wikipedia
Diving ‘muck’ sites are for those who love the small and unusual, while Sipadan is for the bigger stuff. Sipadan is a protected marine reserve some 45 minutes from Kapalai. No accommodation is available on the island and except for a small army base, there is no habitation. Diving here also meant an early 05h00 start and on one of our days here, the tropical rain made the comfort of our warm bed seem like a better idea than venturing out into a dark, wet morning. We did not, however, succumb to the temptation and dropping into the clear blue ocean as the sun was cresting the horizon was reward enough for our bravery. The day’s itinerary was as follows: • •
06h00: First dive. 07h30: Tea, coffee and biscuits on the beach - It was still raining and a hot beverage was most welcome.
Mr. Turtle Ocean Accommodation Exotic Nudibranch
• • • • •
08h30: Second dive. 10h00 Breakfast on the beach - And I am talking about a full on, mouth-watering spread – WOW! Oh and the rain had still not stopped. 11h00: Third dive. 12h30: Soft drinks, snacks and a bit of tanning on the beach Yay, the rain had stopped. 13h30: Fourth and final dive and then back to Kapalai for a well-earned lunch - I am sure we have not eaten enough yet.
Without going into a dive-by-dive recount, Sipadan is beyond what the words of a mere mortal such as I can describe, and unfortunately WB Yeats was unavailable to assist. Sipidan’s reef is a wall of beautiful hard and soft coral in a rainbow of colours that drops from only a few metres below the surface to thousands of metres under the ocean. White Tip Reef sharks, Black Tip Reef sharks and more than 50 Green and Leatherback turtles – all on one dive. Other highlights included a huge Napoleon Rass and the mighty barracudas. By the end of the fourth dive, we were so spoilt that I could imagine what my fellow divers were thinking, “Oh, it’s just another turtle.” It was, however, two other sightings that blew the minds of our small diving party. Firstly, a school – or should I say a herd – of Hump-head Parrot fish, each fish bigger than a diver, swimming close to the surface and devouring the coral. We
all agreed that they resembled the cows of the sea, herding though the coral and just munching, munching as they slowly bumped along into each other and the surrounding reef. Secondly, over 2,000 Chevron Barracuda schooling in a vortex only metres from where we floated. AWESOME!
The Pygmy Seahorse is known to occur only on gorgonian coral of the genus Muricella and has evolved to look exactly like the coral they inhabit. The correct collective name for barracudas is actually a battery. Ghost Pipe fish are no longer than 15cm in length and float near motionless, facing downwards near soft coral or kelp, which makes them almost impossible to spot.
With both the terrestrial and aquatic wonderlands of the world’s third largest island forever locked in our hearts, Laura and I finally left the majesticness of Borneo having spent an unbelievable three weeks experiencing its wonders. All I can say for sure is that we will most definitely be back!
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 121
DO IT NOW | inDULGE:
Words by Steve Adams Photos courtesy of Wild About Whisky
Being May, and having luck on our side, the weather was clear and the view perfect, blurred only slightly by the exhaust from the aircraft’s turbines (remember to sit in front of the wing!). I had never been to Islay, yet this felt like a homecoming, a stirring up of some long lost genetic memories. If I was sipping on a dram of Ardbeg I’m sure I would have shed a tear or two! I turned to Eve, my faithful whisky companion, to explain how I was feeling, but she was so choked up she couldn’t talk! Being fans of the Islay malts - big, peaty island Scotch whiskies - this was to be our pilgrimage to the ‘holy land’. We had regularly enjoyed the spirit from all seven of Islay’s active distilleries, as well as Port Ellen - a rare, superb malt from a distillery that closed in the ‘90s, and had read many interesting facts and anecdotes on the island’s history, geography and extreme weather conditions. We thought we were well prepared, but often
one is disappointed after high expectations, so we had open minds and tried to quell our excitement. Islay’s permanent population of around 3,500 often swells to double that number with the influx of tourists, and on our first day of driving around the island I was amazed at the warmth and hospitality of the locals. There was a friendly wave from every vehicle we passed. The island’s sad and often-violent past did not seem to have had much influence on the locals, or Ileachs. They are warm and charming, and haven’t yet been numbed by the many tourists roaming the island, or is it perhaps that they recognise the true value of tourism? The whisky industry certainly thrives here, but very few of the island’s inhabitants derive an income from it, so it is through one of the spin-offs of the industry, whisky tourism
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 123
124 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
that there are opportunities for the locals to earn a living. Since the infamous clearances of the 1800s, the visible remnants of abandoned crofts still bear testament to this. Farming is relatively limited and many land owners are now converting old buildings into accommodation, from rustic barn-style bed-sitters to luxury five star self-catering lodges. The distilleries all have impressive visitor centres and offer guided tours. I would suggest doing the guided tours at only two or three distilleries, unless you’re a keen whisky enthusiast or Islay disciple. The three southernmost distilleries of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig are positioned very close together and could be visited in one morning. These all produce big, smoky and oily whiskies, yet each one has its own unique character. Laphroaig is definitely worth a visit as it is one of a handful of distilleries still employing its own floor maltings. The barley is turned manually on a malting floor every few hours before being smoked over a peat fire. Until fairly recently this was how whisky was traditionally made. Now most distilleries buy their malted barley that is prepared to the distillery’s specifications. On Islay around 90% of the barley is supplied by Port Ellen maltings, situated on the site of the oncefamous distillery. Try to time your visit for an early lunch at Ardbeg in the Kiln Café adjacent to the visitor shop, a very popular spot for visitors. Lagavulin has enjoyed cult status for many years now and, unlike most distilleries, by far the largest portion of Lagavulin’s spirit is bottled as single malt. Such is the demand for this huge, peaty dram that cases are allotted worldwide and prices can vary wildly depending on availability. Any ‘Laggie-lover’ on a visit to Islay would do him/herself an injustice not to have a dram in the traditional wood-panelled visitor centre. Travelling north along the main airport road leads us to Bowmore, a distillery in the village of the same name, on the eastern shores of Loch Indaal. Bowmore has produced some magnificent whiskies over the years, and even today its malts are prized by many connoisseurs and collectors alike. The house style is smoky yet fragrant, floral even, with undertones of ocean breeze and seaweed, slightly medicinal and with a long, rewarding finish. Continuing north along the Loch Indaal coast road, around the north coast of the loch, will take you to Bruichladdich on the western side of the loch. This distillery has a great sense of humour and is famed for producing some outlandish expressions. The inimitable, irreverent Jim McEwan, the distillery manager and master blender, took us into his ‘Vatican’ - a warehouse crammed with casks from almost every distillery in Scotland. These are to be bottled under the Murray McDavid independent bottlers’ label in Bruichladdich’s own bottling plant, the only one in Islay. The distillery itself is traditional, with very little modernisation save for the state-of-the-art bottling plant and pioneering webcam set-up that lets your kids watch you touring the distillery from the comfort of their school computer room! Bruichladdich’s house style is slightly
more difficult to describe as their innovative team has produced styles ranging from light and non peated through to smooth, slightly peated, creamy, heavily peated and oily. Their Port Charlotte PC5, PC6, PC7 and PC8 are all brilliant. To the northwest lies Kilchoman, a farm-style distillery set up around six years ago. Their first whisky was bottled last year and even at the tender age of three, it exhibits all the signs of a great Islay malt. The distillery is worth a visit, not only as everything is done on the premises or to see the dainty stills, but their soup on offer in the visitor centre restaurant is the best on the island. Over to the east coast of the island, on the Sound of Islay, is a fast moving current that separates Islay from Jura. The more northerly of the two east coast distilleries is Bunnahabhain, an old treasure on this picturesque coastline and home of the base malt for the superb, smoky Black Bottle blend. Nothing seems rushed here and that comes through in the smooth, rich, unpeated spirit. Even their 12 Year Old seems more mature than its years – light fruit and nut, with a whiff of smoke - but the 18 Year Old really shows the true colours of Bunnahabhain - honeyed nuts, rich toffee and leathery oak. Last but by no means least, the big, medicinal smoky Coal Ila - the product of the southernmost east coast distillery. The view from the still house is reason alone to visit this distillery. The six impressive copper stills stare out through huge windows over the Sound to the ‘Paps of Jura’, Jura’s two hills resembling voluptuous breasts. The distillery itself is a fine example of modern-day automation married to age-old tradition. The shape and size of the copper stills will, in all probability, never be altered lest the bold, medicinal flavours be affected in any way; but where there’s a valve, servo or sensor, this is linked up to a computerised panel to reduce the possibility of human error. This is one of Diageo’s distilleries and the demand for this spirit is relentless. Some of Scotland’s top blends feature Coal Ila and there is quite possibly no substitute. Towards the end of May Islay hosts its annual whisky festival, the Feis Ile, and with limited accommodation available it literally bursts at the seams. Every year the festival attracts whisky lovers from around the world, many of them booking over a year in advance to soak in the party atmosphere and taste some of the distilleries’ limited releases. Often these limited-release whiskies fetch exorbitant prices on online auctions just weeks after the festival. Personally, I prefer to visit Islay when it’s a little quieter. The island boasts magnificent scenery, a host of endemic bird life, fauna and flora, and is the perfect location for those keen on hiking or cycling their way around. The weather can catch one unawares though, and the Atlantic storms have sunk many a vessel off the island’s coastline. So be prepared and take warm clothing and a decent waterproof jacket. We have visited Islay twice over the past three years and I’m certain we will be back. •
by Jacoline Haasbroek DO IT NOW | inDULGE: Words Photos Franschhoek Wine Valley
A drink for all seasons, especially the festive ones! There’s something magical about drinking sparkling wines. It carries an aura of luxury and exuberance, of well-being, sharing and feelings of grandeur and splendour. Drink it and you just want to share the intrinsic joy of the moment, while savouring it. Drink it to celebrate an achievement, a milestone or special occasion. Whatever the reason, the popping of the cork provokes Pavlovian tingles of pleasure!
In the world of wine, sparkling wine is the juvenile; a late arrival. In England it was first reported in a treatise, The Mysterie of Vintners, presented to the Royal Society in 1662 that wine-coopers (wine merchants) could add sugar and molasses to wine, to make it ‘drink brisk and sparkling’. About the same time, winemakers in Champagne were faced with a problem. The clear, still wine in their cellars started to ferment again when spring arrived and turned the wine cloudy. What had in fact happened was that the early winter cold in Champagne caused the natural fermentation to stop before all the sugar had been converted into alcohol. Come spring, the barrels were racked to get rid of the sediment to clarify the wine, but then the incomplete fermentation started all over again. Bottles were also introduced at that time for the shipping of wine, to avoid the oxidation that took place in barrels. However, the bottled wine was reaching its markets unintentionally full of fizz. Luckily some important customers from Buckingham, London, soon acquired a taste for this new sensation and some 20-years later, the Parisians also took to it in a big way. And so a new sparkling wine fashion had been born. Today, Champagne remains the standard by which other sparkling wines are judged. Its elegance and complexity, and its ability to combine power and grace are simply unmatched. Since its discovery almost three centuries ago, the Champagne method of producing sparkling wine has gone through a long evolution, involving meticulous attention to the vines, viticulture and winemaking process, such as: •
The gentle pressing of grapes is done to produce a low yield of the purest grape juice, uncontaminated by bitter or astringent components from the grape skins.
The fruit is not picked too ripe to limit the sugar content and keep the base wine low in alcohol.
Strict control is kept over the adding of sugar for a second fermentation in the bottle, thus ensuring that bottles do not burst from the higher pressure caused by the carbon dioxide due to fermentation.
During and after the second fermentation, the wine matures on the lees (decomposing yeast cells) for several years.
Impurities (sediment/lees) are removed by riddling, a process of turning bottles daily in a specially designed rack, with their
126 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
necks pointing downwards at the end. The sediment that gathers in the neck of the bottle is then disgorged by allowing it to escape without losing too much of the wine or fizz. •
The bottle is then corked with a special cork that is wired down to keep it in place and under pressure.
During the whole winemaking process, the level of sulphur dioxide (SO2) is kept low to allow the second fermentation.
The authentic Champagne method produces a wine that is very different to artificially carbonated sparkling wine, which normally sells at a much lower price and has bigger, less enduring bubbles. The Champagne method, also called the traditional method, is used to make some fine sparkling wines in other parts of the world, including: • • • • • •
Crémant in other areas in France Spumante and Prosecco in Italy Cava in Spain Sek in Germany Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) in South Africa or Méthode champenoise/Traditional method elsewhere
The different styles available depend on variations in the winemaking process and range from crisp and fruity for sparkling wine with a shorter period of maturation in the bottle, to very complex flavors (yeasty, biscuit, honey or caramel in addition to fruit) derived from the maturation of the wine in the bottle after fermentation. The sweetness of the sparkling wine depends on the level of sugar added at the time of disgorging and final closure with a cork. The different levels of sweetness are indicated on the label in the following classes: • • • • • •
Extra Brut, Brut Sauvage or Brut Nature: Totally dry with less than 3g/l residual sugar Brut: Dry Extra dry: Medium dry Sec: Slightly sweet Demi-sec: Fairly sweet Doux: Sweet
A Blanc de blancs label means that the (white) wine has been made from white grapes only. If the wine is not labelled Blanc de blancs, it is probably a blend of wines made from white and red grapes. Chardonnay is the only white grape used in Champagne
and it typically has white-fruit aromas such as apple or citrus in the wine. The two red varieties are Pinot noir and Pinot mineur, which bring aromas of cherries or other red berries to the wine. A Rosé would have at least some of the wine made from red grapes. If it is described as Blanc de noir, it is a white wine made only from red grapes. The pink or blush colour is caused by prolonged contact between the grape juice and red grape skins during the winemaking process. The quality of a sparkling wine is assessed by the appearance of the bubbles. They should be tiny and released consistently, floating upwards to the surface in the glass. Never swirl the glass before smelling the wine as the bubbles exploding on the surface of the wine release and accentuate all the flavours from the wine. Take a small sip and the delicate compact foam (mousse) should cover your palate and stay there for a second or two. If the bubbles ‘explode’ aggressively in your mouth and disappear, as they do with soda (or carbonated) water, the wine is of a lesser quality. A good sparkling wine should retain a creamy finish or texture in your mouth. This comes from contact between the wine and lees during the second fermentation. Fruitiness and acidity balanced with sweetness are positive attributes, while any bitterness is a negative.
The Franschhoek ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, sponsored by Investec Private Bank 3 – 5 DECEMBER 2010 This year’s The Franschhoek ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, took place over the weekend of 3 to 5 December and for the fifth year running, this social calendar highlight was sponsored by Investec Private Bank. The festival, the largest of its kind in the country, showcased the crème de la crème of locally produced sparkling wine and visitors were treated to the opportunity of sampling Champagne and Cap Classique wines, as well as Franschhoek’s unique combination of French heritage and South African winelands.
Sparkling wine should be served in flute glasses, which retain and show the bubbles better. At 6-8°C, it retains its effervescence better because wine in a glass warms up too quickly in our South African climate. Ready to rush off and buy a bottle or two? A good variety of South African MCC wines are stocked at liquor retailers and offer excellent value for money. Once in a while, be bold and surprise your loved one with an ice-cold bottle of real Champagne when they come home. It is also the best way to put the spring back in your legs after a few hours of endurance sports. Santé! •
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 127
DO IT NOW | inDULGE: Words by Neil Ross
? Here’s a e old salads will look m a s e th g n of prepari hallenged re you bored re – even the culinary c a t u b , s d la a ct time for s nly and is easy to prepa e out the nuts. nd the perfe a r leav e eave m m u s It’s that tastes h om a nut allergy, please e c n re fe if d ou suffer fr salad with a this dish. If y g in rv e s d o mint go of chopped ped ginger of finely chop 1 Teaspoon d peanuts opped roaste ½ Cup of ch basil ¼ Cup of torn nder opped coria ¼ Cup of ch ste of shrimp pa 1 Teaspoon
of water 1 Teaspoon sugar 1 Teaspoon e ezed for juic ½ Lime sque e uc sa of soya Good splash routs sp et of bean 1 Small pack
ones. ugh the wet and fold thro s nt ie ed gr d arrange in all the dry ce leaves an ne ttu bi le g om ur C eb 1. with some ic serving plate 2. Layer a e leaves. th er ients ov ass of beer. the ingred e or a cold gl in w te hi w ith a chilled 3. Serve w
128 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
¼ Cup pink of fish sauce ared but still 1 Teaspoon ef, slightly se be of t le fil iced 150g Thin sl
DO IT NOW | inSURE: Words by Peter Fairbanks
Secondly, we want peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that what we have paid for will be delivered. So this begs the question of how to determine whether the identified product is right for your specific needs? Well, the answer is simple! Ask your broker who has an in-depth knowledge and years of experience in this field, and can advise you on the benefits and potential pitfalls. However, if you decide to go at it alone, this article will give you a basic understanding about the world of Life Assurance. When considering Life Assurance, you will often come across the word ‘guarantee’. The guarantee on a Life policy is what should give you peace of mind, as it’s the promise that your premium and cover will remain the same for the given term, even in the event of a claim. I was fairly certain about the meaning of this word until a couple of days ago, when I decided to do some in-depth product comparisons between various suppliers. In my opinion, a Life policy should not require a product supplier to regularly assess your health status or know how many metres you walk a day, the number of sessions you do at the gym per week and so on. However, the purpose of all these checks is to ensure that you are maintaining a certain health status and thereby retain your premium; which incidentally was supposed to be guaranteed, irrelevant of your health status during the guaranteed term! So how then can a Life Assurance product supplier promise you a guarantee on your premium?
But here’s a very possible scenario of what could happen to you and the outcome. Life is dandy, but then you start to suffer from night sweats and discomfort. So you decide to visit your local GP and are diagnosed with cancer. Under these troubled circumstances you now come face-to-face with the cold, harsh facts about your Life Cover. As a result of claiming more than a certain amount from your medical aid, which incidentally is ridiculously low, you lose your hard-earned status instantly. This in turn means that your discounted Life premium will escalate from the following month. Your claim on your Life Cover for a dreaded disease benefit will further downgrade your status and you will still be required to continue paying the paid-out benefit portion of the premium, which no longer exists. After months of fighting this disease, you begin to feel strong enough to do something about this absurd situation, only to find out that no insurer will re-insure you. You are now stuck with an excessive premium and have to pay back all those ‘free movie tickets’ and ‘gym benefits’ you so enjoyed, when you can least afford it. As surprised and disgusted as you may feel at this point, you can’t blame anyone for this outrage as it is all clearly explained in your contract. This is just one example of how an integrated web of products received through a single product supplier can turn on you. What concerns me even more is that the word ‘guarantee’ is also used with a whole string of ifs and buts attached.
To make things more interesting, they go a step further and integrate your Life Cover with your medical aid. I can’t see how this pairing can work as they are two opposing products; a medical aid assists when ill-health sets in, whilst your Life Cover policy premium now depends on your good health. So what’s the big deal you might ask?
Now here’s another point to ponder. Along with the credit card that is issued, what is the minimum amount you need to spend each month and how much are you paying in the associated fees? To give you a true reflection of what your Life Cover and medical aid premiums are costing you each month, add these ‘hidden’ extras to your premium fees. You might be in for a nasty surprise.
Your medical aid encourages you to make use of the free movie tickets, go to gym six times a week and spend all your money through your new and amazing credit card, so that you can keep your superior status and (guaranteed) low premiums. This isn’t so bad because you’re enjoying good health.
I feel like a broken record, but I appeal to you to NOT choose the cheapest option. Rather pay a separate premium for all your add-ons, ask questions, READ your contract and as always, seek advice from your broker before acting. Your extra effort here will be richly rewarded when you need it most. •
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 129
DO IT NOW | inTERTAINMENT:
Words by Richard Flamengo
Recommended for: •
Anyone who cares about protecting our marine legacy for future generations. • Anyone who loves to eat fish and sushi.
Director: Rupert Murray Genre: Documentary
There was just something about the documentary ‘The End of the Line’ that struck a chord deep within me when I first heard about it on Jenny Crwys-Williams’ radio show some months ago. So it was with baited breath that I waited for its release in South Africa on 22 October. The film opens with lush underwater imagery, soon turning to dark and foreboding slow motion shots of cold-blooded slaughter. I could only sit in awe of the reality unfolding before me and when I walked out an hour and a half later, I felt so saddened and sickened – and it definitely wasn’t from the popcorn and juice, which remained untouched – by the greed of mankind and the total indifference there is for our oceans and its inhabitants. If you, like me, think of the ocean as blue, huge and limitless, this documentary is a big wake up call. The End of the Line is a hard-hitting major feature documentary film that reveals the horrific impact of overfishing on our oceans, and the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. It examines the imminent extinction of Bluefin Tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in a huge over population of Jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation. Based on the book by UK Daily Telegraph Investigative and Environmental Reporter Charles Clover, The End of the Line was filmed over two years and spans the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials. It follows Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans. One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo – who pursues the trail of those destroying the world’s magnificent Bluefin Tuna population. Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048. This documentary chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations, how the trawlers massacre the sea bed and anything in its way and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth. The film lays the responsibility squarely on the consumer, who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is slow to react to an impending disaster. The End of the Line points to solutions that are simple and doable. The End of the Line is a leading example of the new wave of documentary. It is a campaigning film that aims to change the world by engaging large public audiences in a political issue. It highlights the need to control fishing by reducing the number of fishing boats across the world, protect large areas of the ocean through a network of marine reserves off limits to fishing, and educate consumers that they have a choice by purchasing fish from independently-certified sustainable fisheries. To coincide with the world wide release of this film, a global campaign urging citizens to demand better marine policies was launched. It has already garnered full support from leading international environmental organisations. Charles Clover said, “We must stop thinking of our oceans as a food factory and realise that they thrive as a huge and complex marine environment. We must act now to protect the sea from rampant overfishing so that there will be fish in the sea for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act now! By Tracy Knox
CD’ to look out for that will make perfect Christmas gifts Bok Van Blerk My Kreet
Kurt Darren Oos Wes Tuis Bes
Bryan Adams Bare Bones
Upcoming festive season must-see movies
Release: 19 November Release: 24 November Release: 10 December ACTION ADVENTURE ADVENTURE
Ministry of Sound Summer Kicks
Some Kind of Trouble
Now 56 Bump 27
130 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Release: 17 December Release: 17 December Release: 24 December Release: 31 December ANIMATED COMEDY COMEDY ACTION SCI-FI ADVENTURE
MOVIE TITLE Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Starring: The voice of: Steve Carell
HIGHLIGHTS • Lots and lots of comedy and funny bits. • It’s not a musical animation
Recommended for: EVERYONE! In a happy suburban neighbourhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbours, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru, planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!). Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. The world’s greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes. Overall, this animated film is great entertainment for the kids and family, and even some teens will get many laughs out of it as well. This is a very adorable film, full of charm and heart, and with a funny and lighthearted storyline. A definite must-see! By Adele Cloete
HIGHLIGHTS • The accuracy of PlayStation Move.
It’s hard to believe that the WII console has been on sale and ruled the platform of interactive gaming and fitness for close on four years now. However, there’s finally some competition in this arena now that competing platforms PS3 and Xbox have launched their respective versions. The PlayStation Move consists of an eye and move controller, similar technology to that of the WII. The only drawback to the two newcomers is a lack of games that are currently available, but I’m sure this won’t be for long. The PlayStation Move offers fighting and sports titles at the moment, which will provide hours of fun for the whole family. It’s difficult to say at this stage which of the three platforms will emerge triumphant as no title is available across all three platforms. This, however, is set to change in 2011 and I will be sure to put them to the test, to determine which is the best. In closing, the Move is a definite contender in this segment and well priced at R700 for the PS3 add-on starter kit that includes both the Eye and Move. The only negative here is that the Move’s design, which includes a big ball on the top, seems a bit odd and out of place, but is mainly responsible for its accuracy. Now, the Xbox equivalent offers something truly unique in the Microsoft Kinect, as it brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without using a controller. This add-on, stand alone is a bit more expensive at just under R2,000, but if you don’t already have a console more competitive bundle packages are available.
HIGHLIGHTS • Another perfect Christmas gift option.
Artists: Various Genre: Compilations
Everyone looking for a party! Following on from the success of its predecessor, ‘94 Hits in a Row, Vol. 2’ offers more of the same. It consists of 94 excellently mixed summer party songs on a smash hit, three-CD compilation that’s guaranteed to get you moving. The three discs are well balanced, containing all the songs you would expect to hear at any great party. For the guys on the road, you may want to get a glitter ball for your rear view mirror because you’ll be transforming your car into a club while the songs boom out over your car stereo. At around R150 for a 94-song, three-CD compilation this is awesome value for money, which will also make the long roads seem shorter.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 131
DO IT NOW | inFOCUS:
Words & Photos by Jacques Marais
132 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
Photographic Chronicles Shoot! The Southern Storm Welcome to a world of intoxicating trail running and masochistic mountain biking, all set within the dramatic splendour of an unmatched outdoor arena. If this sounds like your kind of natural high, join Jacques Marais for the inside scoop on the Southern Storm, a multi-stage duathlon presented by HI-TEC and Plettenberg Bay Tourism. Sometimes in life, one gets the opportunity to be part of an event that is utterly life-changing. The Southern Storm, with the Otter African Trail Run as its first stage, is undoubtedly such an event. This multi-day duathlon delivers great imagery as you follow the cream of South Africa’s endurance athletes racing through the spectacular Garden Route National Park. Along the way, I got to witness the brotherhood of blood, sweat and tears up close and in-your-face. To capture these photographs is a huge responsibility, primarily to the sponsors and race organisers, but also to the athletes who pay large money to be there. And for you to be right up there with them, you need to kick up a gear. The vistas along the Otter Trail can’t be reached by means of any fossil-fuel burning set of wheels, so you have to slug it out with gravity to get there. Pack light by taking a full-frame but compact DSLR like the Canon 5D MkII, light-weight lenses (a 17-40mm wide-angle and 70-200mm f4) that do not compromise on quality, minimalist flash and a mini tripod.
Image 1: Gapping the Gorge The Action: MTB leg from Nature’s Valley, Day 3. Shot: The only time the bikes tasted tarmac. To get my angle, I fitted the 15mm fish-eye lens and balanced on the parapet of the N2 bridge, with the gorge gaping behind me. Not the best idea, but it perfectly demonstrates the advantages of a higher angle of view. Technique: Angled on-camera flash provided fill-in light for the harsh midday shadows. I manually zoomed the 580EX to concentrate its power. Specifications: 1/200th sec @ f10; Canon 5D MkII with a 15mm lens; fill-in from Canon Speedlite 580EX flash More Info: www.magneticsouth.net
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 133
Image 2: Stoned and Alone The Action: Otter African Trail Run leg, near Andre Huts, Day 2. Shot: After more than 35km, competitors cross the beach in front of Andre Huts. A long lens allows you to isolate the runners within the stone field, thus creating this stark image. Technique: You’re not carrying a tripod and have to shoot a fast enough shutter speed to avoid lens shake. To roughly calculate this, ensure your speed is set inversely proportional to the zoom factor you’re shooting at. (For example, 1/400th sec or faster on a 400mm lens). Specifications: 1/800th sec @ f5.6; Canon 5D MkII with a 100-400mm telephoto. More Information: www.southernstorm.co.za
134 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Image 3: Best of Enemies The Action: Otter African Trail Run leg, Finish, Day 2. Shot: After 42km, Greg Goodall and Cas van Aardenne finished fourth and fifth respectively and were literally separated by seconds. This image epitomises the camaraderie of ultra distance running. Technique: Go wide and get in close. Preset your lens to a predetermined focal point and select manual focus, which means you can shoot at will without having to check the focus. Specifications: 1/100th sec @ f9; Canon 5D MkII with 17-40mm wide-angle zoom. More Info: www.jacquesmarais.co.za
www.doitnow.co.za ď‚ Lifestyle >> 135
Image 4: Dogs of War The Action: Run-Forrest-Run leg, Forest Hall, Day 3. Shot: Approaching the beach and with the chopper banking behind them, this reminded me of a battle scene from an Oliver Stone blockbuster. Technique: I shot against the glare to silhouette the scene, and selected high contrast monochrome in-camera. The effect was then further enhanced in Adobe Lightroom. Specifications: 1/125th sec @ f8; Canon 5D MkII with 17-40mm wide-angle zoom. More Info: www.magneticsouth.net
Image 5: Foot Soldier The Action: Much needed R&R, Forest Hall, Day 3. Shot: With all the athletes passed out after a gruelling day, I sneaked some behind-the-scenes images of them resting. The feet belong to female adventure racer Hanlie Booyens. Technique: Keep your eyes open for quirky angles, and accentuate your composition by shooting very close and with a shallow depth of field. Otherwise use light to isolate the object. Specifications: 1/30th sec @ f14; Canon 5D MkII with 17-40mm wideangle zoom; fill-in from 580EX Speedlite. More Info: www.magneticsouth.net
136 >> DO IT NOW ď‚ December/January 2011
Image 6: The Bomb The Action: Jeannie Bomford, powering along on a dirt road to Khatoomba, Day 4. Shot: Jeannie ‘The Bomb’ Bomford dominated the Southern Storm Ladies Category. This image shows her in her element, cranking at speed on her mountain bike. Technique: I wanted to accentuate the harshness of the midday heat and back road environment, so I cranked up the in-camera contrast, reduced saturation and over-exposed by one stop to burn out the background. It was easy to tweak the effect further in Lightroom. Specifications: 1/1000th sec @ f5.6; Canon 7D with 70-200mm telephoto. More Info: www.magneticsouth.net
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 137
Photo Gallery Winner
Congratulations to our Winner!!! Photographer: Donovan Eva Photograph: Night to Day Camera: Canon 20D with 28 - 90 mm standard lens. Settings: Shutter open for 3 seconds. Place: Northen Cape, Close to Groblershoop, 15km from "Putsonderwater" Category: Lifestyle
Readers' Photo Competition This is your opportunity to showcase your photographic skills and stand a chance to WIN R500 for the best image in DO IT NOW’s inFOCUS competition, which features in every issue of the magazine. So get clicking and send us your photographs – you never know, you could just be our next WINNER! When submitting your images, please also include the following information: Name of photographer. Name of photograph. Camera type.
Camera settings. Place where the photograph was taken. Category: Adventure, Sport or Lifestyle?
Photographer: Lee Viljoen Photograph: Go Big or Go Home Camera: Canon EOS 450D Settings: ISO 200, Exposure: 1/1600sec, Manual, Aperture: f/5 Rider: Juan Du Plooy, Cape Town Category: Sport
1.) The closing date for the next competition is 10 January 2011 and the winning photo will be featured and credited in the February/March 2011 issue of DO IT NOW. 2.) The image entered must include the information requested above and any entry received without the requested information, will not be considered. Digitally manipulated images will not be accepted. 3.) Only amateur photographers may enter. 4.) Email your 1-3mb compressed .jpg image to email@example.com 5.) There is a maximum of one entry per person, per issue. 6.) The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 7.) Please note that your images may be published in the DO IT NOW magazine and on the DO IT NOW website. 8.) By entering the competition, you agree to abide by these rules.
138 >> DO IT NOW December/January October/November 2010 2011
www.doitnow.co.za ď‚ Lifestyle >> 139
by Rocco le Roux DO IT NOW | inSPIRATION: Words Photos courtesy of Clifford Andrews
Cliff started rowing back in high school and finished first in the SA Under 15 Rowing Championship. At this stage soccer was Cliff’s first love. However, a bike accident shattered his left leg and along with it his dreams of playing professional soccer. But it was not a clear-cut case as he struggled to recover, always hoping to retain the use of his leg and enter the professional soccer scene. For 15 years Cliff fought a battle with osteomyelitis. Repetitive bone scraping had shortened his left leg by 14 cm, which necessitated the use of purpose-built shoes. This is of course was not an ideal scenario for a would-be professional soccer player, and so he opted for more surgery. This procedure involved breaking his leg in three places and stretching each fracture a couple of millimetres each day to get the leg back to its original length. Not a process for the faint-hearted, as I’m sure you can imagine! But Cliff was determined and not going to give up without a fight. As time went by, Cliff spent more and more time in a kayak or canoe and grew to love the sport even more. When he finally gave up on his leg 15 years after the accident, a new purpose in life had begun. Within six months his leg was ready for prosthesis and he could get on with his life. “I started canoeing soon after the accident and have since completed approximately eight Dusi Canoe Marathons, six Berg Canoe Marathons, five Umkomaas Marathons and 13 Fish Canoe Marathons. I have also completed four Argus cycle races,” Cliff tells me. During the 2005 Dusi, Cliff lost his leg and paddle at the first rapid ‘Little John, when his K2 turned over. He tried to steer using only his right leg, but this threw his partner and himself off balance. They then swopped positions so that his partner could steer while Cliff did the paddling from the rear seat. True to character, Clifford
did not surrender and further down the river they obtained another paddle and completed the race. Apart from participating in canoe marathons and tripping rivers with his mates, Cliff is also an ace Canoe Polo athlete. He has been awarded provincial and national colours numerous times and has represented South Africa at four international events in the last couple of years. But rowing remains his big passion and this is where he plans to really make his mark. “I am currently in the team for the Para Olympic squad (coaxed fours), and aiming for gold at the 2012 Para Olympics in London.” The word Paralympic has its origins in the Greek language and refers to a competition being held in parallel with the Olympic Games. 2012 will see the fourteenth running of the Paralympics and the rowing event will be held at Dorney Lake in the UK. Dorney Lake was purpose built by Eton College for rowing and swimming events and 2012 will be the first time an Olympic event is hosted there. “The only real hurdle we have to cross is funding,” Cliff tells me. “We have to compete successfully in at least three international events to qualify for the Olympics. So it’s not just a matter of saving up for the actual Olympics, one has to travel to Europe for the qualifying events as well.” Sponsorship can be a huge problem for some people, but judging by Clifford’s track record he will not let this hold him back! As we say our goodbyes and walk out the coffee shop, I watch Cliff cross the road and stride off towards his car. It is easy to follow his movements as every move he makes oozes determination, which makes him stand out from the crowd.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 141
DO IT NOW | inVOLVED:
Words by Rob Riccardi Photos courtesy of The CHOC Cows
"Planning is don’t know It was catchy. And it stuck. Doing away with protocol and red tape. The motley crew of dappled bovines permeated the psyche of a nation with their dangling red Rolling Stones tongue and their inability to say no. Regular Joes and Janes soon realised that armed with a slogan and a cow suit, anything was achievable. And the concept was simple: Choose a meaningful project, invite your friends to ride the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, dress up like a cow and raise lots of moolah to help children affected by cancer. It doesn’t get more simple than that! It all started back in 2008 when a group of friends decided to ride in memory of little Jessica Madison Bain, who passed away aged 20-months-old from a childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma. To keep Jessica’s memory alive, her parents, Kerrin and Grant, decided to cycle the 94.7 Cycle Challenge and raise money for the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC). CHOC had played a significant role in the Bain family’s life in the last few weeks before Jessica’s passing, specifically with palliative care and emotional support. A team gathered around the Bains and with the help of Kerrin’s colleague and friend, Cordi van Niekerk, a fundraising project was soon conceived. Their aim was to raise R60,000. At the end of that sweat-filled race, six enthusiastic cyclists riding in cow suits had succeeded in raising a staggering R230,000. Aim for the stars and you may just hit the moon! Fast forwarding to 2009, the Cows now had street cred. But in this day and age of charlatans and great pretenders, they would need to dig deeper to show that they were not a flash in the pan, but rather a formidable fundraising machine in the fight against cancer. So 2009 became known as the ‘Year of the House’. It was agreed that the money raised would go towards buying a CHOC House in Diepkloof Soweto, to house the patients receiving treatment at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
142 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
for people who what they’re doing!" The Cows’ upward trajectory was unstoppable and 2009 turned into a spectacular success of 140 cyclists riding in a range of cow gear. The target of R1 million was quickly toppled and converted into a mind blowing R2.2 million for CHOC. The Cows may not have been perfect at honing their aim on targets, but they certainly overdelivered on expectations! With 2010 as the ‘Year of the Hospital’, the Cows’ focus is on raising funds for the upgrade and renovation of the paediatric oncology wards at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. With a target of R4 million on the radar, the Cows are pulling out all the stops with 300 cow-clad cyclists in the herd riding to make a difference for children affected by cancer.
HOW DO THEY DO IT? Word of mouth and guerrilla marketing tactics are employed with abundant passion, handfuls of gusto and dashes of courage to separate people from the money in their wallets. The ego is quickly set aside in the exchange for cow suits and clanging tins. Asking people for money is one thing, asking people for a lot of money is something else entirely. It has to be done elegantly and with class, so that people willingly reach deep in their pockets for every last spare penny possessed. They will end up thanking you if you do it right, and sincerity, panache and a lack of subterfuge are imperative and go much further than pointing to a large begging bowl. Spinathons, Halloween cycle races, street parties and company functions have all been utilised to assist with the collection of money. An idea is one thing, having the right people to extract the most out of an occasion is once again something else.
The Cow founder member s, Richard Laskey and Ste ven Proudfoot together with Natalie du Toit
THE COLOURFUL CHARACTERS IN COW SUITS > Simon Durdey
Simon Durdey and his team of incredible traders pulled lots of strings and in one day of trading managed to raise an amount of R176,000.00, which he handed over to CHOC. It took a lot of initiative, planning and hutzpa, but if you ask him about it, he’ll tell you he was most proud of his suggestion to sell cow bracelets. Simon was also the first ice cream bike rider across the finish line. Ask him about that and he’ll tell you it was the tandem father-son team attached to the front of his bike that did all the work. Yes, they towed the ice-cream bike! Says Simon, “Rarely, in history, has there been a finer crew of honourable men and women working so magnanimously for the good of others.”
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 143
All the Cows at the start of the 2009 94.7 Momentum Cycle Challenge
> Mark Thijs When Mark Thijs joined the herd a few weeks before the race, he didn’t just arrive, he rocked up. Few knew what to expect from this competitive cyclist, who through the year had already done the Cape Epic, Johannesburg to Durban bike ride and a list of bike races longer than the notches on Tiger’s bed post. Oh, did we forget to mention that this was after being diagnosed with bladder cancer in January and having undergone three operations? Mark was in the middle of his second bout of chemo one week before the bike race and opted to add one additional layer to his challenge – to do the race on a chopper bicycle. Some do with words, some do with action. Mark may not be aware of it, but he has inspired a whole bunch of people and taught them to face their fears head on. Not only did Mark rock through the race, he raised a jaw dropping R91,400.00!
> Richard Laskey Rich had been doing races for charity solo for almost a decade before the Cows were conceived. It made perfect sense that he become a part of the first herd, which rode in 2008. He has tested every ultra endurance limit and is an expert on racing in animal regalia. He has also done the Comrades dressed in a dog suit – he understood suffering. As life often does, Richard was thrown a curveball while working like a Trojan on the Cow committee. His wife, Melanie, was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumour that would require immediate expert surgery, followed by chemotherapy. During these toughest of times, Richard kept plugging away selflessly with his Cow committee duties, ensuring that this setback would not affect the Cow drive. Following the success of the CHOC Cows, an appeal was made from Richard’s running club, the Bedfordview Country Club that had also gladly donated several of its members to the herd, to the 94.7 radio station and its Christmas Wish programme. Celebrity DJs, Jeremy Mansfield and Sam Cowan, together with the Christmas Wish team, elected to honour Richard at the 94.7 Christmas Concert at the Dome for all the incredible work he had done for charity, by assisting him with his wife’s ever-increasing medical expenses. The main cause for concern here was to ensure that the Laskey’s didn’t donate the money back to CHOC. It was highly likely that this would cross their minds. There were very few dry eyes at the Dome that night.
THE ROAD AHEAD It’s rather exciting and nerve-racking as to how such a movement can be controlled. It’s all about getting the right people on board and injecting sufficient attitude and energy into a group of people, to get the job done. The Cows do not go gentle into that good night, so come join the stampede! •
For more about the Cows and their amazing quest, visit www.the-cows.co.za
*Sadly, after a long struggle with cancer, Melanie Laskey passed away in October 2010. The DO IT NOW team would like to extend their condolences to Richard and his famlily.
144 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
DO IT NOW | inVOLVED:
Article & photos courtesy of Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)
All smiles from the volunteers on a job well done.
Do It Day: Volunteers from Greater Good South Africa and KFM Radio’s Ground Patrol team joined up with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) in October at Princess Vlei, in Cape Town, to help out at the WESSA’s ‘Do It Day’ event. Do It Day is an annual one-day volunteer initiative coordinated by the Greater Good Trust, which aims to encourage South Africans to roll up their sleeves, get involved and do something constructive in their community. Armed with pitch forks, gloves, spades and heaps of enthusiasm, the group tackled alien vegetation along the banks of the vlei such as the highly-invasive Port Jackson and Patterson’s Curse, collected loads of litter and planted indigenous Suurvye. Sadly, the vlei is currently under threat of commercial development, with a shopping centre having been proposed for the eastern bank. This land, co-incidentally, consists of special acidic soils that support the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. Furthermore, the area surrounding the vlei is a popular recreational area for the local community and has significant cultural and historical significance. For these reasons, organisations like WESSA, the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance and concerned local residents are strongly opposing the proposed development.
All hands in the sand: Planting indigenous Suurvye on the banks of the vlei.
WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is a leading membership-based conservation and environmental education NGO that has been working for nearly 85 years to ensure environmental sustainability for current and future South African generations. The organisation works through a strong network of partners, professionals and Friends’ Groups on the ground. It carries out projects in areas of need and addresses important ecological issues such as global climate change, the destruction of our natural resources, polluted and degraded water systems, biodiversity impacts and unsustainable living practices. WESSA’s mission is to promote public participation in caring for the earth. •
Just three hours of getting ‘down and dirty’ was enough to make a notable difference and the volunteers left the vlei with a real sense of fulfillment, knowing that their efforts had contributed towards a larger initiative - the Dressing of the Princess. This project is aimed at restoring Princess Vlei to its original beauty for the benefit of the community.
Visit www.wessa.org.za to learn more about the organisation, and we urge you to support their work by getting involved and help make a difference.
Grappling with aliens: Philippa Huntly (WESSA) and Terence Mentor (KFM Ground Patrol) look on as Dylan Edwards (Greater Good) tries to remove the roots of a Port Jackson tree.
www.doitnow.co.za Lifestyle >> 145
"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." William A. Ward
In our next issue, look out for more fantastic adventure, sporting and lifestyle stories. Here’s a little taste of what you can look forward to ...
SA National Track Championships Yvette Victor-Van den Berg talks about this year’s South African National Track Championships (track cycling). Held in October at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town it was a showcase of the very best talent on offer locally. The racing was fast and exciting, and had some of these awesome riders been given the chance to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, South Africa would surely have taken home a few extra medals – especially in the Ladies Team Sprint event.
- A Jewel of the East (ern bloc) By Steven Yates The magnificent coastline and plethora of islands means that sailing the Croatian coast is one of the best ways to experience all that is on offer. We were two of 22 friends to embark on the Mihovel, our yacht, for six glorious days of care-free fun. We were heading for The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction, which was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls set in deep woodlands, and populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. This watery wonderland is accessible by a well-laid out system of wooden walkways that allow visitors to get close to the crystal clear waters, and is a place that will remain forever etched in my memories.
Surfing every day ... "I suppose we all have our own reasons for getting wet. Some of us grow up surfing, while others, like me, didn’t start until the age of 11 or 12, but have surfed almost every day since that very first wave". Follow Johann Kriek on his watery journey and find out why surfing has gotten under his skin ...
Robert goes golfing every Saturday. One Saturday, he comes home three hours late. His wife asks him, “What took you so long?” Robert says, “That was the worst game of golf I’ve ever had. We got up to the first tee, and Charlie hit a hole-in-one and immediately dropped dead of a heart attack.” Robert’s wife says, “That’s terrible!” Robert says, “I know. Then, for the rest of the game, it was hit the ball, drag Charlie, hit the ball, drag Charlie, hit the ball, drag Charlie ...”
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, the Founder and Team cannot except responsibility for any errors that may appear, or for any consequence of using the information contained herein. Statements by contributors are not always representative of the Founder’s opinion. Copyright 2009 DO IT NOW (Pty) Ltd. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form or stored on a retrieval system without the prior permission of the Founder. DO IT NOW supports and encourages responsible practices with regards to all Adventure, Sport and Lifestyle activities. We also believe in the conservation and protection of all fauna and flora.
146 >> DO IT NOW December/January 2011
Inside Back Cover
Published on Dec 1, 2010
DO IT NOW was created in 2005 as an Adventure Company by Francois Flamengo and Paul Carrick. Its initial purpose was to offer clients trips...