I entered the Crazy Store Table Mountain Challenge — known affectionately to the trail community as “TMC” — as part of a team this year. The race did not disappoint, and its easy to see why it’s one of the most anticipated events on the trail running calendar. I took part in a team this year (you can enter in teams of three or as an individual competitor), and thoroughly enjoyed the race…
Stunning Cape Town weather welcomed the entrants to the start of the 2010 TMC. Entrants left the start and finish point at Kloof Nek parking lot in their respective categories, and headed across the slopes of Table Mountain to The King’s Blockhouse on the slopes of Devil’s Peak to the first transition point. The second leg followed a slightly more technical, mainly single-track route along the contour path to Constantia Nek.
I took the third leg, setting off from Constantia Nek down through the bottom of Orange Kloof towards Suikerbossie. It’s nice runnable gravel road for a few kilometers before you make your way over the fence to the contour path that runs above the houses of Hout Bay valley. This is a good runnable single track that leads you passed Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine and Myburgh’s Ravine to just before Suikerbossie, where you take a sharp right and climb steeply up Hout Bay Corner. From here you traverse around to Llandudno Ravine. This section really is a hike, and is actually quite enjoyable, and in my mind, easier than the climb up Hout Bay Corner.
It’s a good long haul along the Twelve Apostles to get to Kasteelspoort, where you are rewarded with a bone-shaking descent to the pipe-track. I was making good time on the descent until (it is rumored) the track took a very fast left turn without me and I did a full somersault off the edge of the track into what is most certainly the softest bush on Table Mountain. I was incredibly lucky and escaped my second ever decent trail tumble without as much as a scratch. Fortunately no-one was there to witness it in any way.
The Pipe Track turns out to be in fact the longest, stoniest, most root-infested 5km stretch of trail on Table Mountain. I learned not to underestimate this home-stretch on the VOB training run a few weeks prior to the race, and it’s not a good idea to get too relaxed at this stage after the hammering your legs have just taken descending Kasteelspoort.
A particularly uneven set of stairs brings you down to Tafelberg Road next to the Kloof Nek circle, and then its a short little run up the hill to the parking lot, and the finishing line, where a festive crowd of runners and supporters were lazing in the warm Spring sun: a great end to a first class outing!
Well done to Salomon for Transition Point 2 at Constantia Nek: a well organised, festive affair with a DJ playing some choice dance music. Respec’!
One of the highlights of the event is certainly the prize-giving, presided over by Trevor Ball. Trevor caught me on the morning of the Puffer and gave me a hard time for wearing tights and bright neon gear (I am told this clip has been aired on Trail TV); had I know that less than one month later I would see the man spend a day dressed in a chicken suit, I would have had none of it!
If you have loads of time and plenty of bandwidth to spare, spend some time wading through the official photos on the Oakpics site.