The Fairview Dryland Traverse adventure trail race celebrated its 5th year in 2015 and I was fortunate to take part in this epic Trial Race as a member of Team Endurohub. Four days of trail running up in the mountains, no cell reception and surrounded by other trail nutters… YES PLEASE!
Klein Karoo bound
My intention to follow a training plan to prepare for the multiple days of tough running was there from the start. But injuries tend to spring up on you when you least expect it, so I was left with about two weeks of running following a month off thanks to a bad ankle sprain.
But I was confident my body could take the beating that the Klein Karoo would be handing out over the four event days. I was in for an adventure alright!
I arrived at the race village in the De Hoek Mountain Resort after the 6 hour journey from Cape Town. Registration was quick and I made myself comfortable in the tent area. The party vibe kicked up immediately in the race village which welcomed participants from all over SA, as well as some international entrants.
At 4pm we were shuttled to the start at the Cango Caves. Each runner (or team) would be let loose in 20 second intervals to run the first kilometre in the caves and then follow 7kms of undulating trail back to De Hoek.
This stage was referred to as a “leg loosener” by race director Bernard le Roux, but the combination of the 34°C heat, plus some serious humidity, had me huffing and puffing all the way home.
I last visited the Cango Caves in primary school and now (many moons later) I was trotting through, ducking under low ceilings and keeping the legs pumping over the many stairs through the halls of the caves past the millennia-old rock formations. The humidity in the caves hits you immediately and it can get a bit slippery underfoot, especially where there is water across the path.
You exit the caves, run through the admin buildings and then onto a short section of road before hitting the trail.
A few little streams separated each rise and run on the undulating path, requiring runners to be nimble as they hopped over them. Most of the way was runnable and not really technical with only two big hills to climb – each of which had their own fast paced descent that followed.
There were a few times on the run when the conditions won and the dry heat beat me down. It was our first taste of the tough conditions to expect over the weekend.
The Klein Karoo takes no prisoners.
We exited the trail onto a short section of road which lead to the the entrance of De Hoek, ran through the camp site and then over the finish line.
As soon as I tagged myself to complete the prologue, it was off to the pool to cool down after a helluva tough run. This weekend was definitely going to be challenging…
Have you taken part in the Fairview Dryland Traverse and lived to tell your tale? Feel free to share your comments below.