Running and Riding

Pete has been the most wonderful PT Master / Coach with my running and motivates me to keep improving on what I have already achieved.  Just before I decided to get some viral bug of sorts, we did a couple of runs and rides – they were awesome!

First up was a 20km ride which was mostly road riding – it was wonderful to see how my stamina has improved since I started running although not having ridden for quite a while, my derrière was not very happy.

7.54km run

It doesn’t look like much from the picture but these 7.5km were beautiful!

Then we did a 7.5km trail run which took us onto old closed roads, running alongside sand dunes, had us scaling fences and climbing up and over a few inclines.  Best of all was having a family (herd) of no less than 12 kudu ran across the trail a few meters in front of us.  They are quite majestic when they run considering they are such big antelope.  It was incredible to see them.  They were quite interested in watching us run passed with their big ears listening to our every step.  Pete keeps saying he wants to get a GoPro camera – that way I could share with you exactly what we see.

Long beach ride 1

Next up was another 20km ride which started on beautiful old overgrown dirt roads full of spoor and droppings, we assume kudu, smaller buck, no doubt bushbuck and small wild cats.  The winding gravel track led us to what we thought would be a deserted (or possibly private) piece of land with kilometres of private beach.  Lo and behold there were 3 parked 4×4 SUV vehicles with the occupants spread out on the beach fishing and picnicking.

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First prize to the person who can spot what should not be in the picture.

The only way onto the beach was down a very steep set of wooden steps which were easier to descend than I thought with a bike under one arm and camera under the other.  The ride on the beach was magnificent – we were confident we would find more whale bones but alas we did not.

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We rode on the low water mark where the sand is it’s hardest and then over rocks and pebbles until we had to walk our bikes over a few dunes back to another dirt road where we have ridden before – I remember the steep hills very well, only difference now is I am stronger and can traverse them a lot easier. Yay.

Last up was a 8.2km run which was just before I realised I had a bug.  It would have been the most brilliant run had I not been so tired.  I didn’t know I was as tired as I was until I tried to keep my pace as with previous runs.

Saddest part is the viral whatever it was (yes, I went to the doctor) kept me from running for a whole week!  It was pure hell I tell you.  I was climbing the walls not being able to hit the road for my run.  I am all better now and back into the swing of things.

How’s your exercise routing going?

Riding along the Addo Border

We really are blessed to be living in such a beautiful part of the country, even though the highway is now incredibly close to our home post the new road works and depending on which way the wind is blowing can make for noisy evenings with the traffic buzzing by.

Onto happier things…  just in case you missed my post on the Addo Elephant National Park, it is a mere 2km drive from our home now that they have opened the south gate, a true privilege!  It used to take close to and hour and a half to get into the park before they opened the new gate and just for interests sake, Addo is now the third largest national park in South Africa. 🙂

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Pete and I went on a bike ride adventure which led us right to the border of the park.  Sadly we didn’t see any wildlife, although there was evidence of Elephant as we spotted loads of dung.

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The Addo border fence

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Good thing the gate is electrified as an ellie could easily push its way through

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Elephant dung just the other side of the electric fence

There used to be a railway station bordering the park in Colchester eons ago evident by how overgrown  the tracks are which will make for a beautiful photo shoot – soon I hope.  Somebody must have known the station will never re-open as when they tarred the road, they tarred straight over the tracks – or were they possibly just lazy.

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Overgrown rail tracks

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Tracks intercepted by a road

Late afternoon ride over the N2

I love going off on adventures on my bicycle and when Pete is away I take a friend along for the ride.  We recently took a ride in the late afternoon over the busy N2 towards to new Addo Elephant Park gate (skipped the turning) and carried on over the old Mackay Bridge which has long been closed to traffic but is still safe enough to walk and peddle over.  This used to be the original entrance to Sundays River forever ago (before my time) and I have fond memories of my family telling me their tales of coming out to the river over this old derelict bridge.

You can just see the river in the right of the picture

Beryl was telling me that years ago you could still see the remnants of an original farm house – no sooner were her words out of her mouth when we both spotted it!  Incredible that we could see a wall still standing proud above its thorny bushed tomb.  We just had to go and have a closer look.

We left our bikes at the fence and made our way through the old gate toward what was once a home.  I wish I knew the history of this home and why it came to be deserted.  We were being eaten alive by fierce little brown mosquitoes but nothing was going to put us off investigating further.  Sadly we couldn’t get too close as everything is overgrown with unfriendly spiky foliage.

We assumed that the two pillars  (top right in the photo below) would have been veranda pillars as there would have been the most magnificent unspoilt view of the sand dunes.

We started making our way home when we realised that it was just past 6pm.  My fur children were not at all impressed when I got back home at 18h30 as they had been waiting for their dinner!  All was forgiven after they had had their noms and soon settled down for the night.

Our Awesome 20km Beach Ride

Pete has been talking about us taking our bikes for a walk on the beach where we live for a very long time.  The opportunity has never quite been right, as we would not be able to accomplish our ride if it were high tide.  A couple of weekends ago while enjoying our weekend coffee in bed and watching the weather report,  Pete announced that the times for low tide were perfect even though there was a near gale blowing.  Wind has never put us off before so it was decided, we would finally do “The Ride”.

Pete uploaded the information from his heart rate fitness monitor/GPS thingy and was able to produce this Google image of the route we rode. Must say, it does look very impressive.

I was hoping to take my camera with but realised with the amount of sand that was blowing all around us, it was not a good idea – besides I would want to stop every 3 minutes to take pictures which would have necessitated our having to take an overnight bag too.  Thankfully our mobile phones have cameras so we are able to share a few shots of our adventure.

We left home, took the little dirt road onto the N2 highway until we were over the bridge and hooked a left at the road we know leads to the beach.  Under the barbed wire fencing with our bikes and from here on out was me behind Pete saying, ‘oh “that” would make such a beautiful photograph – we must bring the camera next time.’  We really do live in a beautiful and peaceful part of the country and are very lucky to be able to see so much of it.  We live 2km away from the new gate into the Addo Elephant Park and can proudly say that we are home to the Big 7 – yip 7, the big five, being Black Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo and Leopard and the extra 2 being the humped back whale and the great white shark.

After the barbed wire fence is a lovely gravel road which leads to the pump house on the beach.  Here we are on the beach ready to ride along the water’s edge all the way to the mouth – not knowing yet if we will get a lift across the river.  Worst case scenario we just turn around and come back the way we came.

What a beautiful ride – the water was crystal clear and the hard wet sand made for mostly easy riding – there was the odd soft section…  Every now and again we would hear a popping under our tyres – still not sure what was under the sand – at first I thought it might have been blue bottles but there weren’t any to be seen so it remains a mystery.

And then out of the blue was the biggest bone I have ever seen!  A whale bone – it is huge and stand well over 7 foot high! Pete and I decided it would make an awesome double chair – there are the perfect seat indentations on either side – we are assuming that they are hip bones with the spine bone sticking up into the air.

I would love to go back with my “real” camera and take more shots of this incredible monstrous bone.  Wish I could put it on the back of my bike and bring it home to use as a feature piece in the garden.

We were amazed to see how the mouth of the river has changed – it has been over 3 years since we last saw it.  Luckily we were able to ride most of the way and only had to walk a short distance where the sand was very soft and took our bikes over the pencil bait covered sand to where Pete kindly asked a family if they would take us across the river – I am convinced they thought we are mad coming along on our bicycles out of nowhere.  They were gracious enough to take us and our bikes to the other side and dropped us at the top end of the caravan resort.  It was a lovely ride through the park to where it exits at the local supermarket and post agency.  Ordinarily you aren’t allowed into the park without a day pass – not sure how we would have explained our being there without having actually entered in the first place.

We stopped in at the supermarket for a quick bite to eat – the apples we packed had not quite done the trick on tiding us over until we got home.  In hind sight, stopping was probably not the best idea as we hit MAJOR wind on the way home and felt like we were barely making any progress against mother nature, but we steadily peddled and made it home very satisfied with our efforts.

This was definitely THE BEST RIDE EVER and I cannot wait until we can do it again!

Happy Valley Ride

The weather has REALLY not been playing nicely – we still seem to be stuck in the throes of winter – we honestly have not had more than half a day’s sun in the past few weeks!  I am starting to suffer from sun deprivation and will soon have to start dosing myself with vitamin D if the weather does not improve.

Nothing puts us off riding our bikes though plus we had to test our new bike rack thingy that straps on to the back of the car so off we went for another beach front ride – alas we did not return to the same place for breakfast so have not been able to get you the picture I promised.

We managed to get onto the most wonderful walkway which has previously been blocked off (not sure bikes are allowed) and rode for a good few kilometers which were interrupted every now and again with mini sand dunes that had been blown over the walkway necessitating our having carry our bikes over.  It was a fantastic ride, which reminded me of being on a roller-coaster with all the slow steep ups and fast downs.

We have wanted to ride through Happy Valley but have been unsure if it is still safe – we threw caution to the wind and went to have a look-see.  I have the fondest memories of Happy Valley as a little girl; we would go for a walk in the evenings and the trees would be lit up with pretty lights (I still love seeing trees lit up at night) and you would be drawn into a real life fairytale as the whole area had life sized scenes from fairytale books under all the trees, in the stream and over walkways.  Today though, sadly some delinquent children have broken the arms off some of the models and written revolting things over some of the other displays.  Despite the vandalism it still induced the most wonderful childhood memories. 🙂

I don’t remember ever seeing these stairs and would love to know where they end up – we weren’t too keen to leave our bikes to go and have a look, so we will all just have to use our imaginations of where we would like them to lead.

Everything is so pretty and peaceful.  There are so many elements that I would love to incorporate into our garden – maybe one day when we are big.

We finished our ride with a lovely cup of coffee before heading back home.

Bike Riding on the Beachfront

Since being back home, Pete and I have been riding our bikes at every opportunity (we bought them just before we left for Mauritius so never really had the chance to break them in as it were) and when he isn’t away over weekends on business, we take our bikes for a ride on the beach front in Port Elizabeth.  It is a lovely long ride, not sure how long, possibly around 10km or thereabouts.

It is all very proper and organised with a dedicated lane for bicycles and a separate lane for pedestrians.  We do seem to attract a few peculiar looks though – think it may be because we are the only two cyclists not kitted out in lycra, clip on shoes and helmets.  This is what I was wearing on our first ride – I was very comfortable.

On our second trip, we were the only 2 cyclists out – no, it wasn’t because we were not wearing the lycra gear, it was the weather.  It was blowing a gale, cold and threatening to rain.  Not much can put us off our wanting to get in a ride and we enjoyed a wonderful wind filled ride, stopping for the nicest coffee and breakfast after being very naughty and riding to the end of the pier to take these photos – bicycles are strictly forbidden on the pier.  It was so cold that I was wearing my beanie I knitted a while back and even Pete was wearing a tracksuit top – a very proudly South African Rugby one.

These are the lovely views we enjoy while riding. 😀

We ran out of battery life so were unable to take pics of our coffee and breakfast – fear not, we will go back and in the interest of you, our readers, will have another coffee and breakfast to get those pics. 😉