Running through the dimly lit, breath taking Cango Caves can only be a trail runner’s dream, and once again that became reality for every participant on the first day of the Fairview Dryland Traverse. Team Everfit, being more accustomed to the intense triathlon vibe, found the relaxed attitude of the trail running fraternity a welcome change.
Excitement was high for every runner as the teams and solo entrants were set off in a staggered start by Carel Bezuidenhoudt with his usual enthusiastic style. The steps and tracks through the Cango Caves did not come without peril. Moist and dripping water created exceptionally slippery areas where a firm grip on the step rails were a saving grace. Rule number one was to measure and observe every step with exaggerated caution. The dimly lit walls of the caves perched eerily up high over the runners and despite our intense focus, we all were awed by the magnificence of this natural wonder.
Soon enough we exited the caves into bright daylight to start the climb up and over the mountain towards De Hoek Mountain resort, where our comfy tented accommodation was waiting. The first hill reminded us of what would be waiting the next day, climbing, climbing and more climbing. After a stint of huffing and puffing up the mountain, Team Everfit had the pleasure of the fast jeep track downhill towards De Hoek. We were directed onto the tar road for the last kilometre towards De Hoek and did our best to trot down the finishing chute in style. Team EverFit had the fortune to finish 3rd in the mixed category, sharing the podium with Christiaan and Landie Greyling, SA trail superstars.
Team Everfit will be on the start line tomorrow with trepidation, nervous anticipation and deep breaths for the 1st stage of the Fairview Dryland Traverse, crossing and traversing the Swartberg Pass. 27 Kilometres of serious trail running with 1250 metres of climbing awaits us.
Stay tuned for the war stories of Stage 1. Now for some good sleep!