So yesterday (Saturday 24 June) I completed my 2nd Ocean to Ocean trail run and ticked off another great training run on the Cape Peninsula Trails. The Ocean to Ocean is a guided trail run by Dirk McIntosh and Barry Washkansky (@washer77) from Muizenberg Beach to Camps Bay taking in many of the trails that stretch from Kalk Bay Mountains through Silvermine and then across Table Mountain. Participants are expected to be self supported although there are 2 major stops at Constantia Nek and Silvermine Dam where there are refreshment tables. It is 50kms of trail running bliss and has become without a doubt my favourite run to take part in. The Ocean 2 Ocean is not a race but rather a group run that is done at a moderate pace and with similar minded trail enthusiasts. No egos, no pressure, no competition but rather plenty of conversation, good humour and sharing of stories and experience on trail running.
It was the 3rd running of the Ocean 2 Ocean this year as there were many people still needing a PUFfeR qualifier and for a change the organisers decided to do the run in reverse starting from Camps Bay and finishing in Kalk Bay. An area had been booked for us at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay for a couple of after run drinks and some much needed food. It was a great opportunity for me to up my training and get some serious time on the legs. I decided to also use it as an opportunity to play with my nutrition in preparation for longer distance events
I arrived at 5:15am for the run briefing and a large group of 40 plus runners took to the trails at 5:30am in quite chilly and misty conditions. I chatted with some of the familiar faces in the dark including @ghaleednortje who was taking part in his first O2O. We departed and headed upwards quickly hooking up with the pipe track and followed it in the dark towards Corridor Ravine (a new trail for me) to ascend Table Mountain. The ascent was cold with visibility quite bad and the chill factor was to the bone. Once on top we ran across the Twelve Apostles pausing often to ensure that our group were still together. In the darkness on a short descent approximately above Hells Gates it was eerie looking back and watching the many headtorches bobbing along like fireflies. We headed towards the Old Railway track to link up with the path taking us through Echo Valley to Maclears Beacon. We hit the boardwalks and rocky trail to Maclears and had a great run across although the way was slippery and I was among those that wiped out. We stopped briefly at Maclears Beacon and regrouped before heading to the first major stop at Constantia Nek via Smuts track.
From Smuts track we hit Claytons Road and then descended on the Hoerikwaggo Trail.
As ever the first major stop at the Nek was well stocked with tea, coffee, water and plenty of food for those that needed.
I was still defrosting a little and had a much needed cup of rooibos tea and a couple of cheese sandwiches. It was just over roughly 16km we had covered and we still had a long way to go but it had taken us over 3 hours.
It was great to chat with some of the other runners including fellow Satorian and experienced Trail Runner Ross Macgregor. We regrouped and Dirk decided to split us into 2 groups with a slightly stronger group heading off first.
We headed off from the Nek straight up Vlakkenberg and then descended towards level 5 via Boekenhoutkloof and the single track that hugs the mountainside above Constantiaberg.
Just before level 5 we headed up a single track to level 6 which is a nice fast single track in amongst the pines and took us the Elephants Eye trail. Once there we had a short break and took on some water from a small waterfall and headed up to Constantiaberg Mast.
We were now halfway and the ascent up to the mast was slow going with plenty of tired legs.
At the mast we didn’t hang around as it was very chilly and we descended to the valley below.
Not stopping to take in the views at Blackburn Ravine we continued up into the clouds on the Skyline Panorama Path across Noordhoek Ridge towards Noordhoek Peak. There wasn’t much of a view to take in as it was still quite cloudy up top and I was thankful that I had done that section recently with @beanker on a clear day. From Noordhoek Peak we tracked back along the jeep track to link up with a single track that took us along the Amphitheatre path to Crassula and down to Silvermine Dam.
It was at this point that I caught up with Waldo whom I had run a 40km Matt100 training run with the previous weekend and we had a lengthy catch up. The clouds were lifting as we descended and there were some views finally on offer.
At Silvermine Dam car park we were greeted with a round of applause for our efforts and for not keeping the refreshment table waiting any longer.
We took a break and chatted amongst ourselves and as it was nearly 2pm and the sun was finally out I packed away my jacket, running tights and long sleeved top. I had suffered a low sugar dip during the ascent up to Silvermine Mast and was thankful after taking on some @hammerSA Perpetuem tabs that I was feeling myself again. I had some more tea and a couple of snacks and was ready for the last leg. The second group arrived as we were leaving and were only 15 minutes behind us.
From the carpark we took the Silvermine River Walk down to Ou Kaapse Weg and crossed to take the jeep track past the waterfall and then onto the Cave Peak trail up onto Kalk Bay mountains.
We ascended through Echo Valley and then began the descent down towards the finish at the Brass Bell a popular coastal bar and restaurant sitting next to Kalk Bay Reef (a popular surfing spot). It seemed a shame as we were on nearly 45kms (according to my Garmin) and I was having a 2nd wind (read 3rd) and I was feeling super strong and ready to keep going. Hopefully a good sign that I am getting stronger and more trail fit.
After taking Weary Willys path down to Boyes Drive we meandered down to the main road and onto the Brass Bell.
We entered the Brass Bell much to the surprise of many of the people that were already enjoying an afternoon drink and some food.
It must have looked quite a sight as a dozen of us came into the bar clad in our running gear and all with hydration packs. They all looked slightly bemused as to where we had come from or what we had been up to. Many of our families and friends arrived to join us for a recap of our day out and to catch some of the South Africa v England rugby.
@beanker arrived and I headed to the tidal pool for a quick swim and to apply some cold water to my legs.
I had many disbelieving looks from the patrons in the Bikini Bar as I stripped off to dive in. It was freezing and I confirmed as much to the onlookers that were waiting for a reaction. I stayed in a while before hypothermia set in then got changed and headed back inside to enjoy a drink, some food, conversation and plenty of laughs with the other Ocean 2 Ocean Runners. It had been a great day out and another great training run.
The Ocean 2 Ocean is normally run in April and sometimes a 2nd one is run in May. I would highly recommend it to any of those that enjoy a challenge and love to be out on the trails of our beautiful Cape Peninsula.
View my Garmin 310XT record of the run here