Well! OK, this post should’ve been posted 2 months ago, but I’ve been busy (lol, ok not *that* busy), and just generally lazy posting it. But it needs to happen so I can continue on with other things!
I left the tour with about 3 weeks left and fast forwarded to Cape Town, definitely the favourite big city I spent any time in in Africa, and possibly one of my favourite cities in the world now! It was pretty incredible!
Day 1 started with me looking for a bit of food and trying to find a spot to take a picture of Table Mountain from. I kept walking closer and eventually found a trail up the mountain, then a sign telling of two routes you could take, one hard and one easier. The hard route recommended being well prepared and not doing it alone and talked of hand-holds and climbing rocks to get up… All I had was my phone and a 500mL bottle of diet Coke, but I chose the hard route. I figured there’d probably be people on it and any poor weather that surprised me would still be pretty good for a Canadian… lol.
Anyways, some 3 hours after I left my hostel I found myself on top of Table Mountain looking down on the most amazing views of both Cape Town downtown (and port) and Camps Bay. It was AMAZING! One of the best hikes of my life, and I was so ill prepared for it. On the way down I took the easier route, which had about a billion steps in the rock and 100s of tourists climbing up asking me how far it was… It was sad to tell people it’d be at least 45min more when they were clearly suffering… But I hope they did it! It was well worth the climb! I’m just so amazed that I could leave my hostel downtown and find myself on top of an 1100 meter mountain a few hours later!
The next day I walked down to the water and around Lions Head to find myself in the richer part of town and eventually Camps Bay, though really Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton, etc were all rich areas of town. I was pretty flabbergasted by the show of wealth here in CT after months in the rest of Africa where poverty was everywhere.
After exploring the beach and relaxing in Camps Bay a bit I decided that it was too great an opportunity to not run through the pass between Lions Head and Table Mountains, and did just that. I followed Kloof Rd up the 250ish meters to the pass and then came down the other side, I think about 5 or 6k to the hostel from there. A great run, and my last run in Africa. I ran at least once in every country I spent at least a night in (ie. not Zimbabwe, though I did ride my bike there).
The next day I had signed up for a tour of the Cape Peninsula, mostly to see the penguins, but also semi-excited about what else this tour had to offer. I was not disappointed! Such a great day! I met a great new friend, Nathalie, on the tour, and finally had someone to eat a dinner with on Long Street that night. Along the way in the day, we went on a small boat ride to see seals, followed by the penguins, a 12k mountain bike ride along paved roads in the national park at the end of the Peninsula, a climb up to the Cape Point Lighthouse, and then a visit to the SW-most point of Africa… Cape of Good Hope. Pictures of all this follows!
Overall I’m glad I left the tour when I did. I missed some fun times it sounded like, but the riding got hellish and offroad again, which I would not have been ready for (remember people, if you’re reading this thinking about doing a TDA trip in the future, make sure to install cross-brakes on your bike if all you’ve got are roadie ones, omg! Could’ve saved so much trouble for me)… I’m glad I got to experience Cape Town in the warm and sunny time and not the rain that it sounds like TDA’rs got…
The tour was a great experience, and I met a lot of great people and saw a lot of great things. I just don’t think I was ready to do 4 months of the same thing every day, and it killed me in the end.
While away I chatted almost daily with Danielle from back home here in Calgary, who started as a friend from tri club (Talisman) and ended up as a girlfriend, and since returning most of our days have been filled with training for Challenge Penticton, the old Ironman Canada course (3.8k swim, 180k bike, 42.2k run), coming up August 24. This has included going on the Elbow Valley Cycling Club’s 3 day 320k ride from Castle Mountain to Radium Hot Springs to Golden BC to Castle Mountain, a weekend in Penticton for Danielle’s birthday where we rode most of the Challenge bike course, and about 10 other workouts per week. My swimming is at an all-time best, I’d say, at least since I was in Cascade swim club as a little kid (circa 1992). Two weekends ago we ran Chinook Triathlon at Midnapore Lake (Olympic distance) and I set an 8 minute PB off last year’s time, even with a horrible T1. More on that later. Looking forward we have the Sinister 7 relay race, Calgary 70.3, and then Challenge Penticton on August 24. Hopefully life will settle down a bit more then and we’ll have more spare time. We get about 3-4 hours together a week of complete downtime where we’re not training actively or wolfing down a meal starved for calories. Long rides on the weekend have now hit 160k (a daily ride in Africa, sure, but tougher when combined with speed, interval, run, swim workouts, etc). And trying to have a life too!
PICTURES! And then later, more updates on my life and training!