50km of ocean paddling. Well done to each and all who finished this epic race!
After paddling the Cape Town Downwind series of races, I hung about the Mother City for one of my favourite races, the Cape Point Challenge. It is one of only a handful of one-day ultra distance surf ski races in South Africa. It is always well organised by the Fish Hoek Surf Life saving crowd, and since they changed the format from biannual to every year, it has really grown in popularity. I think just over 200 crazy people lined up at Scarborough Beach at 0530 on Saturday morning, to test themselves against 50km of the toughest ocean conditions.
I have done 5 CPC’s, and won 4. All of them have been unique, and all of them have been tough. 2012 will stand out for me for a number of reasons.
1. The field was incredible, and making a Top 20 looked hard (I have come 12th Overall before, this year I was only 36th)
2. There was a sprint finish for the men’s race (after 50km of racing, to come down to a sprint finish is incredible)
3. After a relatively calm start, the NW wind was blowing ever so slightly, and the runs were there, but were they worth it? They definitely offered a little bit of assistance, however, were demanding quite a bit of my much-needed energy to be able to catch. Worth the extra effort? Quite a game changer.
4. The headwind that battered us the whole way home (25km) was enough for me to utter the words “if you get to the finish Mich, you NEVER have to paddle again”! Weighing a less than the male paddlers, and having less strength, I really suffered into the wind. I just relied on the fact that my competition was suffering with me!
5. Besides it being a really tough year, all I heard at the finish were positive stories from all the paddlers, and they really were a bunch of stoked ACHIEVERS!
And that was that, my 4th win, Hank’s 3rd in the men’s event.
Results are below.
Hope everyone had a super Festive Season and a good rest. 2013 is going to be AWESOME!!!!
1.Hank McGregor 4:02.27
2.Sean Rice 4:02.28
3.Grant van der Walt 4:02.29
4.Simon van Gysen 4:02.35
5.Jasper Mocké 4:02.45
6.Richard von Wildemann 4:02.46
7.Dawid Mocké 4:02.48
8.Len Jenkins 4:08.00
9.Tom Schilperoort 4:08.20
10.Barry Lewin 4:09.38
11.Kenny Rice (U18) 4:09.55
12.Ashley Carstens 4:15.23
13.Brandon van der Walt 4:15.54
14.Ernest van Riet 4:17.04
15.Craig Flanagan (U18) 4:17.18
16.Ben Brown 4:17.24
17.Justin Maddock 4:17.27
18.Bruce Neill 4:17.29
19.Adam Bothma 4:17.37
20.Paul Marais 4:17.39
1.Michéle Eray 4:32.06
2.Nikki Mocké 4:40.28
3.Bianca Beavitt 4:48.39
4.Angie Mouden (FRA) 4:51.02
5.Kerry Louw 4:53.57
1.Kenny Rice 4:09.55
2.Craig Flanagan 4:17.18
3.Dominic Notten 4:18.31
1.Shaun Rubenstein/Steve Farrell 3:54.31
2.Ant Stott/Graeme Solomon 3:55.07
3.Bevan Manson/Kyle Friedenstein 3:56.12
It’s nearly time for me to get back to Cape Town for some ski racing.
First up is the National Championships, on Sunday 16th December, followed by the doubles race the following day. I am paddling with Nikki Mocke, and am looking forward to a catch up!
Then a week later we have the 20th anniversary of the Cape Point Challenge. A mammoth 49km awaits us, and rounding the Cape Point is truly a special event.
Having probably done the least amount of Cape Point (read 50km) Specific Training this year, I had no idea how I would go, actually, I knew I would go well until 25km, it was the other 25km that I had no idea about!
The weather predictions were moderate, no real wind and pretty small swell. I got seeded into B Batch, along with Nikki. We had a really civil start and the pace remained like that most of the first half. When A Batch came past we made the most of their wash and had a free (although short) ride! Just before the Point, Jayden went hard, and I went with him through the kelp beds. We opened up a little gap, and the others had to work to catch back up. Rounding this iconic landmark is truly special, especially in a relatively small craft, powered only by yourself! It always makes me remember how unique this sport is, and how lucky I am to call it my job!
Once we had passed the boat that served as a check point, Jayden went quite deep. I went a more direct line. the runs (leftover from the week before’s South Easterly wind) were pushing in towards Buffel’s Bay. Tempting to go for them, but they were going too inshore, as well as being pretty hard work for not much reward. I chose rather to catch only the bigger ones and work them as right as possible. I saw Nikki going way inside of me, but I trusted my line. I caught Jayden before Smits, and we sat together until just after Miller’s Point. Then the little bugger opened up a 500m gap on me! I really felt strong, and actually started enjoying myself. The decision to take only ice-cold water, and use PVM’s Octane Gels was a good one, as the water was so refreshing, and the gels provided enough carb’s to keep me going (not to mention caffeine-check out their new Chocolate flavoured, caffeine added Energy Gels!)
Just after Miller’s Point (about 10km to go) I had a mini meltdown. I suppose my distance training had not been enough,so I just tried focusing on my technique, and rewarding myself with little sips of water and splash of cold Indian Ocean water over my face and neck every 500m. I have never sat in a ski for so long, without a foam butt pad of sorts. The NeloSki was great, no dead leg, and no discomfort. Lucky for me:) It also managed to dip onto all those “hard to catch” little runs that were popping up every now and then.
The last 5km from the Lighthouse were long, and I was super happy to cross the finish line. I finished in 12th position Overall in 4:09, and first in the Women’s race. I am really happy with this result, it is also my 3rd win in a row at the Cape Point. Nikki was 2nd just over 5 minutes back, and Bianca Beavitt was 3rd.
Thanks to Keith Fenn for being supporting sponsor, and to Richard and Pete and the guys from Fish Hoek LSC for putting on a great race!
I drove straight from there to the Breede River, to be a part of Abbey and Chad’s wedding. What a beautiful venue, special people and overall, a fantastic weekend !
Yesterday was the Discovery/Sunglass Hut Surf Ski Series final party and prize giving. I unfortunately couldn’t make it, but I won the Series Title for the 3rd year in a row. I also made Elite Grade, and I think that is the first time a female has made the Men’s Elite!
Now I am back in Plett, and the Silly Season is upon us. The town is bustling with holiday makers. It’s a really great vibe. I have a few local events in the holidays, and then it’s off to Perth for The Doctor Ski Race. It’s one I have never done, and I am itching to get over there!
Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays!
Owen Middleton sent me this great photo from the Cape Point Challenge. Check out www.owenm.smugmug.com/events for more great shots.
That was a proper Challenge! Well done to all those who finished, as it was surely one of the tougher one’s in recent history. Pete Cole had to make the call to start in Simon’s Town, as the NSRI safety boats were battling to get to the Point in the wind and swell. So we started at Longbeach, Simon’s Town, and paddled to Buffel’s, where we ran around a flag on the beach, and then headed out for the final 5km of Head Wind to a marker buoy at Cape Point, then home in the fading Down wind to Fish Hoek Beach. 50km in total.
The Head Wind section was hhhard! The wind was relentless, and when I looked at my GPS and saw 7min/km pace, I realised we were in for a long day! It got better as we approached a more protected part of the Peninsula, to my relief. The part past Smitswinkels Bay was very bumpy, but at least there was the possibility of catching some small rebounds there. unfortunately Buffels claimed a few broken rudders, and DNF’s.
The last 5km to the Point were not my strongest, and I started feeling sea-sick. When we finally turned for the home stretch, the wind actually died a bit, but the leftover runs were pretty fun. I was super happy to go past the Lighthouse as I knew I had 5km to go! Broken is an understatement, but pumped to win my 2nd Cape point Challenge in a row, and narrowly missing out on a Top 20 finish by a minute and a half, ending up 21st Overall.
Great organisation by Pete Cole and his team at the Life Saving Club. This is definately one of the Ultra’s you have to put on your Bucket List.
I am back in Plett, looking forward to some down time. Lots of very exciting things on the cards for 2010. I am so pumped for what’s to come, both on the racing front and on the development side. Watch this space!!
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