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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

This was definitely a very busy weekend. It was jam-packed with sporting related goodness! Plus, each day I managed to walk over 10 miles (15KM) in steps, plus whatever other random activities I did. Well, I think I still get some steps from cycling on some of my watches. Anyway, off to the goodness!

1) Welcome to my Cape Town office:

Since I only had four interesting things this weekend, I figured I’d give you a small look at my temporary office in Cape Town. And by ‘my office’, I mean, the chair I occupy roughly three days a week. The other days I’m either working from the Airbnb or out and about on the road.

In any case, last year when we did our three-month Australia trip we specifically got an Airbnb that had an extra room I converted into an office. But this year in Cape Town we couldn’t quite find a house that fit the budget and timelines that had all those things (renting a house for 4-5 weeks is somewhat tricky, since someone else grabbing even a single weekend before you kills that as an option).

So for an office space this year I’m just working out of a co-working space. There doesn’t seem to be any of the big brands like WeWork or others down here, but rather some smaller local brands. No biggie, it actually works out better since it’s super cheap comparatively and it’s nice and quiet.  Most days we work from this desk. Here’s The Girl working on accounting.

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And then sometimes I get lucky and if the conference rooms are empty they’ll ‘upgrade me’ to let me use the conference room for half a day or so:

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Essentially, it’s like a first class upgrade except without the food or flat bed. Or alcohol. Actually, we do get free coffee from the coffee bar barista dude, so that’s cool. As for the kids during this time? They hang out with family that came over.

Oh, and here’s my trainer room:

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It’s at the house on the porch. And now you’ve seen my entire portable setup (I brought the trainer with me).

Relo-ing to another city for a month or two works well for me this time of year, since for the most part the products I’m working on are small (watches, bike computers) and it’s easier to test them in nicer weather, versus something like the middle of September or October would be impossible due to the size and quantity of trainers that typically consume my life that time of year.

2) Riding up Signal Hill:

Speaking of offices and riding, turns out that on Friday afternoons the co-working space closes at 3PM. So I took that opportunity to go riding up Signal Hill. This is the mountain/hill thing that sits in between the water/downtown Cape Town and the famed Table Mountain. It’s also home to Lion’s Head peak/mountain, which shoots up even higher (but lacks a road).

I left the waterfront and then started my ascent upwards. Most of the time it was between 8-11% in grade, with the vast majority of the first chunk being 10-11% on winding roads. While there was some car traffic, it wasn’t too bad at all.

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Then I turned off onto the national park road. The cars all but evaporated at that point, and in fact the climbing wasn’t as steep anymore either.

It’s here that I’d cut along the edge of the mountain, including through areas that were recently burned in a big fire two weeks ago:

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After which I’d hit up the summit for a quick look around:

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You could easily make out the triathlon setup down below in blue:

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And then it was a brisk ride back down to the water for a quick pic or thirty:

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If I hadn’t spent time taking photos, and was a bit more confident in descending that specific route, could probably do the whole thing round-trip in under an hour. Here’s my Strava activity from it.

3) Racing a 5K with a Double Stroller:

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On late Saturday afternoon I ran a 5K race with a few thousand other people, plus two. And by that I mean I loaded the Peanuts up on the very much non-rolling stroller and threw down. And came in 10th.

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More on that in a maybe-race-report soon. It was hilarious. Including the off-roading.

4) Mountain biking up to see…nothing:

Early Sunday morning I drove about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town to meet up with a few guys and go mountain biking. The plan was to ride to the top of some peak/mountain and see all that there was to see. Mountains, valleys, aqua bays down below, beaches, lions, great white sharks. The works.

In reality, this is all I ever saw:

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Fog. Just fog and lots of very windy and very wet fog.

Still, it was fun. It was a fairly relentless climb up in terms of grade, with my Garmin mostly between 10% and 14% grades. It was also my annual reminder on how to pedal a mountain bike up a hill on loose gravel at times.

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Oh, here’s my bike. It’s the front one:

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When riding most trails here in South Africa you’ve gotta ride with buddies, else bad things happen. So, buddies I had. Everyone else I saw out riding was in groups as well. Same goes for hiking.

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As an aside, I had brought with me the DJI OSMO Pocket on a chest mount in an attempt to do some comparison shots vs a GoPro while mountain biking.

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But the precipitation was so strong out of the fog that the lens would be covered in water droplets within 30 seconds or so of riding. Kinda crazy. After the ride we were drenched, not from sweat, but the fog. Thankfully it was warm fog-rain, so it wasn’t much of a bother. Plus, the lack of visibility gave me an excuse as to why I descended slower than a slug.

5) Watched the ITU Triathlon

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Finally, I wrapped up Sunday chasing a bunch of fit people in swimsuits that were swimming, cycling, and running around central Cape Town. The Cape Town ITU is the first event on the ITU calendar, and was actually a sprint. ITU is the short-course professional triathlon realm, and what ultimately ends up being what you see in the Olympics (except in that case it’s the longer, ‘Olympic distance’ variant). In this case the athletes did a 750m swim, 20KM bike, and a 5KM run. Age groupers that competed earlier in the morning however could have done either the sprint or the Olympic distances (which is double the sprint).

In any case, the women went off at 2:15PM, and then the men at 4:30PM. The swim was held in the harbor, right in front of the V&A Waterfront, making it a great spectator spot. And then the bike course did four loops around the stadium area, before ultimately wrapping up with a two-looped run course inside the greener areas of the stadium.

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We watched both the men’s and women’s, and you could pretty easily walk between the different parts. It wasn’t quite like some of the ITU World Cup Olympic distance events where you could sit still and watch everything, but it was pretty easy to get around.

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In an ITU event the athletes actually run and ride through the transition area itself, making for incredibly quick transitions. They also have specialized posts where their bikes park, and each athlete has a bucket for their stuff.

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They were having some issues with a power outage at the start of the Men’s race and actually had to delay the men’s start by 15 minutes or so. In that small amount of time, the winds picked up actually causing athletes to have to do a gear check. Many had to re-collect all their things in T1 and get them back at the right athlete’s post (at the swim area).

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All in all good stuff, and the kiddos had a fun time cheering for the cyclists and runners too (tho, they did fall asleep at the swim portion).

With that – thanks for reading, and have a good week ahead!

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31 Comments

  1. Taff Tanner

    Did you have a power meter on the double stroller?

  2. Andrea

    Hi Ray,
    I think you have the chain of your bike is to much loose.

  3. Steve Anderson

    Welcome to the fairest Cape Ray, you rode past our large group coming back down from Silvermine, have to agree the view was sadly not what we are used to there. Hopefully you get another chance to go up there!! if you get a chance, go and do the kirstenbosch trail.

  4. The Real Bob

    Interesting tidbit about the crime in the park. I wouldn’t have guessed that would have been the spot for crime. Can you respond to the who what where why on that? Or post a link about it.

    Oh, and I hate you! 10th pushing a double stroller. That is ridiculous. It reminds me of the time I am on my road bike coming up rock creek park putting on a pretty good pace. Then a hippy looking dude in a flannel and jeans on some type of bike that looks like it was held together with duck tape and hemp passes me and says good morning. I have never felt so impressed by someone and bad about my own fitness at the same time.

    Thanks
    Bob

    • Robin

      On one of the popular climbs here in Christchurch (link to strava.com) I was passed by a guy on a Brompton bike. I felt much the same as you.

    • Scott E

      Actually, Ray is bragging a bit as he actual came in 12th.

      P1 and P2 took 10th and 11th. Congrats to them for making it all the way through without a major meltdown!

    • Happy Runner

      That piqued my curiosity also. Googled it. Apparently it is common for hikers even in groups to be robbed and gratuitously knifed causing terrible injury. One article discussed a group of nine hikers stabbed during a robbery while hiking. Another article described elderly tourists knifed despite cooperating with the robbery. The level of violence was shocking in the articles I read, especially since it seemed unnecessary to complete the robbery.

    • Indeed. Crime is very legit here, and a huge concern. That sign I showed is at every single trailhead in every park, even the biggest and most popular parks in central Cape Town (Table Mountain National Park).

      And almost everyone I’ve talked to can tell of being robbed or their friends being robbed while out riding/hiking.

      Folks here have made it abundantly clear to us never to ride/hike off-road alone. End of story. It’s really sad.

  5. Nighthawk700

    Looking forward to your review of the DJI Osmo Pocket. Still hoping to find a camera solution to use when running. Someone had suggested the Nikon Keymission 80, but looking for other solutions as well.

    • Was out doing running shots/tests this evening with it in fact.

      It honestly depends on which direction you’re pointing it. If pointing it at yourself, I just find it too zoomed in. Even for general non-sports vlogging purposes I think it’s too zoomed in to be practical in most scenarios where it’s not awkward (and I have really long arms), unless you’ve got it on an extension of some sorts.

      However, if facing the other direction, it’s pretty sweet.

    • Nighthawk700

      Nice!!! Definitely don’t need videos of sweaty me huffing and puffing. But if I do the Jerusalem Marathon next year (as I’m hoping!!), I want to record some of the things as I pass by.

    • Michael Falk

      The gopro 7 black should do the trick..

  6. Peter Speight

    The ‘5 random Things’ posts don’t get as much love in the comment section as most of your gear reviews, but I love to read them and see what random stuff you & your family have been up to. Thanks for posting these!

  7. gingerneil

    Any parkruns near you?

  8. Raf Castillo

    Caption for the double stroller photo.

    “Papa, we’re going to do what now?”

  9. Claus Jacobsen

    still in cape town at the end of March? – You should definately go see the Cape Epic race. The amount of world class XC, CX and roadies joining this year is amazing. Live coverage streamed from crossbikes following the riders is quite a spectacle.

    • Sadly we’ll be back home by then. We looked at staying for the Cape Epic, but didn’t want to take the kids out of school quite that long, mainly so they don’t forget all Dutch by then.

  10. Milt MacFarlane

    Ray our small city here 20,000 in Oz the local library rents out rooms, maybe that might be better than looking for offices, also gives the peanuts 🥜 a never ending supply of material to muck around with

  11. Ask your local friends to take you mountain biking in the Jonkershoek forestry… it’s super pretty. There’s also the Tygerberg (Tyger Mountain) Mountain Bike Club trails near Durbanville, which go through various vineyards and wine estates. Both of those trail sets are a little further out of town but they’re very secure.

    • Photo attached was taken from a hill on a wine farm called Meerendal, looking towards Table Mountain. The hill in the foreground also has MTB trails on it. I almost moved out of the area before I discovered they were on my doorstep.