I'm not a natural blogger and I'm no techie. I'm an ultra trail runner by passion, and a journalist by profession - in that order of priority.
In this blog I use the one to talk about the other - my trail thoughts, musings and meanderings about running mountains and trails.
I call it rockhoppin', just because... well... that's what we trail runners love to do!

Friday, August 20, 2010

two nine and counting...

Yesterday I learnt a new phrase – a rather astonishing one at that. But then, it’s American, so go figure! When something is absolutely brilliant, or really great, they say it’s “the shit”.

As opposed to when something’s awful, they say it’s really shitty.

So there I was, hauling up the Sani Pass in a 4x4, having made three unsuccessful attempts in a rather crochety Landrover the previous day, with two very enthusiastic American tourists and one polite Italian student, all travelling around SA on separate adventures. The pass was as winding and steep as I expected, but sadly we weren’t able to see the massive drop-off because the mist was so thick that in parts we had almost total white-out.

We took 50 bone-rattling minutes to drive the 8km from the SA border post to the top, and as we created the escarpment, we literally popped out from the wall of mist into clear blue sky and bright sunlight. It was spectacular.

And that’s when I heard it – “Hey man, this is The Shit!”

Ok, so we know they do things a little differently on that continent, but how can something so good be given such a terrible phrase??

“The Shit” or not, the top of the Sani Pass is incredible. And within 10 mins, the weather was proudly strutting its stuff... first mist, then drizzle, soon sleet, and by 5pm it was snowing. Overnight the temperature dropped to -13˚C. And this morning the landscape was draped in a soft white carpet of thick powder snow.

I’m here to get my lungs used to breathing thin air. Having done all my TransAlps training at sea level, there’s no doubt they’ll scream every time I run. Hopefully 12 days at 2 900m will see my system generating a whole crop of brand new red blood cells excited to hit the Alps!


  1. Wow! It's beautiful. I've only ever been there in summer. Keep warm, please, breathe very deeply and take some time to read a good book or two when you're not running or eating copious amounts of pasta, rice and potatoes. My heart is with you.

  2. It looks absolutely amazing I must get there some day, but what I don’t understand is just why were you driving up the pass! I don’t think I could be in a car on a road like that I would just have to run…

    Hope you guys get some great runs in look forward to reading all about them.

  3. I'm running the Sani Stagger in November. At least it will(should) be warmer then.

  4. Go Linda Go! and God speed and great writing! Donna