Monday, February 11, 2013

South Africa

It seems that when I go through long periods of time without writing a post it is either because I am really busy, or I feel like not much has been happening.  Fortunately for me, this long absence has been due to an amazing trip to South Africa! I had the great opportunity to spend the month of January in South Africa visiting my friend and training partner from last summer, Travis Johnston.  It was exactly what I needed at just the right time.  I was starting to get a bit jaded with training and triathlon and this trip gave me the opportunity to have FUN and put my mind in the right spot. I am now back in Boulder and once again very excited to be getting ready for the 2013 season!

 So much happened during this trip that I don't even know where to start.  So I am just going to go over some highlights and share some pictures.

-I flew business class.  This was pretty amazing for international travel.  A bed, legit food, and booze.  Wish I could fly that way all the time.
- Cycling in the Cradle of Humankind.  Johannesburg is a HUGE city with crazy drivers and what I would consider pretty dangerous roads.  Not ideal for cycling; but, Travis lived about a 30min bike ride away from this huge open space area of game preserves and private land.  It is where everyone goes to cycle and it was incredible.  On a Saturday morning there has to be over 1000 people out riding the roads. During our rides out there I saw a Lion, white Tiger, Rhino, Giraffe, Baboons, various game animals, and probably other things I'm forgetting.  They call this area by that name because they have found some of the oldest homo sapien fossils in these caves.  Travis and I actually went and toured the caves and they are massive.  There is an underwater lake and they have no idea how big it is.  In the 80's they sent scuba divers down to explore it and one died so they won't let anyone dive there anymore.  To get an idea of the size they put die into the water and found the same dye over 100kms away!
-I did do a race during this trip; the South Africa 70.3.  It is the largest 70.3 in the world and a huge deal there.  They shut down an entire freeway for the bike.  There were 3500 athletes.  It was pretty tough racing in January but it was a good way to stay motivated to train while there.  I finished 10th overall.  The afterparty was definitely the best after party of any race I've been too.
-After the race I got to do some exploring.  I went to Cape Town which was probably the highlight of my trip.  There I saw the sunset from Table Mountain, went cage diving with Great White Sharks, and toured the city.  I also went and spent a night in Stellenbosch (thanks to Will Clarke) and after just one afternoon/evening there I am seriously considering spending next winter there.  Reminded me of Napa Valley in California but a lot less expensive.
-Kruger National Park is a giant protected land area and where some of the best safari is in the country.  We were fortuante enough to be able to stay on this amazing golf course outside of the park. This area of the country was pretty intesne as far as animals. Right outside our place was a river that Hippo and Crocodile in it.  During a run around the golf course I ran within about 10meters of a croc and fortunately scared it because I didn't see it at all.  And I saw a green mamba snake.  It was a good feeling when I got back to the states and I wasn't as concerned about dying while I was training.  During this part of the trip we went on a morning game drive and saw a ton of animals.  We also went on a night safari, white water rafting, and went to an African Cup of Nations soccer game.

That probably is just about half of the things I did while in South Africa.  I was so lucky to have amazing hosts in Travis and his girlfriend Stacey who graciously allowed me stay with them and let me be a tourist.

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