Eikenhof Dam, Trails End
4Eikenhof Dam, Trails End Elgin Valley03 February 2019
Trails End plays host to this finale in the Cape Summer Trail Series. The routes take us on an exploration around the Eikenhof Dam along the northern fringes of the magnificent Elgin Valley. Under foot you can expect a mixed bag of a private farm, forestry jeep tracks, mountain bike trails and hiking routes. These are fast and furious routes with a bit of everything thrown in to keep the blood pumping. The XL (more info) is an ideal ‘upgrade’ for those who have either banked the Series (3 out of 4) or want to just race something longer. It’s a real test of leg speed!
We circumnavigate the Eikenhof Dam in this fast and largely open route using a combination of forestry tracks, MTB and hiking trails. Almost all of the 379m of vertical height gain comes between the 10 and 13.5km mark. The opening 10km is an undulating affair through private farmland and state forest land as we make our way anti-clockwise around the dam, with picturesque views of the surrounding mountains. A steady climb up on single track for 2.5km gets you to the high point and left over is a fast single & jeep track burn back to Trails End.
This fast course has 170m of climb which is steadily accumulated over the first 5km. From this high point it’s a 2km burn back to Trails End on a fun mix of single and jeep track. We expect some fast times on this track!
WILDRUNNER TRAIL RUNNING GRADING SYSTEM (WTG)
Download the WTG here.
The Wildrunner Trail Grading system (WTG), was developed in 2009 and designed to help you make informed decisions on trail running events around the country. Unlike road running, trail running routes and races have many more facets to them, making them either harder or longer (in time) than you may expect.
Every race/event should give you the total distance and accumulative ascent, but using road running sense to work out your time based on these factors alone would be a mistake!
The three primary 'trail factors' affecting your overall time and effort on a trail run are as follows:
1. Terrain difficulty (easy or tricky?)
2. % single track/off-road to on-road (how much on difficult terrain?)
3. Route severity (how steep?)
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The three factors mentioned above have been expanded into an easy three part grading system. Each trail factor is listed below with the descriptions. Look out for races with a WTG and use this guide to make informed decisions.
'Technical' terrain = trail that is ‘busy’, that requires extensive concentration and trail running technique - for example a rocky hiking path, or a 4x4 track.
'Off-trail'= Describes sections that do not have any obvious or established route, for example a river bed, grass field or a section of beach.
'Single-track' = Describing a trail that is narrow and typically only wide enough for one runner to run on at a time and in single file. Examples of typical single track would be a hiking trail, mountain bike trail, game trail, livestock trail
Cape Winter Trail Series® - Tygerberg Nature Reserve: YELLOW 8B
Gauteng Summer Trail Series® - Leeuwenkloof: ORANGE 7A
Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge 36km: GREEN 8B
Skyrun 100km: RED 9B
All Wildrunner events (www.wildrunner.co.za) carry this grading system - look out for the grading on the event listing.
PART 1: TERRAIN DIFFICULTY
YELLOW = Easy, non-technical terrain, all on established trails and tracks
ORANGE= Moderately easy terrain, short sections of ‘technical’ terrain but largely easy running, all on established trails and tracks
GREEN = Moderate challenging terrain, with a mix of ‘technical’ and ‘non technical’ terrain, mostly on established trails and tracks but may or may not have extended sections regarded as being ‘off-trail’
BROWN = Moderately difficult terrain, more ‘technical’ terrain than ‘non-technical’ terrain, challenging but mostly on established trails and tracks although may or may not have extended sections regarded as being ‘off-trail’
RED = Difficult terrain, majority ‘technical’ terrain that is extremely demanding, may or may not have large sections on un-established trails and tracks
PART 2: % SINGLE TRACK/OFF-ROAD
1 = 1-10%
2 = 11-20%
4 = 31-40%
5 = 41-50%
6 = 51-60%
7 = 61-70%
8 = 71-80%
9 = 81-90%
10 = 91-100%
PART 3: ROUTE SEVERITY
A = Mostly runnable gradient
B = Mostly runable gradient, but has some steep ascent and descent that may require walking
C = Lots of steep ascent and descent that may require walking