Wednesday 27th March 2019

Archive for the ‘Preparations’ Category

One More Day of ‘Prep’ to Go

Friday, October 14th, 2011

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m sat here in my office testing out a snazzy new bluetooth keyboard (from eKit, sold by ASDA) to see if I can make blog posting work with my iphone.

Well, I figured it would be a real pain to have to lug a laptop around South Africa with me and it’ll be so cool if I can do all my emails and stuff on my shiny new iphone. And with my big fat sausage fingers, I wasn’t really looking forward to typing out long blog updates on the iphone’s on-screen keyboard!

I have to say that the eKit keyboard is not too different from my laptop keyboard and, so far, it seems to be a huge improvement on the iphone alone.

I’ve also downloaded a little free app for posting direct to WordPress and, presto, I’m all set to stay in touch whilst I’m away via the alansenduroafrica blog.

So, this is my first iphone blog to make sure it all works as it should.

On the remainder of my preparations, or lack of preparations would perhaps be more accurate, I’m about to spend an intensive Saturday of running around making sure I’ve got everything I need.

Meanwhile, in true accordance with the laws of Sod, my right knee started playing up this morning so I’ll have to dash down to the surgery to see if I can get some form of support for it.

All in all, it has been a bit of a struggle to get this far and the task ahead looks daunting but I’m determined to do my best for all my sponsors and supporters. Anything short of complete success (with all limbs still firmly attached) is totally out of the question!

Tally Ho!

Alan

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One Week To Go

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Well… I knew it was all going too smoothly!

Despite best efforts to prepare for my Enduro trip, the last four weeks have actually been dominated by work as my business partner and I have tried to grapple with an exciting new project.  So, to say that my final preparations have suffered would be a huge understatement. They have been all but shelved!

Either way, I was fairly confident that I’d be able to ‘wing it’ until I re-viewed the following 2009 video of The Gorge…  Eeeek!

 

 

Watch it ALL the way through for the full effect 😉

 

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Six Weeks To Go & Counting

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Mosquito imageIt’s hard to believe that in just 42 days time I’ll be heading off to sunny South Africa for the adventure of a lifetime.

I’ve still got a huge ‘To-Do’ list to work my way through and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve barely considered ‘motocross training’ for quite some time now, so I’m feeling somewhat daunted by the lack of time left to prepare.  Time to get myself back on track methinks!

Despite several calls from the Global Enduro team gently prompting me, checking passport details and confirming flights etc, I’ve somehow managed to squeeze myself an unscheduled break from my meticulously planned physical and mental preparations. 

Oh, I haven’t been completely neglectful. I’ve managed to organise some (expensive!) ‘hazardous activity’ travel insurance and I’ve bought myself a Platypus hydration bag, as well as generally sticking to a regime of briskly walking at least 4 miles a day.  But the list of things I haven’t done yet is frightening!

For instance, I’ve just been reading the health advice offered by the FCO and I’m shocked! Here is a brief extract…

  • Rift Valley fever has been reported in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. Most human infections of the viral illness are contracted through direct contact with animal blood or flesh. If you are planning to visit game reserves you should take particular care.
  • TB, rabies, malaria and cholera are common to South Africa. Malaria is common to Kruger Park and parts of the Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal (particularly the Wetlands area around St Lucia) provinces.
  • In August 2010 two cases of rabies were confirmed in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. Two other cases were reported during July 2010 in other parts of Johannesburg (Eldorado Park and Kibler Park). State veterinarians are vaccinating animals in the area and Gauteng state veterinarians are offering free vaccinations for domestic pets. The Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development Department advises all domestic pets should be vaccinated (this is compulsory for cats aged over 3 months and all dogs), and that you should not approach sick animals.

Oh my word… Rift valley fever, TB, rabies, malaria, cholera!!! Do I need vaccinations? Have I got time to get them all? I’ve just checked the NetDoctor site and some of them need to be sorted up to 3 months in advance of travel. Help!

Well, that’s it. Break well and truly over. If I don’t get my skates on, it looks like I stand a very good chance of coming home in a box!

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The Stuff On My Enduro Africa Kit List

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Enduro OutfitI’ve been rather busy recently, frantically searching on my computer for the all the stuff I’ll need to take with me on my Enduro Africa trip.

In some respects it’s quite good fun buying lots of shiny new kit and it certainly helps to build both a sense of purpose and anticipation for the event.

On the other hand, as my wardrobe starts to swell with the proceeds of several forays through eBay and ‘Google Shopping’,  it’s slowly dawning on me that I’m going to look less like the cool motocross dude I’d imagined and more like a middle-aged ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’.

Oh well, I’ve always enjoyed a good fancy dress party!

Just take a look at the kit list I received from Enduro HQ…

Kit list:
Apart from those items listed as essential, please use this list as a guideline only; you really do not need to bring excess clothing unless you are planning to stay in africa after the trip. Do not bring clothing, baggage or any equipment that you are worried about ruining, facilities are basic throughout the event and all luggage will be carried on a truck.

HYDRATION PACK (ESSENTIAL – 3 LITRE CAPACITY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED)  This is the best way to carry drinking water; the pack is carried in a purpose-made rucksack and the water fed through a drinking tube. This enables the rider to keep hydrated without the need to remove the helmet. The rucksack can also be used to carry small items of kit.

HELMET (ESSENTIAL)  A full face helmet is essential however we strongly recommend a Motocross or Enduro style as they are specifically designed for off road use and have particular features that you won’t find on a full face road helmet. The lighter weight and ventilation features offer more comfort for off road riding. Goggles are essential with a Motocross or Enduro helmet.

GOGGLES (ESSENTIAL  There are many dusty and sandy trails along the route, and purpose made mx or enduro goggles are the only effective solution to protect your eyes. There may also be rain during the rally. A clear lens is definitely required, but most goggles have interchangeable lenses so a tinted lens could be carried for particularly bright days.

UPPER BODY ARMOUR (ESSENTIAL)  There are a few different styles of body armour available; the hard plastic ‘rooster-tail deflector’ or tabard style, the ‘all-in-one’ mesh jacket (which includes hard armour in all the vulnerable areas and a kidney belt) or separate pieces of hard armour fitted into a jacket. It is down to personal choice as to which is most comfortable. It is important that elbows, back, shoulders and chest are as well protected as possible.

PROTECTIVE TROUSERS (ESSENTIAL)  Hard wearing and breathable are the important features. Motocross or enduro pants are ideal. It is essential that adequate knee protection is worn, the hard type being recommended.

MOTORCYCLE BOOTS (ESSENTIAL)  Off road boots are strongly recommended as they offer far better protection than road or race boots. The main sub types are Trials, Enduro and Motocross. Trials are lighter and more flexible, motocross offer more protection but are the heavier. Enduro boots may be the best compromise, but it’s really down to personal choice.

GLOVES (ESSENTIAL)  Very much down to personal choice. Off road style gloves, usually synthetic in construction, are ideal as they purpose made, comfortable and cope well with the conditions en route. There are numerous river crossings and also the possibility of rain, and therefore leather is not recommended as water can weaken it considerably.

WATERPROOFS (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)  The changeable conditions on Africa’s wild coast mean that there is the possibility of rain during the rally. A lightweight waterproof suit serves a dual purpose, it keeps the rain out but also acts as an insulator against wind and cold. Suits are available as either one or two piece, which both have advantages over the other. The one piece is more watertight, whereas the two piece can be worn as separate items and is easier to put on.

BASIC FIRST AID KIT (ESSENTIAL)  To include a sufficient supply of any personal medication. Items that may be very useful include rehydration salt sachets, paracetamol, ibuprofen, antiseptic cream and sticking plasters.

ANTISEPTIC ALCOHOL-BASED HANDWASH (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
SUN BLOCK (ESSENTIAL)  
A high factor is strongly recommended.
ROLL MAT 
SLEEPING BAG – CHECK WITH ORGANISERS
SUNGLASSES
MOSQUITO REPELLENT
TORCH
WASH BAG
TOWEL

SCARF / BANDANA (TO PROTECT NECK)
FLEECE / PULLOVER
TRAINERS OR SANDALS
T-SHIRTS
CASUAL TROUSERS
SWIMWEAR
EAR PLUGS
 To protect against snoring room mates! 

So… they know about my snoring then!

 

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Whose Bright Idea Was This Then?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

It’s strange how the kernel of an idea can sometimes suddenly blossom into a full blown project in the blinking of an eye.  

This particular project gathered a momentum of its own almost as soon as the thought entered my head. Like most people, I start every New Year full of good intentions but as time progresses I somehow manage to find a whole raft of excuses that get in the way of actually taking any real firm, sustainable action.

Not this time… In a rare moment of madness, inspired somewhat by the shocking scenes of poverty broadcast by The Beeb in Comic Relief’s ‘Famous, Rich & In The Slums’, I picked up my mobile and called Enduro Africa to ask if I could get involved. It wasn’t long before I’d handed over £2500 to cover travel and accommodation and (gulp!) all of a sudden I was committed.

Impulsive? Yes. Worthwhile? I hope so. Foolish? Well, I think I’m about to find out!

It transpires that most of the participants embarking on this little adventure have been planning, fundraising and generally preparing themselves for at least 6 months already.  They all clearly have a huge head start on me.

It also transpires that my many years of motorcycling experience count for virtually nothing when it comes to riding 2000 Km off road through some of Africa’s wildest, most challenging terrain. Apparently, we have several mountains to climb, numerous rivers to cross and mile after mile of really rough ground to somehow stumble through.

So I’ve been advised to take up some formal off-road training before I even think about attempting the route. Add to this the fact that I’m hardly at my peak of physical condition…

So here I am. Contemplating the scale of the task ahead and wondering if I’m up to the challenge.  I just need to get fit, lose 20 pounds, re-learn how to ride a motorbike AND start a campaign to raise £2500 in sponsorship.

Should be a walk in the park!  

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