With a month to go until the 2021 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon, this coming weekend gives all aspiring paddlers the opportunity to get onto the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers in race conditions for the Campbell’s to Dusi Bridge on Saturday and the 50 Miler on Sunday.
There have been precious few opportunities for paddlers to get onto the river in race conditions despite the unprecedented summer rainfall in KwaZulu-Natal and this weekend will give the top paddlers a good idea of the form of their competitors.
It’s expected that a number of the top paddlers will be in action this weekend and use the two races to try and get the best possible seeding heading into the Dusi midway through March.
Saturday’s Campbell’s to Dusi Bridge race will see paddlers take on the majority of day one of the Dusi and gives them an opportunity to brush up on lines, portage routes and to check their fitness levels.
The race incorporates the tough Guinea Fowl portage which is one of the most demanding of the race and will be a good hit-out for all those taking part.
It’s expected that a number of the top paddlers and Dusi hopefuls will be racing this weekend whether they race on both days or just take part in one of the two races.
Sunday’s 50 Miler has changed over the years and this year the race will take place over the vast majority of day two of the Dusi.
It’s will start at Dusi Bridge, the overnight stop at the end of day one, and take paddlers to the headwaters of the dam at the Mbeje’s Store.
Day two of the Dusi is often known as the ‘Queen Stage’ and is the toughest of the race so paddlers will also get the feeling of being in the Valley of a Thousand Hills during the toughest period of the race.
The infamous Ngumeni portage is one of the race’s major obstacles and the top contenders for the Dusi crown will be keeping a keen eye on their competition on that portage given its significance during the Dusi.
For the regular paddler looking to get themselves crucial qualifying points, this weekend’s racing will be vital for them from that perspective but also from a preparation perspective.