Navigating her way through the heart of a European winter, Danish paddler Susan Lützner will finally get to experience the warmth of a South African summer when she teams up with local paddler Trenton Lamble for the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon this Thursday.
It has been a long and difficult road to the start line for Lützner who has had to manage her training through a Scandinavian winter that has been much harsher than normal, but despite the difficulties of her training Lützner believes that she has made the most of it.
“I have been training very hard for this, and had to improvise a lot, because we don’t have Dusi-like conditions,” Lützner said. “This winter has been really tough with temperatures down to -14°C, and it was snowing when I left last Thursday.
“When there was too much snow and ice, I didn’t dare risk running with my kayak, but improvised running with a sandbag.
“It has been extremely cold paddling and our lakes have frozen to ice. Paddling at the coastline was possible a few days most weeks.
“Mostly, I’ve been paddling in the darkness as the sun gets up late and goes down early. In a period, everything above water level would instantly freeze to ice. I had to paddle in a small area close to my car, next to bridges, as a long swim could be disastrous.
“Also, I had to tap the ice off myself, before changing at the parking lot, as all clubs are closed.
“Needless to say many days I paddled alone, as nobody wants to go out in those conditions!”
Lützner is no stranger to long endurance events and has experienced racing on the South Africa river circuit with a N3TC Drak Challenge finish to her name in 2020. She does believe that this Dusi will be her biggest achievement.
“I think that it rates as number one thanks to the heat and portages, not by distance. The Vohandu Marathon in Estonia is 100 km in one day but I still think that that would come second to the Dusi.”
The challenge of getting from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in three days is something that Lützner is looking forward to along with the unknown factors that the race will dish up along the way.
“It is incredible fun to paddle the rapids and we don’t have such in Denmark, also I wanted to do the Dusi as a personal challenge.
“I started paddling less than three years ago, so this is quite a challenge. Thankfully I will have such an experienced driver guiding me through, and a super second group,” she added.