24 February 2016
Well!!!! The big “D” has come and gone.
If I had a crystal ball, I would not have done the cement thing. It was a lot less tough than I thought it was going to be.
Malicious rumours of a bone dry river did not materialize, and paddlers were treated to a river at a very manageable level.
I was very pleasantly surprised, when I shot Tops on the 3rd day, to discover a level far in excess of what had been predicted.
The race did dish up a few surprises however. In all the Dusi’s I have done (20), I have never experienced the portaging conditions that were presented to us on day 1.
The last time I saw slop like that was when I watched my mother in law in a mud wrestling ring at the Boksburg hyperdrome.
Fortunately I only walk the portages, so there was very little danger of falling. Had I tried to run, my urologist (who was in the batch behind and was paddling his 30th Dusi) would have managed to do my annual prostate check, without even having to take his boat off his shoulder.
I witnessed a number of exceptionally undignified visits to mother earth, and heard language that would make your hair curl.
On the steep section down into Devils Cauldron, paddlers who managed to stay on their feet, had to make use of some very deft dance moves to do so. Fred Astaire would have looked like a statue in comparison.
There was no stopping when one had built up a head of steam going down the hill. Efforts at engaging reverse were laughed at by the mud. The bottom of the cauldron looked like the end of a skittles alley.
Getting up the other side was no stroll in the park either (excuse the pun). Very frustrating walking for 20 paces and finding yourself in the same spot. I had flashes of deja vu from the week before when I did my ECG on the treadmill.
I am not sure what path the leaders used, but it sure as hell couldn’t have been the same one that we were sent down. It is not physically possible to complete the day in just over 2 and a half hours in those conditions.
Talking about leaders. What a complete domination by the winners of most of the categories. Andy and Lance took advantage of the misfortune that Hank and Jasper suffered when they were spun out at the bottom of Ernie Pearce weir (probably faster to have just swum, like I did).
They put the hammer down, and were never seen again. Ditto for the ladies. Abby and Anna blitzed the next ladies by over half an hour and finished in a massively impressive 25th place overall, from a very game Tamika Haw and Alex Adie, whose result was superb in itself.
They only managed to hold off 3rd place Cana Peek and Kyeta Purchase (1st U18) by just over a minute. Mark Perrow was pipped at the post by a mere hour by the first ladies, and managed to let a further 3 ladies crews go past as well (Ouch!! That has got to hurt). The girls managing to complete the race without the assistance of stretcher bearers.
The dreaded “Dusi guts” had an adverse effect on the race, with many of the top contenders being affected by the scourge. Besides the top few crews, the leaderboard would have looked very different if it had not been for this.
Besides the usual risks of a river that has not had natural flow for the past season, we were faced with 2 distinct “plugs” of water on both the second and third day, which were a result of overnight rain that should have fallen a week before. This would have added to the risk.
All in all, a fantastic adventure, as usual. Great work by the organisers, the sponsors, the poor sods who were patching boats until midnight each night, and of course, my long suffering partner who was only informed on the second day that the tow rope should not be used up hills.
Well, you can all put those running shoes away now, and start getting ready for the 50th running of the Umko. If there is ever a year to get this one under your belt, it is this one. (I ran the 2000 Comrades, so there is no reason why you should all not get this box ticked).
Find a few mates who know their way down the river and do a couple of trips before the race. It will probably be your most exciting few days of paddling ever. It will also help to debunk the myth that the Umko is for experienced paddlers only.
Hairyface is out of hospital and is recovering at home. He sends greetings and salutations from Sleepy Hollow. It is going to be a long, slow trip back to complete health, as he is still very weak.
He maintains that, if it had not been for the generosity of all of the paddlers, he would probably not be with us still. So, once again, from John and his family, and huge “thank you” to all who made his treatment possible.
Until next week
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Khwela challenges for fifth Non-Stop Dusi title alone
Four time Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon winner Sbonelo Khwela is not perturbed by the quick turnaround between the recently concluded FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon and Friday, 4 March’s ultra marathon. Read the full story here.
Defending champ Mbanjwa battles illness ahead of 2016 Non-Stop Dusi
Five time Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon winner and defending champion Thulani Mbanjwa is in a race against time to recover for Friday, 4 March’s ‘Dusi in a Day’ ultra marathon after falling ill during his eighth place 2016 FNB Dusi effort last week. Read the full story here.
South African Sprint Championships
The national sprint canoe championships will be taking place at Shongweni Dam from 11-13 March. These championships will be vital for paddlers wishing to take part in the international sprint season as they will be the only means to qualify. Go and have a look at the sprint page on the CSA website here for more information.
African Sprint Championships
The African Sprint Championships take place at Shongweni Dam from 1-3 April and make sure that you up to speed in terms of selection criteria. Have a look at the selection document here if you are unsure.
KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union
Envirosan Umko Challenge – 28 February 2016, 9am. 26km B grade race. Nyala Pans – St elmo’s Contact : Jan De Neef 082 454 6886 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gauteng Canoe Union
Firstly, the GCCU AGM will be taking place on Tuesday 1 March at Florida Lake Canoe Club at 18:30. This weekend is the highly acclaimed High Altitude Surfski Race at Emmarentia Dam, and a GCU School League sprint race at Germiston Lake. Date: Sunday 28 February 2016.
Western Cape Canoe Union
The Western Cape Sprint Champs are coming up this weekend. They are for both the juniors and the seniors and will be taking place at the Peninsula Canoe Club. Go look here for more information.
Little Fish Canoe Marathon
12 March 2016 – K2 event – 27km – Prizes worth R12000. More info please contact email@example.com
Umkomass Canoe Marathon
The Umko comes up soon on the 19-20 March! If you are keen to take part in the 50th edition of the race then head to their website here to find out more.
The Orange Descent
We are glad introduce the new Orange Descent an exiting new race on the Orange River from Upington to Kakamas. This two-day stage race stretching over 73km covers one of the most beautiful stretch of water our country has to offer. For more information on the race go and look here.
Single Fenn Elite Ski in good condition.
Fibreglass and fully adjustable.
Located in Durban, KZN. R 3 500.
Please phone Paul on 074 585 7580.
2 year old Velox Ascent K2 which has done 1 Dusi and 1 Fish with limited damage.
Kevlar mid section and whale pumps. R6 400,00 o.n.o.
Phone Russell at 021 424 7468 (w) and 021 794 6192 (h) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fenn Elite double surf ski
Based in Durban, but prepared to collect from anywhere
Contact Greg at 082 9417401
Looking for a Mirage.
Still in good enough condition for a seasons races leading up to dusi.
Please contact Kyle on 0827256727.
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