Pietermaritzburg – Despite not having the same prestige and popularity as its older ‘2c’ siblings, the four-year-old dusi2c mountain bike stage race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban has been invaluable in uplifting the communities that call the Valley of a Thousand Hills home.
The event caters for people that are in the market for a no-frills approach to mountain biking and the race, which takes place from 10-11 June, does not try and live up to the lavishness of its older siblings.
As with all ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw’s events, a high priority is placed on making sure that the communities and the people that assist in making the event a success are well looked after and given the chance to benefit from the event.
“We try and use this event as a way to increase interest in this part of KwaZulu-Natal,” Haw mentioned.
“It is such a beautiful part of South Africa, so we aim to promote tourism and conservation of the area to benefit the local people.
“By involving the local communities, we strive towards awareness of the natural assets of the area and a resultant interest in their preservation.”
The route from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban is controlled by members of the communities the race runs through. Giving these people the opportunity to uplift themselves is central to Haw’s ‘2c’ model.
“dusi2c uses the same community-driven model that sani2c uses to uplift communities along the route.
“We work closely with the Dusi Canoe Marathon committee and the local community leaders in the valley to assure full support for the event from all parties.
“The dusi2c employs local labour to help build trails down the route.
“We have partnered together with Durban Green Corridor who employ local people from the valley to hand build the entire route to the sea. The layout and design of this route is key to the success of the event.
“The dusi2c appreciates how important this is not only in creating employment for the rural communities in the valley, but more importantly for gaining their support and trust. The route is king for attracting the riders needed for the sustainability of the event.
“This investment in the route is what keeps riders coming back and what creates work and subsequently support from the rural people from the area,” Haw explained.
The business model that Haw employs is one of work for pay, which he hopes will encourage these communities to continue to remain involved and invested in the race.
“The dusi2c, like the sani2c, is not a charity event, there are no volunteers – every organisation that works on the event is paid for its services.
“Community organizations provide the services needed to run the event.
“Individuals who work on the event work for their organizations and create the potential to raise some serious money from outside their community,” he added.
The race has established a sound relationship with the local land owners over the past four years and Haw is of the firm belief that these relationships are vital in giving the riders the best possible valley experience.
“Although most landowners are very co-operative, it takes just one individual to upset a landowner and so jeopardize the future of the event.
“We encourage the riders to show all landowners, farmers and locals their appreciation by greeting them with courtesy during the event.
“Most have contributed substantially to the event in some way. Without them, we might be forced to ride unnecessary routes.
“We want to maintain good relationships with the race communities so that they will continue to happily welcome us to their areas,” Haw explained.
The dusi2c starts at the Natal Canoe Club on the banks of the Msundusi River in Pietermaritzburg on June 10, the same place the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon starts every year. The second stage takes riders from the overnight stop at Mfula Store, deep in the Valley of 1 000 Hills, to Durban’s Blue Lagoon on June 11.
More information can be found at www.dusi2c.co.za