Pietermaritzburg – Among the hundreds of riders that will line up on the dusi2c start line at Camps Drift this Saturday, 19 of them will be back to take on the two-day event through the Valley of a Thousand Hills for a fifth time on 10-11 June.
The race’s first edition was hosted in 2013 when ‘Farmer’ Glen Haw decided that the Valley of a Thousand Hills was the ideal venue for a mountain bike stage race and since its inception riders have continued to flood to the Valley for two-days of pure mountain biking.
Included among the riders that have competed in all four previous editions are four-time defending champion Andrew Hill, Haw’s daughter Tamika and her boyfriend and paddling star Owen Gandar.
Both Haw and Gandar have impressive FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon pedigree’s with Haw having finished second at the 2016 Dusi with Alex Adie, while Gandar finished sixth in the K2 event last year.
“The thing that I really enjoy about the dusi2c is that it isn’t as formal as the sani2c or joBerg2c,” Gandar mentioned.
“The route is raw with riders riding along cattle paths and walking tracks.
“I also enjoy the overnight stop at Mfula Store. It is right in the valley and it’s great to enjoy the sunset with a quart while enjoying a rugby match on the big screen!”
Gandar’s, whose paddling career has seen him take part in nine Dusi Canoe Marathon’s, loves the appeal of the valley during the winter months when it takes on a completely different character with the river level so low.
“It’s funny going through the river with your bike when just a few months ago we were paddling along that stretch of river.
“Although we’ve had a severe drought recently, the river still looks incredibly different when you see it from the bicycle.
“The Big Three (infamous rapids on the Dusi route) are tiny when you see them now, compared to February,” he added.
Gandar can be described as a sucker for ultra-distance events and he recently completed the Comrades Marathon in just under nine hours. Despite very little time on the bike he isn’t too concerned about this weekend’s race as he knows the dusi2c is more manageable than its more famous ‘2c’ siblings.
“The dusi2c is shorter than the sani2c, which means that it is a bit easier to do with not as much training, but it does dish up its fair share of pain!
“The route profile suggests that it is mainly downhill but the climbs are quite aggressive and sharp, which takes it out of you.
“The track isn’t as smooth as sani or joBerg and that can make it quite tricky, but the route is so much fun and I look forward to the race every year,” Gandar mentioned.
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