DUSI – LESS THAN 24HRS….

RACING SNAKE ERIC ZONDI DOING LAST MINUTE CHECKS….

Having been involved for two Dusi’s with my “Change a Life” Team, you would think by now, all would be running smoothly like a ‘well oiled machine’.
I honestly have to say, it’s just the opposite. Yes – the Team has a higher fitness level, Yes – we are more prepared with river knowledge, Yes – the boys have fancy Kevlar Kayaks. But where it has gone voluntarily pear shaped is the allowance/inclusion of attention to detail – providing custom drinking systems to individual athletes, grooming of paths, supporter T-shirts, special food, detailed route analysis etc…. In my opinion, all a necessity to obtain the best result – so no complaints from my side….

Boat Handover- From Left [Ken Holden, Zonele, Richard, Mmeli, Eric,Lucas, Mart, Sivi, Nkosi, Kwanda &  Nhlanhla

“Best 4 you” Sivi Gounden came down to Nagle Dam the other day to do an official handover of the fancy smancy kevlar kayaks/paddles he sponsored my ‘Change a Life’ team. Interesting story – Sivi competed his first Dusi in 1985 alongside the late Robert Lembethe (the pioneer of Development Canoeing), and if he completes this 2011 Dusi (which he should as he is paddling with the super experienced Kayak Centre boat manufacturer – Ken Holden), that will put him at the top of the list as a Development person with the most Dusi titles to his name. Thanks a mil Sivi.

KWANDA – SHARPENING THE CUTTING KNIVES….

Grooming running paths in the days leading up to Dusi is a must if you are fleet of foot. Logic behind this – the top athletes who are weaker runners don’t mind the paths being overgrown and ‘slow’, as it hinders the faster runners making up time here. Needless to say, we did a lot of thornbush pruning and where there required some real hard manuel labour, many volunteed, but it was best that I do the deed – Dusi is too close for such exertion. We had a good laugh when one of the guys chirped – “Come Mart, dig harder…. this is the new South Africa”. It was priceless – group of Black guys watching a whitey doing manual labour.

WHAT A PLEASURE TO BURN SOME CALORIES….

Twenty one Zulus are booked into Umphiti Backpackers tonight, close to the Dusi start. The menu for tonight’s meal has been entrusted to Kwanda Mhlophe – hopefully he doesn’t forget the magic ingredients – as long as there is lots, it will be a guaranteed success….

LUCAS AT HOME, WITH HIS SISTER & MOTHER IN THE BACKGROUND….

Yesterday, ATV productions visited some of the boys at their homes to get some pre Dusi hype – Lucas said “Watchout for Eric Zondi, Thomas Ngidi and Zonele Nzuza, but don’t forget Kwanda Mhlophe, brothers Richard & Nhlanhla Cele, John Ngcobo and junior Mmeli Cele, Oh…. and myself”.
These Change a Lifers that Lucas has mentioned will all be lining up on the front row of A-Batch tomorrow morning. At the 6am start, when Ian Player imitates the call of the Fish Eagle, their heart rate will jump 20 beats, and seconds later upon the blast of the traditional start Cannon, they will hold nothing back, giving absolute everything their lean wiry muscled body’s can offer. Tackling the steep gruelling Cabbage Tree portage at the end of Day 1, they will dig even deeper into their inner reserves, begging their burning legs not to fail them now as muscles twitch with signs of cramp…. Whatever adversity is dealt to the paddlers tomorrow and hopefully there is (eg- heat wave….), the ‘Change a Life’ Zulus will embrace it – because they know that if they deal with it better than their oponents, they will be ‘ahead of the Curve‘.

Let the battle begin….

Last but not least – Huge thanks to Computershare “Change a Life”, USN and Hi-Tec, for their committed ongoing support of the  Martin Dreyer “Change a Life”Academy. Without your input, none of this would be possible – THANK YOU!

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