Archive for June 2011



100 school children from 5 Valley schools near Nagle Dam came together on Saturday for Martin Dreyers ‘Change a life’ Interschools XC race at the Msinsi resort picnic spot at Nagle Dam. A local DJ had a groove going from the early morning and the energy was electric. Martins Paddling Academy boys had the braais lit to reward the competitors with boerewors rolls (thank you Cameron from Parklane Spar), and a USN Active  Sports drink as they crossed the finish line.  

Kwanda Mhlophe, Martins wingman for helping organiser and run this ‘Change a life’ schools XC running league, had the mornings proceedings under total control. A 4km loop had been marked for the junior school kids and a longer 7-8km course for the seniors.

Martins paddling Academy boys have been holding a trail run every Wednesday lunch time at the participating schools. Any pupil can run, their times taken and from this the top 20 athletes were selected for this Interschools event.
The top 10 pupils from a school then count in ranking for the overall schools winners:

Junior schools: 2 open boys (over 13yrs)

                         5 U/13 boys

                         3 girls

Senior School: 3 Open boys (over 18yrs)

                         4 U/18 boys

                         3 girls

…and to be in contention for the prizes:

1st place- Spur meal and Movie

2nd – Spur meal

3rd – food parcels

The mornings racing was a great success, with the final results being:

Senior School: 1st Nhlanhlayabebhule

                          2nd Masijabhule

                         3rd Banqobile

 Junior School: 1st Phangindawo

                         2nd Maqongqo

 (Photos to be posted later today)


John Ntuli, Martins ‘newest’ addition to the ‘Change a life’ Academy, had a phenomenal race at the SA Duathlon Champs held in CT last weekend where he finished a reputable 3rd Elite overall. John, who’s Zulu name, Zakhele, means ‘build for yourself’, is certainly building himself a list of exceptional race results. He is a humble athlete, super friendly and very approachable



I was excited to be racing with John Ntuli this weekend at the Unlimited Dusi Mfula 2-day MTB race. Having raced as a pair before, I knew my role (to hang on to the back pocket on those looong and steep climbs), but John had never raced with anyone (let alone a girl). The day one start was bitterly cold but the sky was clear, forecasting a gorgeous day in the Valley of a thousand hills. Within moments of the start we were directed onto endless single track rolling over short steep climbs. Breathtaking views of Table Mountain and the surrounds. A truly magical way to experience rural pietermaritzburg and the banks of the Umngeni and Dusi rivers. John and I kept a steady pace from early on. Continually being checked on as to how I was feeling, we wound our way to Inanda dam and the finish, a 68km (plus a few extra) long day. What an awesome surprise to see we had finished 8th overall and 1st mixed.

With the start of day 2 being on the opposite side of Inanda Dam, we had to catch a boat across at 6:30am for the 7:15 start. Luckily the morning was far warmer than the previous day but as we dropped down onto the banks of the dam during the early parts of the race, the frost (and frozen fingers) was a good indication that it was still close to freezing. The morning’s 40km journey took us along some very newly groomed and pristine single track, up and over some very steep climbs and onto Shembe plateau overlooking the 100m Umzinyathi Falls. From here it was steep single track descents and more rolling trails around Inanda to the finish. We were happy to finish and maintain our 8th overall (as I know there were a few males teams who had locked target onto us). John was an incredible team mate and at times hearing the yells of encouragement for us I would get goose bumps, me partnering John through the valley… life is unlimited! Apple could have told them that years texting spy apps for iphone ago


Chatting with Mart this morning around 8:30, he was waiting for his second breakfast roll. (did he just blow his cover…is this just a 2week holiday?)They arrived at Rhodes around 2am this morning after a monster 4hr hike-a-bike onto the top of the Drakensberg escarpment and then a well earned descent down Naudes Nek into the small town of Rhodes. Leaving Rhodes after re-fuelling his tank, i was not expecting to hear from him till later tonight or maybe tomorrow morning, but a 1:30 lunch time call from a farm workers phone somewhere in the middle of no-where was just to let me know that his riding companion had broken his bike frame and they had no solution…yet! and since mart left his phone at an overnight stop a night or so ago  communication will be very scarce. But no news is good news! so i’ll just sleep tight…jeannie dreyer


Marts epic 2300km MTB journey from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town started at 6am on Friday. Only 2 days on his cushy big saddle and he said the chaffe had already started to nibble his derriere. Apart from that and the gash on his bony shin he got whilst crossing the umko on day 1, he was still very ok yesterday as he asked if i’d managed to get most of his list done he’d written up before he left regarding his ‘Change a life’ Interschools XC running league race taking place this coming Saturday at Nagle Dam.
The Interschools Race will host 120 kids from the valley, running either a 4km loop, for the juniors, or an 8km for the seniors. The schools are truly competitive as the top 10 runners from the winning school get to relish a double meaty Spur burger with all the trimmings and a movie. For many of these kids its likely the first time out of the valley and most definitely the tastiest and most exciting spoiling ever imagined.

The progress of participants in the 2011 Freedom Challenge along the  race trail can be tracked live on the event website
Twitter feeds are available through Just take the one that help me with my homework at is more convenient for you


Last week, the first of the Duct Trail Run series happened on Saturday and my boys were eagre to put on their Hi-Tec infinities and give the course a thrashing. 300odd participants got to savour the beauty of a small game reserve, Cumberland, nestled on our back doorstep. The 7 or 14km routes wind through the heart of this wildlife filled biosphere on the cliffs overlooking a section of the Umngeni river just 10km (as the crow flies), upriver from Nagle Dam. If you are able to take your eye off the undulating and rocky terrain for a moment, its possible to glimpse a giraffe or two, kudu, bush pig and even a mamba. My valley boys were more than happy to put their heads down to concentrate on the tricky footing (although hardened by their way of living, they ‘skrik’ (are frightened by) for any crawly creature. So negotiating the uneven trail, they bounded after Ian Don-Wauschope who led the race from start to finish. The Cele Brothers, Nhlanhla finished 2nd and Richard 3rd, very chuffed to be amongst the prize bootie. Kwanda followed in 4th and Sizwe 5th.

It has been a long time coming, this 2011 Berg Canoe Marathon [13th to 16th July], but that is a good thing as it takes a long time to train for such a race with massive distances averaging 60km per day, and that has been the focus of my Academy of late – This weekend my ‘Change a Life’ boys Berg training comes to a peak as they take on the Swartland Canoe Marathon this weekend down in the Cape, which is also the South African K1 River Championships for 2011
My Zulus jumped into Michael Mbanjwa’s sponsored Nissan Double cab, early Tuesday morning, all cosy, for a long drive down to the Cape for this important pre-Berg river race. This race is going to give them a true taste of what to expect on the Berg, as a cold front has just hit the Cape Town.
Staying in one of the Dormitories at the primary School in Riebeek Kasteel, Eric Zondi told me yesterday that it was too cold to practice on the River “Mart it is freezing and the rain is coming down hard, so we decided not to practice on the River, we will get sick.” Which was a pity, as there is so much to learn on Day 1 of Berg, where to go in the numerous tree blocks and certain channels not to take as they come to a dead end. However today (Thursday 16th), they managed to trip the river.
What was it like I asked- “These trees are tricky,  and there are lots of channels to remember. I had one swim today, shew the water is cold, not like the Dusi” said Kwanda, but super happy for the opportunity to experience a new river. I had to laugh when they told me that Michael Mbanjwa was the other person to swim – “Bungi was paddling along, and he kept feeling something touching/wriggling underneath his legs in his canoe. When he eventually opened his spray cover and looked, it was a little snake. In one second, Bungi jumped or fell out his canoe into the River – we laughed, we tease him that it still counts as a swim”

‘Change a Life’ John Ntuli flies down to Cape Town on Friday with the KZN Duathlon Team to take part in SA Duathlon Champs – 10km run, 40km bike, 7.5km run. John is buzzing with excitement as he gets to test himself against the best….

My wife gave me ‘sports leave’ about 6 weeks ago, to do the Freedom Challenge- to MTB my way from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town, leaving tomorrow- Friday at 6am. Her reasoning was that I haven’t raced anything really challenging for a while now and I needed to take on something big to ‘feel alive’. I’m thinking I may just feel the opposite. Even the mere thought of riding 15+hrs each day for 2 weeks (hoping no longer!), makes my legs burn. Friends have tried to be supportive, saying, ‘You’ll ride yourself fit’, and ‘this is your sort of game’, I’m still not entirely convinced. With 2300km of rugged terrain to navigate through and when I hear the supposed freezing weather to hit the Rhodes mountains so early on into this race and the snow predicted for the Stormberg – I smile to myself “Dreyer, you going to have to dig deep on this one”
What makes this event extreme, is that a 2litre ice-cream container at each designated ‘overnight stop’ will hold all the luxuries and treats for the next leg of the ride. (Two weeks ago each rider packed their own boxes and they were delivered to these remote locations.)
Follow the Freedom riders progress on All four chambers are at rest and the av valves are closed c