JANUARY 2014 UPDATE….

Change a life Paddling:

With Dusi just around the corner, January is the busiest racing month on the Change a Life Paddling Calendar.
Popes Challenge:

The following week was the Hi-Q Abert Falls paddle/run canoe race. The perfect show-down for the top 10 gold medal contenders. Being a flat water race, there was no where to hide, no excuses saying I took a bad line in a rapid. With some power running with a canoe on the numerous portages, Lucas and Mmeli romped home to victory, estatic with their first place.
The following week, many Change a Lifers ventured down the Umzinkulu river, paddling the 2 day Drak Challenge. Some opted to rather stay in the Dusi Valley to train.

Campbells to Dusi Bridge Canoe Race:
Start, to run or to Paddle, your choice? All the top contenders run the 2.5km ‘Hole in the Wall’ trail with their canoes at the start, as it shortcuts the horse-shoe bend the paddlers take and is 1min faster.
Once the runners put back in to the river, they paddle for 15 min, then take out for the tough 3km Guinea Fowl Portage, put back in the river for 35min, 500m Fingerneck portage, 12min paddle, 2.5km Cabbage Tree Portage and then a 15min paddle to the finish.
There was a titanic battle in the front between the 2 favourite to win Dusi crews, namely Change a Life Eric Zondi partnered with Andrew Birkett and my ex 2008 Dusi Champ partner, Michael Mbanjwa, paddling with the 2013 winner, Lance Kime. They raced neck & neck, even putting in together after the Cabbage Tree portage. But the brute power of Zondi/Birkett proved too strong on the final stretch of paddling to the finish line, to claim an emphatic win and a warning to all Dusi title contenders. In Eric’s words, “once we got onto the water, we put the hammer down and that was that, we dropped them. It was a very tough race, I am very happy to win”.
Out of the lime light, cresting the top of Cabbage Tree, was the illusive Change a Life crew of Lucas Mthalane & Mmeli Cele, only 50 seconds behind.
Two weeks later the CAL Zulus paddled Kzn’s biggest one day race – Ozzie Gladwin.
The race was very tough and very fast!
Bumping/fighting for position on the 8km paddle on Inanda Dam and the 2km portage over Albert Falls Dam wall to 16km river paddle.
CAL Eric/Andy came 2nd overall.
Lucas/Mmeli – 8th
Mthobisi/Damon – 9th and 1st Juniors.
Kwanda/Zonele – 17th
U/16 paddlers Mpilo/Nkosi paddled excellently to place in top 30 overall.

RMB Change a Life Cycling:
The RMB CAL Zulus turned a lot of heads, when they placed incredibly high in the 45km Hola Trail Mtb race, although only a local race on the North Coast.
John Ntuli – 3rd
Sizwe – 4th
Thembane – 5th
Stembiso – 6th
Bongumusa, Vela and Sabelo made it into the top 25. Mboneni unfortunately couldn’t ride due to still recovering from his Hill 2 Hill Mtb crash.
From the feedback received from the RMB corporate cycle event hosted in the Valley of a 1000 Hills, it was a great success. RMB did their own bookings and outsourced the catering, so myself and the RMB CAL Zulus guided them on spectacular trails in the valley.

CAL Running:
The Schools running was put on hold due to this being an important exam month.
However organising for the last CAL Inter schools X-Country champs is in full swing, which takes place at Nagle Dam on the 7th of December.

Roots & branches originally, burnout was believed to set in after several decades of doing the same thing, much like a mid-life crisis for the medical profession

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