"The Dusi is a 124km, 3 day stage race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, South Africa. I was fortunate to partner up with experienced paddler Sven Bruss, he had taken some time away from the sport after being Runner Up in the 2008 Dusi canoe marathon.
Day 1: 42km 25% Portaging (Running)
To be honest, I wasn't too worried about the paddling side of things but the portaging did make me nervous. We hadn't really ran a portage with a boat before, and I didn't think I'd be able to run at Sven's pace since I only was able to start running in January.
The gun went off, and as we paddled to the first weir I had no clue what I was in for. We nailed the first Technical section and sat in a group of 5 boats in the front of our batch. We took out at Campbells and started the run, we got over the top and met up with our Seconds. Sven had a quick shoe swap and we were back on the road. We didn't have such a hot run and dropped a good couple of places when we got back into the water at Hole in the Wall. We dribbled down the river to the next portage Guinea Fowl, this is probably the hardest portage as it is super steep and 4.5kms long. We had a much better run and managed to hold our position. We both started to fatigue towards the end, Sven was cramping on the portages and I could hardly lift my paddle, so I know I wasn't laying down any power in the back of the boat on the water. We ended up 111th, 56min behind the leaders
Day 2: 44km with 2 Portages
We had a good start and knew we could improve on our overall standing. Sven's river knowledge took us on some good lines as we attacked the river. Our running was solid and even made up a place or two on the portages. Mid way through Day 2 we approached Hippo Rapid and Sven looked back and said "Safe line or RockStar". My reply was "oneLife.... Rockstar". So he braced left and took Hippo on the "Rockstar " line, needless to say we took our first swim at Hippo. We swam the boat to the edge, emptied out the water and hopped back in. We didn't lose much time at all. We put in a 20 min effort as we hit the 10km stretch of Inanda Dam to catch 2 boats ahead of us, we rode their wave to the end to finish off 79th overall.
Day 3: 38km with all the Rapids
We celebrated after day 2, so we didn't expect any fireworks crossing the rest of the dam to the dam wall. Sven piped up with another question "keep it safe or risk it and shoot all the rapids?"..... A very easy question to answer "oneLife". We shot Tops Needle, Side Shoot, Umzinyati, Little John, Grave Yard and got out to adjust a seat before we got to the Ginormous, Islands One and Two Rapids. Sven felt way more confident with the adjust seat and off we were down Molweni Rapid, approaching Islands One Sven shouted the game plan and we dropped in, we sailed Island One and paddled across to Island two, ducked under the tree on the left, braced right and lunged in to a rapid that I would expect to see somewhere on the Zambezi . We shot out the bottom hassle free thanks to Sven great skills. It took a while for my heart rate to drop under 300bpm but once it had we had caught a solid bunch of paddlers which was our ride through Blue Lagoon to the Finish Line. We had a killer day, 20min behind the leaders and that had moved us up to 65th overall.
Big thanks to Yann at Matelec for including us to his team, Trurays, EAP Active and Oakley. And to Leigh- Anne, Ardrie, Laurence, Cuzzie and the oneLife Crew for Seconding us down the river. "