Following his top five finish in the last edition of the N3TC Drak Challenge in partnership with FNB, Team MyLife star Khumbulani Nzimande is hoping to replicate that form when he takes on the 2022 edition of the race from 29-30 January.
Nzimande blitzed to the second fastest day two time in 2020 which sounded serious alarm bells amongst the elite field at the Southern Drakensberg classic and he’s hoping to make it a more all-round performance in 2022.
The Drak Challenge is known for its technical rapids and amplifies a paddlers technical ability to manoeuvre a boat through tight sections of river. For Nzimande paddling the Drak is an important part of him growing as a paddler.
“The uMzimkhulu River and the Drak Challenge have definitely made me a better paddler,” Nzimande said. “I find I have to look at the river and the conditions very differently to what I am used to and that makes it more challenging, but a lot of fun.
“You have to think quickly and trust your instincts which are things that I am learning to do a lot more now.”
Nzimande will be teaming up with Citi Bank Change a Life star Mpilo Zondi for the 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon and the pair have been training hard for both that and the Drak Challenge.
“We have been mixing our training up from the K1 to the K2 and have been putting in as much work as we can until we have a break over Christmas.
“With the Drak coming up I have had to change my training a bit so that I can do some Drak-specific training and not just train for the Dusi.
“The race is so different to the Dusi that I need to make sure that I am ready and I need to be ready for the technical rapids.
“I really enjoy the rapids at the Drak and in the build-up I am going to do the FastDrak so that I can get a bit more preparation in for the race,” he added.
With 2021’s edition of the Drak Challenge being cancelled the FastDrak will give Nzimande a good glimpse of what to expect at next year’s Drak Challenge as he hopes to replicate the result that he produced in 2020.
The N3TC Drak Challenge canoe marathon takes place in Underberg on 29 and 30 January 2022.