Adventure Sport

Dusi queen set for Drak event

2012-01-19 18:44
Abbey Ulansky (Dave Macleod/Gameplan Media)
Underberg - Dusi Queen Abbey Ulansky, perhaps still known by her maiden name Abbey Miedema, arrived in Underberg this week and threw her hat into the ring of what is already an intriguing race for the women’s title in the Global Trader Drakensberg Challenge this weekend.

Ulansky is a double former champion in this classic two day river marathon, having won it in the legendary 2007 race when German Olympic star Max Hoff won the overall race in tricky low river conditions, and then repeated that feat with a win in 2008 in more generous river conditions.

Ulansky is quick to avoid chances of a third win, as she is on the comeback trail after a layoff for the birth of her son Jake, but after her win with her Dusi partner Robyn Kime in the Best 4 Rietvlei Rumble on the weekend, it is clear that she is not far off her best form, and that once on the river and racing she has to be taken seriously.

“The GT Drak is very much part of our Dusi training,” said Ulansky. “I am getting fit slowly but surely, and I am not sure how competitive I will be, but I am looking forward to being on the river."

"It’s also that time of the year before the Dusi when everyone is trying to read as much as they can into everyone’s performances, so I guess the women will be a bit cagey!”

“I had to find my old race K1, and eventually tracked it down in the Pope-Ellis garage roof, where a family of pigeons have been happily living for a few years,” she chuckled.

Abby Adie will be on the start line with the added pressure of being the double defending champion, following wins in 2010 and 2011 built on her tenacity and rock-solid river skills. However she has been hampered by a stomach bug on the weekend and then picking up a flu virus midweek, shackling her plans to prepare her title defence.

She also finds herself under fascinating pressure from her twin sister Alex Adie, her partner for The Unlimited Dusi next month. Alex’s career was stalled by a broken leg but she is back to top form and looks set to challenge her twin sister for the Drak crown in a showdown that is sure to prune of sibling sympathy.

Completing a fascinating four way crown tussle is the talented Berg and Dusi champ Robyn Kime, who is also bringing her "A" game at the end of a tough year dominated by her Master's degree studies at Stellenbosch University.

Kime has been right in the mix of the last few Draks, but her title challenge has ultimately been undone by a mishap or a swim at one of the river’s countless rapids and weirs. “It would be so much easier if I just stayed in the boat,” she mused in frustration after her runner-up performance last year.

The Global Trader Drak Challenge starts on Saturday morning with a 26km stage from Castleburn to Sinister Pool, and ends on Sunday with a 36km stage to Early Mists Farm close to Coleford resort. More information can be found at 

Read more on:    drak challenge

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