– Five time women's champion of the N3TC Drak Challenge Abby Solms has
confirmed that she will be back on the start line for the 2016 edition of the
popular two-day canoe marathon on the Mzimkhulu on 23 and 24 January, saying
that the race is one of her favourites and a vital part of her Dusi
Solms, who got married in May this year, and who won a hat-trick of Drak
Challenge women's titles under her maiden name Abby Adie, has been the dominant
female paddler on the Drak since her first win 2010, with only Robyn Kime’s
2012 win breaking her stranglehold on the race in recent times.
"I really love the race," said Solms.
"It is always different as
the water level changes and you have to back your river skills.
"I guess I have paddled on rivers like this a bit more than some of the other
women and the experience definitely helps.
"I do my tripping but during the race you have to read what is in front
of you, which I really like."
Solms says she is unfazed by the possibility of a low river, given the
prevailing drought, and says she actually enjoys paddling the Mzimkulu at a
technical, low level.
"We tend to be lighter than the guys around us so we get through rapids
easier when it is low," said Solms.
"Last year the race committee took the decision to race from the top even
though it was low, and I actually really enjoyed that.
"We have no control over what the weather dishes up for the race, so there
is no point in worrying about it. I look forward to it whether it is full or
The Euro Steel athlete said that she was planning to spend time in the
Underberg area training before the race, saying it was an increasingly popular
training destination ahead of the Dusi as the Mzimkulu water is reliably
clean and numerous rocky rapids sharpen paddlers’ river skills.
"I am looking forward to spending some time there in the weeks before the
Drak to freshen up my lines," she said.
"It is a beautiful place to train and tripping up there is so much fun."