After winning the last edition of the N3TC Drak Challenge in partnership with FNB, Durban-based Jenna Nisbet is fully committed to retaining her title on January 29 and 30, 2022 in the Southern Berg.
The event was the first major canoeing event to be scrapped under the hard lockdown at the beginning of 2021 and Nisbet, like so many paddlers, is feeling the FOMO-amplified passion to get back to racing on the challenging, clean waters of the uMzimkhulu River.
“These past two years have been really unusual. While we have been robbed of international events and so many major local races, we have kept training, often without a goal in sight,” said the Euro Steel racer.
“More than anything, I need a mental break as much as I need physical rest, so after the marathon world’s in Romania and the Fish straight after that, I have been looking forward to recharging my batteries and then starting the new year with the Drak and then building towards the Dusi,” said the double Drak women’s title winner.
Nisbet noted that the desire to get back to paddling major events was a global phenomenon, and, based on that trend, she anticipates a huge turnout for the popular Underberg classic.
“The world’s in Romania had one of its biggest entries ever, and at the Fish the vibe was all about enjoying being back on rivers that we love,” she said.
“The N3TC Drak is more than just another race, it’s the whole package that makes it special and such a good way to start the year off,” she said.
Not that she is expecting to have an easy passage to a possible third title.
“After the Liebenbergsvlei I am looking forward to lining up with Christie Mackenzie again, I love racing against her!” said Nisbet. “She has this uncanny ability to bounce back from any mishaps, which makes her such a strong competitor,” she noted.
Nisbet’s training and racing schedule is moulded to a large degree by her career as a teacher, so the N3TC Drak falling at the end of the holidays suits her well.
“I watch the race WhatsApp groups like a hawk, and if there is water in the river I don’t need any excuse to get up there and paddle. It’s a great weekend away in this beautiful part of the Berg and a chance to train on this amazing river.”
The N3TC Drak Challenge canoe marathon takes place in Underberg on January 29 and 30, 2022. More information can be found at www.drakadventure.co.za