Pietermaritzburg – It has been two years since John Ntuli and Jeannie Dreyer last tackled one of the country’s wealth of mountain bike stage races but fittingly it is this year’s BSi Steel dusi2c from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on 11 and 12 June that will reunite the pair once again.
Ntuli and Dreyer raced to third place in the mixed category at the 2013 sani2c before claiming the category’s crown at the Berg & Bush two years ago and it is their understanding of and respect for one another that they believe again will stand them in good stead ahead of this year’s dusi2c duel.
“John is just such a gentleman, even when he’s competing, and he treats me even better than my own husband, Martin, does!” joked Dreyer. “John takes extra special care of me when we’re racing, always letting me hang in his pocket or ride on his wheel when I need to and is just such a great team mate to have.”
“Jeannie is a very strong rider and she has taught me a lot when we’ve ridden together as a team in the past,” added an equally respectful Ntuli. “I have learnt a lot from her about how to treat my partner when I’m racing a stage race with a woman, because racing with a woman is very different to racing with a man.”
“A woman’s strength is not quite the same as a man’s and so you can’t push her beyond her limit or else they will hit the wall.”
While expected to be at the sharp end of the Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon adventure, the race also carries greater significance for the newly sponsored Merchants athletes as the occasion represents their maiden appearance as a combination for the Dimension Data subsidiary.
“We are keen to do the dusi2c together and it will be important for us to push ourselves during the race because we want to represent Merchants well in our first race as a mixed combination for them and to start things positively,” explained Ntuli.
For Ntuli, a former member of Dreyer’s husband’s RMB Change a Life MTB Academy and Valley of a Thousand Hills resident, the race is also a sentimental one as he races through his own community while the event holds a special place in Dreyer’s heart as well.
“dusi2c is a very unique race for me with us starting at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg, crossing over the river into the Valley of a Thousand Hills and then going right past my doorstep!,” explains Ntuli. “It is very special racing in front of my friends and family!”
“I love the Valley and have spent lots of time in it, especially having lived very close to Table Mountain when Martin and I first moved to Pietermaritzburg,” added Dreyer. “The footpaths and cattle tracks make for some incredible riding and the few hills that the race does have are great.”
Despite having been dropped by his wife after racing onto the bottom step of the podium of last year’s BSi Steel dusi2c, ‘Dusi Duke’ Martin Dreyer is looking forward to seeing the Merchants pair working together once more and challenging Team Sani’s Bianca Haw and Andrew Houston, who also confirmed their participation this week.
“John and Jeannie are definitely podium contenders in the mixed category and I’m sure will have a great race together!” said the seven time Dusi Canoe Marathon winner and avid mountain bike enthusiast.
“Bianca and Andrew won the mixed title last year and will be tough contenders again this year, especially with Bianca being a professional, sponsored athlete and a great up-and-coming cross country rider.
“John is a fantastic competitor too though and Jeannie is seriously tough so it will be an interesting two days of racing next weekend,” he added.
The 2016 BSi Steel dusi2c mountain bike race takes place from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Durban’s Blue Lagoon on 11 and 12 June. For more information visit www.dusi2c.co.za
Source: Gameplan Media