N3TC Drak Challenge
Abby Solms aims at unprecedented sixth Drak title
Underberg – 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 FNB
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," she added.
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," she added.
"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
low," said Solms.
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 FNB 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.
“It is a beautiful place to train and tripping up there is so much fun.
"The race is always so competitive amongst the women and yet it is always so
enjoyable too," she added.
Solms added that her impressive run of five wins in six years did bring with
it added pressure as she was now clearly the woman to beat at the N3TC Drak
"Yes I guess it does create a little extra pressure, but the reality is that
I plan and train to race every race as hard as I can.
“It is an important race and you want to get through it making the least
number of mistakes. Being the defending champion doesn't change that.
Solms, who will racing the FNB Dusi with Canoe Marathon World Champ Anna
Kožíšková of the Czech Republic, will be using the build-up to, and the N3TC
Drak Challenge itself, as the last part of her solitary K1 training before
Kožíšková arrives in the country just after the Drak Challenge to start her
FNB Dusi K2 preparations.
As she eyes the unprecedented possibility of a sixth Drak women's title,
Solms is just excited to be back in the Underberg, where she stays with
family friends and paddles on a river that she has built up a special
The N3TC Drak Challenge takes place on Saturday 23 and
Sunday 24 January 2016.
information can be found at www.drak.co.za
Click to download the hi-res
The N3TC Drak Challenge 2015 Logo - JPeg
Euro Steel's Abby Solms is
eyeing a record-breaking sixth women's title at the N3TC Drak Challenge on 23 and 24 January 2016.
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